How Many Major Chords Are There in Music?

Major chord progressions create an optimistic and upbeat vibe in most Western audiences’ ears, whether they come from classic music like Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl or contemporary pop songs such as All of Me. Belonging to Ionian music mode, these chords represent hopefulness and optimism for audiences who hear these pieces of music.

Major triads form the cornerstone of many songs and may be among the first chords you learn. Composed of root, middle and top notes from a major scale scale, they form the backbone of numerous tunes.

The root note

Root notes are the initial note in any chord and set its key. Their significance lies in how all other notes within a particular major scale relate to it – for instance, minor and major chords start from different positions on this root note, thus leading to different intervals from them. For instance, chords like F and A start at different locations which dictates their interspersion of intervals amongst themselves.

So chords can be divided into four distinct categories based on their relationship to the root note; these forms of chords are known as triads.

Root notes form the basis of any chord, as they form its structure and sound. Chords which utilize root notes from one major scale can further be classified into subtypes like minor 7ths (1-3-5-7) and major 6ths (c-d-e-g-a). Some chords even incorporate dissonant notes which are known as sus chords.

The third note

The major third is one of the most important intervals in chords, as it forms the shortest path from its root note to all three notes in a triad. Every major chord contains at least three notes that form this interval – for instance C major has C, E and G notes in its chord structure.

Chords can also be created from four or more notes as long as a major third is included, opening up endless musical possibilities.

An intriguing concept is that any chord can have its third replaced by either the second or fourth note to form suspended chords, written with “sus” symbols such as Csus2 or Csus4. Although these are technically major chords, their sound will differ.

The fifth note

As well as major triads, four note chords can also be combined in various shapes to produce various sounds. Examples of such four note chords are diminished and major seventh chords, both consisting of flatted seventh tone of a major key while major seventh chords contain third and fifth notes from major scale.

Sometimes these chords can be extended by adding additional tones; such chords are known as higher extensions. Csus6 is one such chord; it contains a major sixth but is typically notated as Cadd6.

Major chords can be quickly and effortlessly played on piano (and other instruments), starting from their root note and moving your fingers along four keys (white or black) and three notes down from it. By following this method you can locate any major chord in any key of your choice – making major chords an excellent way to start learning how to build and play chords.

The octave

An octave in music refers to an interval that contains two notes with frequency twice that of their initial note, such as middle C (C4) and its octave C5 on a piano keyboard.

Octaves form the building blocks of musical scales and chords, so it is crucial that students understand how they work. This lesson will cover all the fundamentals of octaves – including their relationship to notes and intervals – as well as some application examples.

Major chords are one of the easiest chords for beginners to learn to play, creating a happy mood in popular music such as Daft Punk’s “Digital Love.” Since these chords use only major intervals – an easy and great sound – major chords use only three notes: root, major third and perfect fifth (1 – 3 – 5) that combine into its name of major chords.