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Theory Request #4 - Building basic chords + chords of a scale

Andrei Moraru

Active Member
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    andreilucianmoraru.com
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    1. Topics of discussion

    In this one, we're gonna take a look at how chords are built and what chords are part of major scales and minor scales. So, get on the square and on the level, and let's go.

    2. Understanding thirds

    In music, a third is a musical interval comprised of 3 different notes. Musical Intervals are of course measured between two distinct notes but in order for that interval to be a third, the total number of notes, including the two, must be 3. So in essence, we have the starting note, one in the middle, and the end note.

    Musical intervals are usually measured between notes from a major or minor scale and thirds are no different. We have two types of thirds:
    • major thirds - which occur when the first and second notes are separated by 1 step (or 2 frets on your guitar) and the second and third notes are also separated by 1 step (also 2 frets on your guitar); such an example is C-E, because C-D is one tone and D-E is another tone.
    • minor thirds - which occur when the first and second notes are separated by 1 step (or 2 frets on your guitar) and the second and third notes are separated by 1 half-step (1 fret); such an example is D-F, because D-E is one tone and E-F is a half-step; the tonal distances can be swapped (i.e. E-G is still a minor third, with E-F being the first 2 notes, which are separated by 1 half-step)
    3. Triads and basic chords

    In music, a triad is obtained by playing 3 notes at the same time. Now these notes can be any notes, but in our case, we are interested in 4 particular types:
    • major triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a major third and the second two forming a minor third; one such example is C-E-G
    • minor triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a minor third and the second two forming a major third; one such example is D-F-A
    • augmented triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a major third and the second two also forming a major third; one such example is C-E-G#
    • diminished triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a minor third and the second two also forming a minor third; one such example is B-D-F
    What does this have to do with anything you ask? Well, in order to play a basic chord (i.e. major, minor, augmented, or diminished), it's enough to play the corresponding triad formed on the note.

    Of course, when it comes to guitar, the triad is not always present. For example, in the D major chord, which can be played as D-F#-A, The A, while being present, is in a lower octave than F#.

    4. Chords of a scale

    Major scales have 7 different notes, and therefore, each major scale has a total number of 7 different chords. The minor scale functions in a similar manner.

    But what chords are part of the major scale? Well, the answer is simple. If we are to take a look at what type of triad can be on each note of a major scale, then that will give us the corresponding chord type. Let's visualize this for the C major scale:

    I
    ii​
    iii​
    IV
    V
    vi
    vii
    Note​
    C​
    D​
    E​
    F​
    G​
    A​
    B​
    Triad​
    C-E-G​
    D-F-A​
    E-G-B​
    F-A-C​
    G-B-E​
    A-C-E​
    B-D-F​
    Chord/triad type​
    maj​
    min​
    min​
    maj​
    maj​
    min​
    dim​

    See the correspondence between triad type and chord type? The triad type also gives you the chord type.

    Let's now play all the chords of the C major scale:

    E|---0---1---0---1---3---0------|
    B|---1---3---0---1---3---1--3---|
    G|---0---2---0---2---0---2--4---|
    D|---2---0---2---3---0---2--3---|
    A|---3-------2---3---2---0--2---|
    E|-----------0---1---3----------|

    For minor chords, the chord types are the same, just in a different order. Let's take a look at the chords of the A minor scale:

    i​
    ii
    III
    iv
    v
    VI
    VII
    Note​
    A​
    B​
    C​
    D​
    E​
    F​
    G​
    Triad​
    A-C-E​
    B-D-F​
    C-E-G​
    D-F-A​
    E-G-B​
    F-A-C​
    G-B-E​
    Chord/triad type​
    min​
    dim​
    maj​
    min​
    min​
    maj​
    maj​

    That about covers it for this one.
     
    Last edited:

    Jak Angelescu

    Guitarist for Unknown🎸 Mother of Dragons🐉
  • Sep 24, 2019
    2,862
    4,156
    33
    Kansas City, MO
    23
    1. Topics of discussion

    In this one, we're gonna take a look at how chords are built and what chords are part of major scales and minor scales. So, get on the square and on the level, and let's go.

    2. Understanding thirds

    In music, a third is a musical interval comprised of 3 different notes. Musical Intervals are of course measured between two distinct notes but in order for that interval to be a third, the total number of notes, including the two, must be 3. So in essence, we have the starting note, one in the middle, and the end note.

    Musical intervals are usually measured between notes from a major or minor scale and thirds are no different. We have two types of thirds:
    • major thirds - which occur when the first and second notes are separated by 1 step (or 2 frets on your guitar) and the second and third notes are also separated by 1 step (also 2 frets on your guitar); such an example is C-E, because C-D is one tone and D-E is another tone.
    • minor thirds - which occur when the first and second notes are separated by 1 step (or 2 frets on your guitar) and the second and third notes are separated by 1 half-step (1 fret); such an example is D-F, because D-E is one tone and E-F is a half-step; the tonal distances can be swapped (i.e. E-G is still a minor third, with E-F being the first 2 notes, which are separated by 1 half-step)
    3. Triads and basic chords

    In music, a triad is obtained by playing 3 notes at the same time. Now these notes can be any notes, but in our case, we are interested in 4 particular types:
    • major triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a major third and the second two forming a minor third; one such example is C-E-G
    • minor triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a minor third and the second two forming a major third; one such example is D-F-A
    • augmented triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a major third and the second two also forming a major third; one such example is C-E-G#
    • diminished triads - formed by playing 3 notes, the first 2 forming a minor third and the second two also forming a minor third; one such example is B-D-F
    What does this have to do with anything you ask? Well, in order to play a basic chord (i.e. major, minor, augmented, or diminished), it's enough to play the corresponding triad formed on the note.

