Learn Major and Minor Chords in Major Scale

Learning major and minor chords is a fundamental aspect of making music, whether you play guitar, vocals or drums – discovering their complexities opens up endless musical expression.

Chords are collections of notes inspired by scales. Much like every major scale has its own note formula, chords also follow this rule.

The Root Note

Root notes of major scales serve as the central note, setting their tonal center. All chords and scales in that key revolve around this note; on guitar these root notes are typically located on the 1st, 3rd and 5th scale degrees.

Position 2 features two root notes on strings 2 and 4, following a standard octave pattern. In order to move from these roots up three frets into the higher octave, one needs to move over two strings and up three frets.

These triangle-shaped root patterns – which rely on intervals – remain constant across all major keys due to being composed of intervals. When playing a minor key however, its root notes connect differently than in major keys.

The Major Third

The Major Third is a four-half step note interval known as the largest interval in any scale, giving this interval its name. Chords rely heavily on this element, giving chords their distinct major or minor qualities.

Intervals can be measured using lines and spaces on both treble and bass clefs, and each interval has its own name according to whether it is major, minor, perfect, or augmented. You can easily identify an interval by counting its lines or spaces from its tonic note in order to find out its name; bass clef users can also count the number of flat (b) and sharp (#).

One is often left puzzled as to why Major triads seem upbeat while Minor chords evoke sadness. This likely represents cultural bias: most Western listeners associate major chords with joy while minor chords have come to be associated with sorrow.

The Minor Third

The minor third is an interval from a major scale that determines whether a chord has major or minor characteristics. While its first two intervals cover four half steps or two whole steps, this third has only three semitones as its distance between successive pitches.

Major and minor scales generate distinctive interval patterns, and it’s essential to recognize their distinctions. For instance, an F major triad comprises three parts – root (F), third (A), and fifth (C). The distance from root to third represents a minor third interval while that between third and fifth represents a major third interval.

Equal temperament converts three major thirds in succession into an octave; just intonation requires an additional half step – therefore musicians do not refer to music that falls within an octave, rather it simply as minor music.

The Fifth

As its name implies, a fifth is one full step up from the root note (the tonic). It’s essential to note that major and minor chords consist solely of first, third, and fifth notes of any scale – major chords form when third note is major third higher than root while minor chords consist of fourth notes that are minor third higher.

An interval of a fifth is known as a perfect 5th, meaning the distance from C to G corresponds exactly with five physical piano keys (white or black), or you can count them up by counting 5 semitone steps, adding one for every sharp in your scale.

Natural minor scale means moving from A, B, C, D and E up through A-E. When used within minor key music, V chords will often be raised to major triads or dominant 7th chords for enhanced resolution of V to I.