How Major Chords Are Formed

how major chords are formed

A major chord is composed of the root, third and fifth notes from its scale; its quality being determined by the interval between its bottom note and middle one.

One way to create a chord is to select three notes from the scale that are each one-third apart; this process is known as creating a triad.


Major chords can be created using a straightforward formula; major chords consist of three notes from any scale that come together into three distinct triads. The root note (of any scale, really) serves as the root note, with other notes stacking into thirds from there to form chords based on scale degrees (such as 1 4, 5, or 6 from C major), depending on which three degrees it’s built upon; such chords often produce major or minor sounds accordingly.

To determine the quality of a triad, simply draw its root on the staff and consider any accidentals from its key signature that apply to intervals between its root, third, and fifth chords. From here you can easily determine whether it’s major, minor, or diminished – an invaluable skill when working across keys!

Major Thirds

Major chords are among the most recognizable in all of music, often serving as the foundation for many songs and being taught first. Major chords consist of three notes connected in series (a triad) which represent each note from any major scale (i.e. 1st note of scale 1, 3rd note of scale 2, etc).

Assuming we take the C major scale as an example, its first note is C, its third note E and fifth note G; these can then be combined in various ways to create chords of various pitches and shades.

As we consider other chord types beyond major and minor, it is crucial to remember that chord quality is determined by how the triads are constructed – this applies across all intervals not just thirds – which enables us to build chords from any scale in any key. Triads also determine the type of seventh chord we create – major 7ths feature major triads with major sevenths while minor 7ths use minor triads with minor sevenths.

Minor Thirds

Stacking minor thirds is similar to stacking major ones, with smaller intervals between notes. A minor third represents three half steps and when creating minor chords you begin by finding your root note then add in notes that form both major thirds and minor thirds above it; G Major, C Major and B Major chords all include this technique.

Major chords provide an air of optimism and resolution; minor chords evoke different feelings in music. A minor chord may also be combined with a flat seventh to create an uncomfortable and dissonant diminished chord for more tension and dissonance.

Major Fifths

Learning the theory behind chord formation from major scale is one of the core concepts musicians should grasp, providing them with the confidence necessary to navigate their instruments, compose music and improvise with confidence.

Understanding how to form chords using specific intervals enables you to harmonise any major scale, playing it in any key. This is because these intervals are determined by a scale’s order of sharps and flats rather than by its root notes.

C-E represents a major third, as two full steps separate their pitches; C-D forms a minor third due to its letters only being separated by 1 full step in pitch. Thus we refer to an interval as perfect fifths; learning this concept makes perfect fifths an essential skill set for anyone studying music theory or piano performance.