Which Chords Are Major and Minor?

From classical pieces of music to pop songs, major chords have long been associated with happiness and lightheartedness. So what makes one chord major or minor?

Answer lies within the intervals between notes that make up a chord, specifically its major third and perfect fifth components. A major chord typically contains three notes – its root note, major third and perfect fifth.

Major Triads

The four qualities of triads–major, minor, diminished and augmented–are determined by the intervals between root, third and fifth notes in a scale. This provides the simplest method for categorizing chords.

Learning all major diatonic chords will become much simpler if you understand this fact. C, E and G constitute a major triad because their distance between root (C) and third (E) is two whole steps; D F A constitute a minor triad because its distance between root (D) and third (F) is three semitones.

Minor triads like A C E and A B D also follow this principle, making identifying and learning chords in any key very straightforward once this principle has been established. The minor interval between root and third, and major interval between third and fifth are always identical between any keys; making chord identification and learning simple!

Minor Triads

Chords are among the simplest building blocks of harmony, making up most songs you hear or play. Therefore, mastering chords should be part of any musician’s repertoire.

Minor triads resemble major triads except with their third flattened or lowered. You’ll note that their quality depends on the interval that exists between their root, third, and fifth notes; major and minor triads tend to produce consonant chords, while diminished and augmented triads produce dissonant notes.

As you practice minor triad shapes in different keys, you will discover their individual sonic characteristics. C minor for instance has an earthy and mysterious sound to it; something hard to mistake for anything else and ideal for setting the tone in any arrangement.

Major Thirds

There is an overwhelming consensus that major chords tend to sound brighter and happier while minor chords sound darker and melancholic due to the difference in intervals between its root (C for instance) and third note – F# in this instance – and THIRD note (G).

This interval consists of four half steps higher, and can be found in any key. Because it applies across keys, we call it a MAJOR third.

So when composing three notes of C major scale, adding E as the fifth degree creates a major chord – giving rise to C major’s classic C major chord! When stacking two MAJOR thirds consecutively you get an augmented chord; two MINOR thirds results in diminished chord, which sounds quite sad and discordant compared to its major cousin. All these chords use the same pattern but you can alter their color by moving up or down by several frets on their original strings.

Minor Thirds

As with major chords, a minor chord’s quality can be assessed through its interval pattern. As a general guideline, minor intervals feature flattened (or diminished) thirds while major intervals don’t.

However, this rule isn’t always followed; musicians may incorporate minor intervals into major chords such as Cm6 (C-Eb-G) and Cmaj7 (C-D-F-A). Additionally, minor thirds can be written using any letter name as long as their notes belong within one scale.

Knowledge of major and minor chords is an excellent way to enhance chord progressions and add greater depth and emotion to your songs. Through practice, you’ll soon begin recognizing the distinguishing characteristics of each type of chord – which will allow you to build complex harmonic structures for your music that take it further. Major chords usually sound brighter and happier while minor ones produce sounds which evoke sadness or melancholy feelings; composers use harmony as one tool for invoking specific emotions in their works.