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Old 01-09-2013, 06:08 AM   #1
kenziedear
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maj min min maj maj min dim... but why? :/

Its probably been covered already but im so tired of looking and coming up short. someone (preferably incredibly competent, but ill settle for less) please explain why and where this pattern comes from! ive taken the liberty of memorizing maj min min maj maj min dim for chord progressions constructed from the major scale but id like to understand why so that im not blindly memorizing patterns for the chords in every other scale, as well. Im rather new to guitar still, so please excuse any incorrect terminology.

so, i guess my question, is what determines the type of chord being played in a chord progression (major, minor, dim, aug, sus) and how can that be applied to any scale to figure out the chord types in a progression made from said scale.

an explanation using both the major and natural minor scale would be truly appreciated.

the only lessons i could find on here regarding this subject left me wanting more.

Thank you, in advance.
kenzC:

Last edited by kenziedear : 01-09-2013 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:15 AM   #2
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idk if im even supposed to be posting this here. D:
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:47 AM   #3
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First thing you need to do is build diatonic triads off every scale degree of a Major scale. Look at the chords, there's your answer. Do this to the natural minor (you'll notice something if you compare it to the Major scale), harmonic minor, and melodic minor.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:59 AM   #4
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C major scale

CDEFGABC

Build chords using 135

CDE - C major
DFA - D minor
EGC - E minor

And that's why. Hope it helps.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:45 AM   #5
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To start with you should know how to construct the four basic triads.
A triad is a chord made up of three distinct pitches. These three pitches are the root, a third and a fifth. The notes share a relationship with each other in which they can be "stacked" on top of each other using major or minor thirds intervals.

For example a Major triad is made with a root note then you stack a major third on top of that and a minor third on top of that. When compared against the root note of the chord we have a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth. It is called a Major triad. Here's a nice big picture showing how stacking major or minor thirds on top of each other can result in one of four basic triads.



Now that you know how these basic triads are constructed you can go on and harmonize the major scale.

As AlanHB outlined you so this by stacking thirds using ONLY the diatonic notes of the major scale. Then you look to see what kind of chord was created.

So using the C major scale
C D E F G A B C
you end up with the following chords
C E G (looking at it we can see it is a maj3rd + min3rd giving us a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth) Thus a major chord

The chord built off the second scale degree is
D F A. Looking at this we can see it is a min3rd+maj3rd giving us a root , a minor third, and a perfect fifth) Thus a minor chord.

As we work our way through we will see that the chords built off the first scale degree (C), the fourth scale degree (F), and the fifth scale degree (G) are all Major chords.
The chords built off the second (D), third (E), and sixth (A) scale degrees are all minor chords.
The seventh degree results in a chord with two minor third intervals resulting in a root, minor third, and diminished fifth. It is called diminished chord.

There are no augmented chords that are diatonic to the major scale.

The result is Major minor minor Major Major minor diminished

You can harmonize ANY major scale and the restulting chord qualities will be the same for the same scale degrees. This is because even if you change to the A major scale
A B C# D E F# G# A
The intervals between the scale degrees are still the same. So it is still a major third from the first scale degree to the third scale degree (A to C#) and it is still a minor third between the third scale degree and the fifth scale degree (C# to E). So when we harmonize the major scale the chord built first scale degree will always result in a major chord. The diatonic chord harmonized from the second degree of the major scale will always be minor etc etc.

Major minor minor Major Major minor diminshed.
Because the structure of the major scale is always the same (W W H W W W H) the resulting chords built from that scale will always have the same structure depending on the starting point along the scale.

The minor scale has a different structure W H W W H W W than the major scale. So when we harmonize the minor scale it results in a different order of chord types.

The C minor scale for example is C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
Once again we harmonize by stacking thirds.
C to Eb is a minor third and Eb to G is a major third resulting in a chord
C Eb G Root, minor third, perfect fifth. This is a minor triad.

When we harmonize the second scale degree we get D to F which is a minor third and then F to Ab which is another minor third. This results in a chord D F Ab (root minor third diminished fifth) which is a diminished triad.

The Harmonic minor scale is nothing more than the practice of raising the seventh degree when we harmonize the fifth scale degree of the minor scale. Thus we harmonize our scale degrees as normal by stacking thirds along the minor scale
C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
but when we get tot he fifth scale degree (G) we start by raising the seventh scale degree(Bb) to a B temporarily so that we get G to B which is a major third and then stacking a third from B to D which give us a chord G B D which is a G Major.

Then when harmonizing the rest of the scale we change the B back to a Bb and harmonize Ab to get an Ab major chord and Bb to get Bb major chord.

The reason we temproarily raise the seventh degree when harmonizing the minor scale is so that we get that major chord built off the fifth scale degree. The leading tone (B) is very strong in leading into the C tonic and this change make the resolution from the fifth scale degree to the tonic chord much stronger.