    Of course, when it comes to guitar, the triad is not always present. For example, in the D major chord, which can be played as D-F#-A, The A, while being present, is in a lower octave than F#.

    4. Chords of a scale

    Major scales have 7 different notes, and therefore, each major scale has a total number of 7 different chords. The minor scale functions in a similar manner.

    But what chords are part of the major scale? Well, the answer is simple. If we are to take a look at what type of triad can be on each note of a major scale, then that will give us the corresponding chord type. Let's visualize this for the C major scale:

    I
    ii​
    iii​
    IV
    V
    vi
    vii
    Note​
    C​
    D​
    E​
    F​
    G​
    A​
    B​
    Triad​
    C-E-G​
    D-F-A​
    E-G-B​
    F-A-C​
    G-B-E​
    A-C-E​
    B-D-F​
    Chord/triad type​
    maj​
    min​
    min​
    maj​
    maj​
    min​
    dim​

    See the correspondence between triad type and chord type? The triad type also gives you the chord type.

    Let's now play all the chords of the C major scale:

    E|---0---1---0---1---3---0------|
    B|---1---3---0---1---3---1--3---|
    G|---0---2---0---2---0---2--4---|
    D|---2---0---2---3---0---2--3---|
    A|---3-------2---3---2---0--2---|
    E|-----------0---1---3----------|

    For minor chords, the chord types are the same, just in a different order. Let's take a look at the chords of the A minor scale:

    i​
    ii
    III
    iv
    v
    VI
    VII
    Note​
    A​
    B​
    C​
    D​
    E​
    F​
    G​
    Triad​
    A-C-E​
    B-D-F​
    C-E-G​
    D-F-A​
    E-G-B​
    F-A-C​
    G-B-E​
    Chord/triad type​
    min​
    dim​
    maj​
    min​
    min​
    maj​
    maj​

    That about covers it for this one.

    To be honest my friend, as wonderful as these are, there is still a lot of information in here that may be difficult for beginners to absorb in one session. Reading something on text is not always as easy as seeing it in person. I really think if you take all this time to map out these wonderful graphs and charts, it would be very beneficial for you to upload a video of you teaching it. I'm not a beginner but within the 1st paragraph I was completely lost with how you described triads. But that's not because your explanation is wrong or poor, it's because it's difficult for me to learn by reading and it's easier to be Shown with the explanation. You put an awful lot of work into these and they're really well organized and full of information, but I feel like some of the beginners and other students on here with grasp more of the concepts if you taught them with a visual🙂
     
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    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Andrei Moraru

    Active Member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    451
    1,008
    andreilucianmoraru.com
    10
    To be honest my friend, as wonderful as these are, there is still a lot of information in here that may be difficult for beginners to absorb in one session. Reading something on text is not always as easy as seeing it in person. I really think if you take all this time to map out these wonderful graphs and charts, it would be very beneficial for you to upload a video of you teaching it. I'm not a beginner but within the 1st paragraph I was completely lost with how you described triads. But that's not because your explanation is wrong or poor, it's because it's difficult for me to learn by reading and it's easier to be Shown with the explanation. You put an awful lot of work into these and they're really well organized and full of information, but I feel like some of the beginners and other students on here with grasp more of the concepts if you taught them with a visual🙂

    Hm, seems fair. I'll see if I can make them in video form. Doesn't change the amount of info though but who knows, maybe it is easier for people to understand if it's in video form. I'm more of a reader kind of guy.
     

    Jak Angelescu

    Guitarist for Unknown🎸 Mother of Dragons🐉
  • Sep 24, 2019
    2,862
    4,156
    33
    Kansas City, MO
    23
    Hm, seems fair. I'll see if I can make them in video form. Doesn't change the amount of info though but who knows, maybe it is easier for people to understand if it's in video form. I'm more of a reader kind of guy.

    Yeah it's nothing about the amount of knowledge. The knowledge is great. I just read it from a beginner's point of view. You could always try a poll or asking the beginners in the synner chat and see what they think.
     

    John Robinson

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    324
    451
    Nashville tn.
    Hm, seems fair. I'll see if I can make them in video form. Doesn't change the amount of info though but who knows, maybe it is easier for people to understand if it's in video form. I'm more of a reader kind of guy.
    I know this is an old thread and i want to learn theory but jak i right..i pick up a little info here and there but its hard for me to grasp...some of the terms are foreign to me.
    I had a wood carver tell me one time that carving animals was easy because he knew how to do it...from a beginner point of view if you could teach like i didnt know shit"because i dont"that may help..but i love what youre doing
     
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    Andrei Moraru

    Active Member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    451
    1,008
    andreilucianmoraru.com
    10
    I know this is an old thread and i want to learn theory but jak i right..i pick up a little info here and there but its hard for me to grasp...some of the terms are foreign to me.
    I had a wood carver tell me one time that carving animals was easy because he knew how to do it...from a beginner point of view if you could teach like i didnt know shit"because i dont"that may help..but i love what youre doing

    Yeah, it's cool.

    I actually started doing them in video form as of late. Haven't gotten around to making the old ones as videos yet, but I will work on it.

    You can check out the latest two ones in the Media section.
     
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