Chords may seem complex at first glance, but their complexity lies in their deceptively straightforward composition: notes stacked into chords are all you need for them to function as a chord.
Major chords consist of the first, third, and fifth notes in their scale. Finding one on a piano is straightforward: simply look two white notes below C until you spot A.
Major chords consist of notes separated by three semitones, making the chord sound quite powerful when played on an instrument with equal temperament where all notes are spaced slightly differently from each other.
This first lesson will introduce the basics of Major scale music and its notes, before creating triads from these notes using the Note Interval Table to determine whether they are major, minor, diminished or augmented triads.
Key to understanding the quality of a major triad is measuring its distance between its root note and third or fifth notes, using an interval table like Note interlude tables as guides, counting half-tones / semitones/piano keys between these notes, then subtracting this figure from its root note for its chord’s quality e.g. C major triad formed with C, E and G as chord root notes is distinguished by four semitones between C and E while three semitones exist between E and G for its chord quality; in an example of such an example C major triad formed with C, E and G are separated by four semitones while between E and G are three semitones respectively, so its quality can be determined using this approach e.g. C major triad formed with C, E and G as distance between C and G is four semitones, while between E and G is three semitones in general – four semitones from their roots respectively – giving its quality rating (for example C major triad formed by C E-G), where C-E-G form C major chord composed from C-E-G chord formation gives it four semitones separation while between E-G is three semitones between these notes to establish its quality rating compared with one that formed from C-E-G chord which distance between three semitones (4 semitones between these notes which is three semitones and G being formed which in its construction.) To establish its quality rating; therefore C major chord quality designation). For example C major chord formed using C major chord).
Minor triads differ from major chords by including all tones in their scale – C minor contains three notes – its root note, minor third and perfect fifth tone. Minor triads are sometimes called “tertian chords”.
One key distinction between major and minor triads lies in their distance from root to middle note or third and fifth note – typically 4 half steps for majors; 3 semitones in minor chords.
To find a minor triad, begin with the root note – in this instance D – then place your finger on its adjacent note (F). Move four keys right and place your finger again – this marks your first minor triad! Repeat this process with all other notes within your chord; Roman numerals can help make things simpler for beginners.
The major third interval is one of the most frequently heard musical intervals and falls under imperfect consonances, like unison, octave and perfect fifth. Consonances consist of four half steps between two notes that produce a sound which is both harmonious and pleasing (although sometimes sharper than diminished fourth equivalents).
Play a C chord using its root C, third C and fifth G notes as shown above and an interval of four half steps or major third will exist between its first and second notes – creating a vibrant-sounding chord, often used in Classical music.
Major triads can also be constructed by adding the seventh note in any key and are then known as major 7th chords, producing an upbeat sound often heard in Pop music. To add further satisfaction, these chords can even be extended by including thirteenth note to form Maj13 chords.
As part of your chords studies, it is vitally important to distinguish between major and minor chords. Knowing this difference can help you fully comprehend the harmony behind songs you listen to or compose yourself! A minor chord sounds darker than its major counterpart and contains notes an octave lower on its scale.
To create a minor chord, the first step should be finding its root note. You can do this by ascending a scale such as C major scale until reaching its sixth note which is A – this will reveal its root and allow you to create an A minor chord!
Practice finding the roots of different minor chords by building them on your keyboard. This will familiarize yourself with their formulas for construction; next step should be playing them to get an ear for their sound – which may take some time, but once it comes it will become much simpler!