Chords by gjjur4356

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									                                               Chords
Chords are the building blocks of music. We will begin by examining several types of 3 note chords
called triads. They are Major, minor, diminished and augmented. After you learn what these triads
are and how to build them, we will show you how they are organized into keys to enable you to come
up with musical ideas and songs.

These triads (remember that “triad” is just a word for a chord made up of 3 notes) are built from major
and minor scales as was explained earlier. As you will see building triads is actually not terribly
tricky, and there is A LOT you can do with them to add plenty of color to your music. So let’s get
started.

A major triad is built by taking scale degrees 1 3 and 5 from a major scale. So in the key of C major,
we would have notes C D E F G A B making up the major scale. If you took scale degrees 1 3 and 5
you would end up with notes C E and G. Another way of thinking about it is by using intervals. A
major triad is built by going up a Major 3rd from the root of the scale and then a minor 3rd up from the
second note (the 3rd of the chord). So in our example, we start on C as our root note, go up a Major 3rd
to arrive on note E and from E go up a minor 3rd to land on G. Either way you end up with the same 3
notes.

Another example, in the key of F major we have notes F G A Bb C D E making up the major scale.
Take scale degrees 1 3 and 5 and we end up with notes F A C in the F major chord. By using the
interval method, we start on F as our Root note, go up a Major 3rd and arrive on note A and a minor 3rd
up from A gets us to C.

Even though there are only 3 notes making up a major chord, very often during actual playing we will
be playing each one of the 3 notes more than once. Since there are six strings on the guitar, very often
some of the notes will be doubled. For example observe the notes of a C major chord and an F major
chord below.

   C major                                                   F major




As you can see, some of the notes have to be doubled in order to play the chord across all six strings.
Doubling notes also allows the chord to produce a stronger sound due to the addition of doubled notes.
So now, lets continue our discussion of the triads.
A Minor triad is built by taking scale degrees 1, b3 and 5 of a major scale. The symbol b3 means what
it implies, the third of the chord is lowered a half step. So in our earlier example, a C major triad
consists of notes C E G. To make it a minor triad, we would have to lower the third (note E in our
case) a half step to make it Eb. So the notes of a C minor triad are C Eb G. Just like we did with
major triads, we can also construct a minor triad using intervals. We would need to go up a minor 3rd
from the root of the chord and then another Major 3rd to get the fifth degree. So in our example of C
major going up a minor third yields an Eb, and from Eb up a Major 3rd we get G.

A logical question that students sometimes ask is, “could we not just say that the formula for a minor
triad is 1 3 5 of a MINOR scale?” Yes you could of course, but it is kind of a standard in music to
compare everything to a major scale. (Remember, even a minor scale is derived by altering certain
notes of a major scale and not vice versa).

So here are some more examples of minor triads. To get an A minor triad, you would need scale
degrees 1 b3 5 of the A major scale (which are A B C# D E F# G#) so you end up with notes A C E
(remember that we lowered the 3rd scale degree of the major scale from C# to C natural). To get an E
minor triad we would need scale degrees 1 b3 and 5 of the E major scale (they are E F# G# A B C#
D#) so we end up with notes E G B (remember that we lowered the 3rd scale degree of the major scale
from G# to G natural)

The concept of doubling notes applies in exactly the same way here. Below are the diagrams of A
minor and E minor chords.


A minor                                                     E minor




Moving along lets examine diminished chords. A diminished triad is formed by taking scale degrees 1
b3 and b5 of the major scale. So continuing to use the key of C as an example, to build a C diminished
triad we would need scale degrees 1 b3 and b5 of the C major scale. This will get us the notes C Eb
and Gb. These are the notes of a C diminished triad. Notice how dark and tense it sounds. This is
because of the intervals used to make up the triad. The intervals are 2 minor thirds (which together
form a larger interval of 6 half steps which is called a TRITONE as you might remember from the
explanation on intervals) The tritone occurs between scale degrees 1 and b5 (C and Gb in our
example) For more information on using diminished chords in music, please see chapter 4 on classical
styling. Some other examples of diminished triads: in the key of B taking the notes 1 b3 and b5 from
the B major scale (B C# D# E F# G# A#) we end up with notes B D F. Again, the tritone occurs
between scale degrees 1 and b5 (E and Bb) in our case. Below are the common fingerings of the C
diminished and E diminished chords.

B diminished                                            C diminished




Notice that in the above illustrations, the X symbols on the E strings mean that those strings should not
be played (because neither B diminished chord nor C diminished chord contain an E

								
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