This is such a popular practice that the minor scale with the major seventh is called the HARMONIC MINOR scale (note that the scale is nothing more than a temporary alteration to the natural minor scale when HARMONIZING the scale).

So the restults of harmonizing the minor scale become
minor diminished Major minor Major* Major Major

if we stick solely to the natural minor scale then the chord built off the fifth degree will be minor in quality.
minor diminished Major minor minor Major Major

But in practice it is almost always Major - particularly when it is being used to lead back to the tonic chord.

When playing melodies over this changed chord we have to adjust our note choice slightly to accomodate. So instead of using the Bb which is natural to the minor scale because the chord we would be playing over would have a B in it then it would cause a clash with the Bb so we change our melody note to a B as well. But this creates a big jump between the Ab up to the B. When playing an ascending run for example we would have G to Ab ( a half step) Ab to B (three half steps) B to C (a half step) this causes a disjointed melodic run so to smooth it out we raise the Ab to A as well as the Bb to B.

Note that we are only making these changes to the minor scale to make a nice melodic run as we are playing over that Major chord built off the fifth scale degree as it has the altered B from the harmonic minor scale. This change in the two melodic notes for this purpose also became very popular and was called the Melodic minor scale.

So you end up with three minor scales

The natural minor scale
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 (in C = C D Eb F G Ab Bb C)

The harmonic minor scale
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7 8 (in C = C D Eb F G Ab B C) (exactly the same as the natural minor scale with a major seventh instead of a minor seventh. Traditionally used to make the chord harmonized from the fifth scale degree a major chord instead of a minor chord)

The melodic minor scale
1 2 b3 4 5 6 7 8 (in C = C D Eb F G A B C) (exactly the same as the natural minor scale with the major sixth and major seventh. Used to create smooth melodic runs over the major 5 chord that results from the Harmonic minor scale)

Although these are presented as three distinct scales they are actually all the SAME scale - the minor scale. Think of the minor scale as having some flexible rungs on the sixth and seventh degrees that change depending on specific circumstances.

Of course as with many things in modern inerpretation the three minor scales are often conceived of as three individually distinct scales that can each be harmonized and used completely as it's own unique scale from which various harmonic and melodic ideas are formed.

Anyway I am sure that by now I have so poorly explained far too much information for you that you must surely be more confused than when you started. So I apologize if that is the case. It's late. I'm tired and you deserve better really but I'm gonna hit the post button anyway because I didn't stay up an extra 20 minutes writing something I'm not going to post. :P

Peace
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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because i said so
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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come up long then
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
C major scale

CDEFGABC

Build chords using 135

CDE - C major
DFA - D minor
EGC - E minor

And that's why. Hope it helps.

I spotted your deliberate mistake, do I win a prize?
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:48 AM   #9
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You missed one.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
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lol, after the first one I stopped looking...
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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he meant to write "C ionian mode" not c major scale
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
kenziedear
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oh dang, thank you all. C: so it doesnt seem like its too complex to understand (yay). just like pretty much everything, its all about intervals, again. XD thank you for the valuable information. joining this site will probably be the best thing i do for my guitar playing. ^_^ <3 time to go back and reread and make sure it all settles in. C:
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:20 PM   #13
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its funny cuz in my attempt to have a question answered, i also learned things about the minor scales i never knew before. i<3 u guys
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by kenziedear
its funny cuz in my attempt to have a question answered, i also learned things about the minor scales i never knew before. i<3 u guys

Like what?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdc
Like what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Tigers
Although these are presented as three distinct scales they are actually all the SAME scale - the minor scale. Think of the minor scale as having some flexible rungs on the sixth and seventh degrees that change depending on specific circumstances.

Of course as with many things in modern interpretation the three minor scales are often conceived of as three individually distinct scales that can each be harmonized and used completely as it's own unique scale from which various harmonic and melodic ideas are formed.


pretty much that. :O i do wish an example explaining aug and sus chords had been used(since im pretty sure ive seen those in other scales) but i understand the concept and what makes chords augmented or suspended so its time to get some paper and see for myself. xD
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:41 PM   #16
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It was my phone I swear
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #17
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:48 PM   #18
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The easiest way to think about (in C) it is because the generic triad of 135 makes it so.
Go to a piano/keyboard and, starting on c play the root, third and fifth (ignoring sharps and flats) of the notes in the C major scale.

http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/43

There you go. That website is a lifesaver if you're new to music theory or ear training.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:01 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenziedear
pretty much that. :O i do wish an example explaining aug and sus chords had been used(since im pretty sure ive seen those in other scales) but i understand the concept and what makes chords augmented or suspended so its time to get some paper and see for myself. xD

Augmented chords are not diatonic to the major or minor scale. But the scales are not a set of notes that you HAVE to stick to when choosing notes for your chord or melody. You can use any note and it can be okay if it achieves the sound you desire.

