Major Chords Definition

Chords are the foundation of music. Major chords tend to sound brighter and happier than minor ones.

A simple major chord consists of three notes – root, major third and perfect fifth – connected by three half steps above their respective root notes: major third four half steps above, perfect fifth seven half steps above.


The root of a chord is its starting note; for major chords this typically begins on C in the bass line (although any note could serve). When looking at sheet music of chords written down on music stands, try to identify which notes serve as roots; it helps if you know about chord inversions as this will make this task simpler.

Triad chords, composed of three notes beginning at their roots, are called triads. Their notes can be stacked in thirds – beginning with the root note and going up by major thirds until reaching a third note that may or may not be called the fifth depending on context – with either being known as either fifth, sixth, minor sixth, etc. If played without using fifth as well this form is known as minor sixth – something commonly done in pop and rock music.

Major Third

The major third is an interval that gives major chords their distinctive sound, and is also one of the shortest intervals within the circle of fifths – making it easier for many people to play a major triad by shifting a single fret upward on their guitars.

The Major Third is one of the most essential musical intervals to learn if you wish to master more advanced chords and scales, serving as an essential connection between roots, minor thirds and perfect fifths in most triads.

Major intervals are used extensively in chords with multiple notes, such as the dominant 7th chord. Here, the root-fifth distance measures one major third; thus making the chord appear major due to having an octave-worth of tones within it and therefore following its key signature.

Perfect Fifth

The fifth is one of three perfect intervals (fourths and octaves are also considered perfect intervals), on the piano keyboard it corresponds to one black key above the second tonal point. Perfect fifths sound stable and are widely used for chords such as guitar power chords. They add strength and power to chords.

An interval is created by adding together two Major thirds and minor thirds above or below a given note, for instance C to G is an example of a perfect fifth in the Major scale. Less common are diminished fifths which consist of three semitones sounding dissonant; examples can be seen in Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra as well as Harold Arlen’s The Wizard of Oz by using them; learning to recognize perfect fifths by ear will help speed up notation since this interval only contains seven semitones!


Vocalizing a major chord involves arranging its notes vertically into various vertical orders – this process is known as “voicing the chord”. The lowest note (commonly known as the bass note) determines what type of inversion this is, for instance C-E-G can be seen either as first inversion, minor second, or major third depending on its lowest note – or all three!

Root position triads can be seen as major chords because their lowest and highest notes form an interval that spans an octave.

However, that same triad can also be seen as a minor chord by transposing its lowest note up an octave – this process also applies to other notes in the chord, giving rise to either a minor second or major three chord inversion respectively. Understanding these inversions will allow you to be more creative with your voicings.