Identifying the Different Types of Major Chords and Their Inversions

which major chord

Recognizing various major chords and their inversions is an integral component of becoming musically literate.

Major chords can be understood in its most basic form by looking at its constituent notes: 1st, 3rd and 5th of any scale. This concept should not be difficult for people new to music to grasp.

To play a major chord, start by placing your thumb on its root note – named by its name – then counting four notes away and placing your second finger.

A Major

The basic major chord, known as a major triad, consists of three notes and is composed of the root note plus major third and perfect fifth over it.

The easiest way to categorize major and minor chords is based on their interval. While this approach might not fully capture all possible intervals, it does get the job done.

B Major

B major is a well-used key among classical composers and often finds use in popular music as well.

Learning the B chord on guitar can be quite straightforward. This simple shape can be found across different keys, with some variants to make your sound even more distinctive.

C Major

C Major is the tonic key of this key and serves as an anchor point for all chords that harmonize with it. Its tonal siblings include I, II, III, IV and VIIo.

Each triad can be voiced vertically to minimize distance between notes in a melody. This technique, known as inversion, makes these chords so versatile.

D Major

D Major is one of the most often-utilized keys. Its chords rely on a triad consisting of D, F# and A notes – making this key easy and accessible for musicians of all levels to use.

The D major chord can also be written as Dsus2, in which its third note has been substituted with that of the scale’s second note; Roman numeral for this subtonic triad: viio

As with other minor key signatures, D Major can be thought of as having its relative minor as B minor; as with all minor key signatures it begins on the initial note of the minor scale and progresses by two half steps.

E Major

E Major is a powerful chord, revered by musicians like Eric Clapton for its ability to produce iconic blues-rock anthems and its emotive grandur in songs like Adele’s chart-topper “Rolling in the Deep”.

Throughout the Baroque and Classical periods, this technique was often employed as a secondary dominant to add greater expressiveness to progressions.

F Major

F major is like your faithful companion, popping up everywhere from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elton John. However, its ubiquitousness can make it one of the harder chords to learn – but don’t give up!

Minimizing distance between chords helps produce a richer sound. To maximize this benefit, we suggest using Captain Chords for practice inversions and voicings of this chord, speeding up learning time while increasing effectiveness.

G Major

G major is an iconic chord progression key, featured in 69 of Domenico Scarlatti’s 555 keyboard sonatas.

G major is also the key of many popular songs by artists like the Beatles – “A Hard Day’s Night” being an example. G major features seven chords which correspond closely with scale notes – getting these correct is a key aspect of understanding its key!

H Major

In the 12-TET system used by 99 percent of musicians worldwide, there is no such chord as an H chord; instead note B is often referred to as H in certain European nations.

Due to how the scale has been designed, when you go up a major third you get an augmented or diminished chord (which can sound very colorful), while going up a minor third results in a minor chord.

I Major

A major chord consists of three notes which come together to form what’s known as a triad, such as C major’s root note, major third above it and perfect fifth above that.

There are also major seventh chords, like the ubiquitous C7 chord. Less commonly encountered is its minor major seventh cousin: Cm(maj7)

J Major

Major chords are composed of three notes–a root note, a Major third and a perfect fifth–with the most basic being C major seventh chord (often abbreviated as CM7).

This chord is often referred to as the James Bond chord due to its distinctive sound seen in suspense films. Additionally, it’s used often in pop music production.