The Major Chords Formula

major chords formula

Most chords come with an official formula to help determine their notes; for instance, major chords have an indication of 1-3-5.

To play this chord, start from its root note and move four half steps upward on the keyboard for major third. Finally, three additional half steps should take you to perfect fifth chord.


Triads are an invaluable way of creating harmonic progressions. A triad is composed of the first, third and fifth notes from any one scale that correspond to one another – its intervals determine its quality – from bright major triads with their buoyant notes to deep minor ones with deeper ones; all bring unique sounds into our music!

The differences between the two triads lie in their interval between root and third: major has a perfect fifth while minor uses a diminished fifth.

To identify the root of a chord, focus on its bass voice. A triad whose root lies within its bass voice is known as being in “root position”. On the other hand, if its source lies elsewhere (say soprano voice) then this would be considered being “second position”.


Intervals are spaces between notes. Their size can be determined by how many half steps it spans, while its quality depends on whether the upper note belongs to a major scale built on its lower note’s tonic (in which case, it will either be major or perfect; otherwise it is minor).

By altering its top note with accidentals, simple intervals experience qualitative shifts. For instance, in Example 6a’s first measure, whereby raising its top note has transformed a perfect fifth F-C into an augmented fifth A5 or +5, its quality has undergone dramatic transformation.

Intervals covering more than one octave are known as compound intervals; those covering less than an octave are known as simple intervals. When inverted, simple intervals change in quality: major intervals become minor while diminished ones increase.

Major Thirds

The major third is an interval consisting of three alphabetic notes from C to D and from D to E that is widely recognized for its consonance – alongside unison, octave, and perfect fifth.

Major and minor intervals determine the emotion evoked by chords or triads. Major thirds can create feelings of happiness and confidence while minor thirds may lead to sadness, confusion or anxiety.

Utilizing this knowledge, it’s easy to quickly work out the formula for any major chord. This information is essential for understanding chord progressions and learning other types of chords; rhythm playing, songwriting and improvisation also benefit greatly from it. Furthermore, you can use it to quickly switch minor chords into major ones by performing one simple one-fret move – just make sure that any resulting interval must be major rather than minor!

Minor Thirds

Major Chords are among the most essential kinds of chords, serving as the backbone for many songs and being one of the first you likely learned to play. Triad-based, they consist of the first, third, and fifth notes in any major scale – these notes make up what are known as Major Chords.

Minor chords will soon follow and consist of the 2nd, 4th, and 7th notes in a major scale.

Minor chords can often be described as being “moody” or “sad”. To build one, one must know how much distance there is between the second and fourth notes in a triad – this determines if it will be minor or major chord.

Perfect Fifths

A perfect fifth is an interval consisting of seven semi-steps and is considered highly stable, adding weight to chords while making them sound stronger.

Listening is all it takes to identify these notes; many popular songs start off with one as their initial note – such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Other examples of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra used in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Harold Arlen’s Soldiers March from The Wizard of Oz are prime examples.

To confirm whether an interval is a perfect fifth, flipping it can help determine its effect; similar steps should also be used with other intervals like minor thirds and major sixths. If your result turns out to be diminished or augmented fifths instead, read on!