Which Chords Are Major and Minor?

which chords are major and minor

Major and minor are terms used to refer to intervals, chords and scales respectively; they also serve to describe particular keys.

Major and minor chords create a myriad of sounds that create an endlessly emotional tapestry within songs.

Learning the difference is vital in becoming a complete musician.

Major Chords

Major chords tend to sound cheerful while minor ones may seem melancholic or sad; though this distinction may differ depending on context and may even be oversimplified, understanding its relevance is an integral step toward becoming a better guitarist.

A major seventh chord combines the major triad with an additional scale degree – usually C7 for example – to produce a more dramatic sound.

The major ninth chord is formed by adding a major third to a major seventh chord and is typically written as “maj9”, although you may also see 6add9 abbreviated as 6add9. However, this chord is less popular due to sounding too “sharp” when contrasted against its minor 3 partner.

Minor Chords

Minor chords are among the most versatile and essential chords to master as they serve as the backbone for many songs. A minor triad is composed of root, flat third, and flat fifth scale degrees – the foundation for all great songs!

If you want to deepen the complexity of your triad, add in a major seventh for an additional bright sound that juxtaposes with the darkness of minor 3. This notation may also be written as Cmaj7 or C7.

Keep in mind that minor chords are distinguished from major chords by containing both major, minor, and perfect intervals – this combination differentiates them from them.

Major Scales

Knowledge of major and minor chords will provide you with an excellent basis to expand your musical vocabulary, helping you interpret songs, compose original music, and sharpen improvisational abilities.

Basic major and minor chords consist of stacking triads with three notes each, whereby major and minor distinctions arise from their distance between thirds in each chord.

To form a major seventh chord, add the flattened seventh degree of the major scale (noted with Cmaj7 or CMa7) to a standard major triad and note with Cmaj7 or CMa7 notation.

To form a minor seventh chord, take a standard minor triad and add the flattened seventh degree of the minor scale – this is denoted as Cm7 or CMa7 – which you can also use to construct diminished and augmented chords as well as suspended ones – Csus2 or Csus4 is sometimes abbreviated as CS6 (sometimes also abbreviated as CS6)

Minor Scales

Minor scales come in three varieties: natural, harmonic and melodic. Each one alters your chord choices in unique ways as well as how a key sounds; for instance, B minor natural uses notes that form a major 7 chord while using B harmonic minor creates a minor 6 chord.

No matter the style or genre of music you enjoy playing, chords are at the core of every composition. Gaining an understanding of their differences will significantly enhance both your guitar playing skills and musical knowledge.

Intervals, or distances between adjacent notes, determine the difference between major and minor chords. Once familiar with intervals, it should be straightforward to spot major/minor distinctions. One major indicator between major/minor chords is their third size which determines its tone; major thirds tend to be four half steps higher than minor thirds and may evoke feelings of hopefulness or optimism while minor chords seem sadder or restless.