Augmented chords are reasonably dissonant chords as that sharp fifth doesn't quite sit right.

For this reason they are excellent for creating tension. In some instances it can help evoke feelings of emptiness and dispair such as is illustrated by Roger Water's liberal use of augmented chords throughout the Pink Floyd's the Wall album.

The James Bond theme also raises the fifth to create a sense of tension and seems to really nail what it might feel like to be a spy knowing you might get caught sneaking around while at the same time keeping a cool sense of style.

John Lennon - that incredibly talented fellow at not just writing great lyrics with but at using the music to really express what the song is saying uses an augmented chord in the song "I'm So Tired". (Note this is the only song I've seen a borrowed dominant seventh chord built off the leading tone which, occurring right on the word tired you can hear how the music at that time sounds "tired").

In the song he suggests "Maybe I should get up..."
and when he suggests "getting up" the chord he plays is an E+ (Eaug). And it jars, as though the idea of getting up is not really something he wants to do - that E+ is saying "WTF!!That sounds like a really unappealing idea!"

But then he adds "and get myself a drink" and the music slips into an F#m and a Dm as though to say "well okay then if you're gonna get up then you can at least get a drink". But then "no no no" he confirms what the the E+ suggested - that getting up is a bad idea -and he's back to where he started.

The second verse the same thing he talks about "maybe I should call you" and again that same E+ reaction right on "call you" - the E+ seems to signal another inherently bad idea and the singer sees the truth in that E+ because he knows what they will do...

Throughout the whole song his mind is busy he can't sleep he's stressing out about something to do with someone and he just wants some piece of mind. He's nervous and worried about the tension and situation between him and this person and...well this is just a great example of the right chord choice at the right time.

The above shows how an augmented chord can work to marry music and lyrics to paint a more accurate musical picture but what about how augmented chords work musically??

There are scales that can be harmonized to create an augmented chord. And some people will tell you when they see an augmented chord - Oh that's from the third degree of the harmonic (or melodic) minor scale.

While it might be perfectly legitimate in some ways to say this, in other ways it completely misses the point. And doesn't always tell us anything MEANINGFUL about the musical relevance of the augmented chord in a given situation.

Not every chord is derived from a specific scale. When a song, like I'm So Tired, is clearly in the key of A there is not much to be gained by saying the E+ is borrowed from the C#harmonic minor scale - it doesn't tell us anything about the chord or why it belongs there muscially.

To understand the muscial relevance of the chord we can look at the way the vertical notes (harmony) creates a dissonance that punctuates a musical or lyrical idea (as above) or we can look at the horizontal lines moving from one chord to the other to see how the chord is arrived at and how it is departed from.

For an example of how you might go about doing that I'm going to use the intro of the song "Nobody Home" from Pink Floyd's the Wall album. Simply because I've already spent too much time on "I'm So Tired" and I fell like mixing it up.

The song starts Am C+ C F Fm C
The voice leading in this chord movement is pertty straight forward and easy to hear.

On the guitar you would voice the Am as an open Am chord on the guitar with an A present on the second fret of the G string.

When we move to the C+ the C and the E remain from the Am but the low A goes up to C while the A inside the Am goes down a half step to G# to create a dissonant C+ chord. So the only new note is that G# which has come down from the A.

The inherent dissonance of the C+ is then resolved with a move to C (the only note that moves now is that G# down a half step to a perfectly consonant perfect fifth (G) in that C major chord)

This all then moves to F. That C to F move (down a perfect fifth) tonicizes the F but only briefly. It does provide a strong harmonic movement that has so far been lacking. But it's important to note that this strong harmonic movement covers up the fact that we have just reintroduced an A note on that second fret G string. We feel safe from that C to F change but it doesn't last...

the A then drops away beneath us, just as it did the last time, by a half step to Ab (the enharmonic equivalent of G#) to give us an Fm chord. This move destabilizes the sense of tonic in that F chord.

The Ab then moves down again by a half step to G as the Fm moves to the true tonic, the C chord. And just like that we have a melancholic major chord. (If anyone ever told you Major = happy they're not getting deep enough into the music to know what is really creating the happy/sad emotions they are interpreting in what they are hearing.)

Am C+ C F Fm C - It is two ways of harmonizing that same A-Ab-G chromatic line.
First way > Am C+ C
Second way > F Fm C.

-----------
Note that F Fm C move (in roman numeral analysis IV iv I.)

This is a popular move. Check out Creep by Radiohead for another example of this same move as that song builds to a IV chord only to return by way of the iv chord. I have seen this called an "extended plagal cadence" and liked the way the term described what was happening so I have appropriated this term into my vocabulary to describe IV iv I.

Peace out I'm going to eat some barbeque chicken.
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