E flat chords offer an exceptionally soothing sound and, like all major scales, they follow a specific interval formula.
This article covers theory, notes, chords, relative and parallel minors, patterns on the fretboard and fingerings.
All major scales can be divided into two major tetrachords for easier learning. By breaking it into 2-note segments, learning any major scale becomes much simpler.
1. Eb Major Triad
An understanding of major scale chords is indispensable for musical creation and improvisation, and serves as the cornerstone for understanding other types of chords such as minor scale chords, 7th chords and diminished chords. We will focus on learning Eb Major Triads here – three note chords composed of notes 1st, 3rd (major third), and 5th (perfect fifth) from Eb major scale scales respectively.
Root Position (G) is the traditional method for playing an Eb Major triad chord. Other ways of creating this chord include first/second inversion and fifth/third inversion, which offer alternate ways to position it on the fretboard but still give you the same sound as an original Eb major triad chord.
Not to be overlooked is that all chords can be reduced to their fundamental roots and triads – this allows us to break any chord down into its basic components such as major triads or minor triads – making a fundamentals lesson so important, since once you understand how chords are constructed you can start creating your own!
On a piano keyboard, each white key represents natural notes while black keys represent sharps or flats. On guitar this concept is readily apparent where half steps equal one fret while whole steps represent two frets.
Once you understand the fundamentals, it becomes relatively effortless to move onto more complicated chords. Major, minor and diminished triads are some of the most commonly encountered. Each is composed from fundamentals of major scale but offers distinct patterns which affect its overall sound.
As you play chords, keep in mind that adding notes from outside the key can create more complex harmonic structures. For instance, adding a major seventh to a minor triad will produce an Eb minor 7th chord (1-5-7-9). By adding additional intervals such as F minor 7th (1-3-7), Bb minor 7th (9-11-13) or C minor (7th b5+5).
2. Eb Mixolydian
Mixolydian is an extremely popular mode among blues, rock and jazz guitarists due to its combination of Major and Minor intervals. To hear what this mode sounds like simply listen to some songs that feature it; once listening, try picking out each b7 note so as to internalize its sound and understand its character better.
To master chords based on this mode, simply take your existing major triad knowledge and add a flat to the 7th note – this will result in Mixolydian triad shapes. As the key of this mode is Eb, in order to play these chords you’ll require either an Eb tuning guitar or one that allows for these notes on your fretboard.
Mixolydian’s viio chord can be quite an intriguing one to learn, using its diminished interval. Additionally, this chord is commonly known as D minor chord and can be played simply by moving an Eb major triad down one step to D – creating the viio chord!
Mixolydian chords can add an eerie atmosphere to a 12-bar blues backing track, giving its progression an unsettling vibe. Another useful use for mixolydians is when playing over dominant 7th chords; simply switch up your chord roots for optimal results!
If you are curious about this mode, I would highly suggest listening to some John Lennon and/or Sufjan Stevens music as they have a talent for using it in their chord progressions, giving their songs an individual sound. When learning this mode, be mindful not to overemphasize non-chord tones of the scale and focus on stressing chord tones instead; by doing this you will make it work perfectly in your chord progressions.
3. Eb Minor Triad
The Eb minor triad is one of the most fundamental and commonly-used major scale chords. Consisting of notes Eb, Gb and Bb, it can be played several different ways; most straightforwardly it may be played using root note triad with roots at third and fifth intervals respectively – creating an extremely stable chord and providing an excellent starting point for practicing an Eb minor triad.
Eb minor triads that use both second and fourth intervals may require some practice in order to reach perfection; however, their sound makes the effort worthwhile.
Step two of your Eb minor triad journey should involve exploring some of the other minor chords you can create using these scale notes, in particular non-root note triads which add variety and can add new life to your music.
Before diving in, familiarize yourself with the Eb minor scale chord chart so that you understand each note within it and its purpose in musical theory. Use the chord scale formula to calculate what chords can be formed from these notes – this will allow you to find chords which best suit your musical style as well as generate ideas for new chord progressions to experiment with!
Looking at an Eb minor scale chord chart will reveal that its first chord listed is a minor triad with its root note on the third interval, followed by minor seventh flat five, diminished, and augmented chords that can be formed from these scale notes. To form these chords you need to count scale notes from their root to their next scale note until reaching another note and calculate which triad chord could be constructed using these notes – this process is known as enharmonic equivalence and can be completed using either piano keyboard keyboard or guitar chord charts in this key to identify which chords exist within that key.
4. Eb Mixolydian Minor
Eb Mixolydian minor is one of the most recognizable modes when it comes to creating chord progressions and melodies, especially when transitioning from major tonic chord to minor dominant chord. This mode’s strengths lie in its combination of bright major chords with powerful minor seventh chords; making for an especially great sound when used for blues progressions due to its accentuating the minor key and giving that melancholic feel.
To identify chords that belong to this mode, we simply use a chord scale formula. We begin with the major scale and plug each note as it appears in chord progression into its respective slot; this makes understanding how this mode works much simpler by seeing directly which chords each note creates.
By employing this technique, we can quickly establish that any chord that contains both major seventh and minor seventh is in the mixolydian mode, making the Eb Mixolydian minor suitable to use over any domin7 chord in this progression without clashing dissonantly with existing chords.
Eb Mixolydian minor is also an ideal choice when playing the major 12 bar blues progression, since this style employs Eb major scale and dominant seventh chords found within that key. Eb Mixolydian minor offers all of these components with just enough flattening to work for blues-oriented music.
One of the best ways to compare Mixolydian minor with other minor scale chords is through actual guitar chord progressions. Check out the chart below and listen to their respective recordings, then try playing your own chords or arpeggios using this pattern – over time it will become easier for you to understand how different minor scale chords sound when played as part of a progression.