#1
Alright, if someone can help me close the book on this once and for all that would be much appreciated. I am having trouble forming chords on the guitar (not physically, theoretically).

For instance, I know that a major chord is 1 3 5, a minor chord 1 b3 5, a major 7th is 1 3 5 7, dominant 7th 1 3 5 b7, etc. But what does the 1, 3, 5 correspond to? I know it corresponds to the degree of note in a scale, and the notes change depending on what scale is being addressed. I also know that, ultimately, there is a half step between B&C and E&F (full step between every other note). What I need to know is what scale form (not key) are the chord forms referencing. Would a maj7 chord take its degrees from a major scale form? If so, what is the pattern of the major scale?

I want to be able to know the forms of the scale (pattern) to be able to figure out which notes are in the scale that the aforementioned chord forms reference, and then be able to figure out how to form a chord from the scale. Can any one help me with this? Or suggest a good website/ app that can help me visualize this?
#2
Everything is relative to the major scale.

But really, it's all just intervals. Flat intervals are minor (for b2, b3, b6, b7) or diminished (for b4, b5) and sharp intervals are augmented. Any natural intervals are major (2, 3, 6, 7) or perfect (4, 5).
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#4
This is a major scale, (in semi-tones or 1 fret moves): 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1.

If you check the piano, and start at any "C", you'll find the scale has all natural notes. Only the white keys!

Here's the key of C major, and each corresponding scale degree, or number:

C (1st), D (2nd), E (3rd), F (4th), G (5th), A (6th), B (7th), C (8th or octave).

So, a C major chord would be 1st, 3rd, & 5th of the C major scale. C major then = C, E, G.

However, if you want to make an F major chord, (which occurs naturally in C major), the note "F", is now the 1st or "root of the chord.

So, to make F major, we still use the 1, 3, 5, pattern. You should have guessed by now "1, 3, 5", is merely every other note in a scale. Starting at F in C major, F, (skip G), A, (skip B), C. So, "F, A, C" is F major.

Using the 1, 3, 5, skip a note pattern on any major scale creates major, minor, and diminished chords. It simply depends on which note of the scale you start.

Minor chords, contain only 3 semitones from the 1st to the 3rd, while major chords contain 4.

If we make an A chord in the C major scale, you'll see the "distance" or "interval" between A and C is only 3 semi tones. That makes the chord minor.

If the distance or interval between the 1st and 3rd note of a chord is 4 semitones, then that would be a "major chord.".

Major chord: 4 semitones, then 3 semitones. Minor chord 3 semitones, then 4 semitones.

And the last part of your question about "major seventh", goes like this. A major 7th, is a "natural 7th". If we go back to the scale pattern I laid out, you'll see there's only a semitone or 1/2 step distance from the 7th to the octave. That would make Cmaj7, C, E, G, B.

C7, or C dominant 7th would use the b7 or Bb.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 20, 2013,
#5
Quote by Dimarzio45
Think of it in terms of intervals rather than degrees.


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#6
Quote by food1010
Everything is relative to the major scale.


this is the answer to your question about what scale the 1 2 b3 4 etc. refers to.
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#8
So, using the major interval 2 2 1 2 2 2 1, if I wanted to form the D maj scale, would I start at D and then travel 2 semitones to E, then another 2 semitones to F#, 1 semitone to G, then another 2 semitones to A, etc. Therfore, knowing that a major triad is 1 3 5 a Dmaj triad, would be D F# A? Dmaj7 would be D F# A C#?
#9
Quote by H3lue
So, using the major interval 2 2 1 2 2 2 1, if I wanted to form the D maj scale, would I start at D and then travel 2 semitones to E, then another 2 semitones to F#, 1 semitone to G, then another 2 semitones to A, etc. Therfore, knowing that a major triad is 1 3 5 a Dmaj triad, would be D F# A? Dmaj7 would be D F# A C#?
Perfect!

The types of chords formed from the D major scale will be, (on each scale degree):

(1st), D major ____________________(D, F#, A)

(2nd), E minor,______________________(E, G, B)

(3rd) F# minor, ______________________(F#, A, C#)

(4th) G major, called "sub-dominant"_______(G, B, D)

(5th) A major, called "dominant",___________ (A, E, C#)

(6th) B minor , "name of the relative minor key"__(B, D, F#)

(7th) C# diminished _________________________(C#, E, G) (3 semitones,3 semitones)!

(D 1 or 8) We're back to D major again!____________(D, F#, A)


Notice when a major chord occurs, there are 4 semitones between the 1st and 3rd notes! (In the D major chord from D to F# is 4 semis). But when a minor chord is formed, there are only 3 semis between the 1st and 3rd. (In the E minor chord E to G is 3 semitones).

A Major chord equals 4 semitones from 1st to 3rd, then 3 semitones to the 5th.

A minor chord equals 3 semitones from 1st to 3rd, then 4 semitones to the 5th.

A "diminished chord" equals 3 semitones, then 3 semitones again.

The "interval" of 4 semitones is called a "major 3rd".

The "interval" of 3 semitones is called a "minor 3rd".


Here's the E major scale: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E. Why don't you figure out the chords.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 23, 2013,
#10
The numbers you listed are relative to the root of the chord, not necessarily the root of the scale or key you're using.

"Root 3rd 5th" is how you'd say it. All your basic triads are built by stacking thirds from a scale, and you can build triads starting on any note in the scale. And as long as you're strictly in key, you'd build your triads only from the notes in the scale.

So before you mouseover the spoiler tags, think about a triad built on scale degree 2.
scale degrees 2 4 and 6 make that triad, but it's a minor triad, so relative to the root, it's "Root, Minor 3rd, 5th".


You can get a grasp on this simply by writing a little chart of your scale degrees


Root-----3rd-----5th <--chord tones

1---------3--------5 <--- Scale Degrees
2---------4--------6
3---------5--------7
4---------6--------1
5---------7--------2
6---------1--------3
7---------2--------4


remember that you're always looking this both as relative to the root of the chord, and to the overall scale or key.

And of course, you should spend the most time actually playing and singing the triads once you know how to build them.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 21, 2013,
#11
I must warn you that learning note names or music theory without any sound is like learning to swim without water but here's how I would explain traditional chord naming in writing:

The numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 correspond to the scale degrees of the DIATONIC MAJOR SCALE. This scale sounds like the common mnemonic "do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti".

From this scale, you can construct any chord (or any other scale for that matter) if you know the chord or scale formula. I'll be using the C Major Scale [C-D-E-F-G-A-B] for most of the examples to keep it simple although it is essential that you know the "12 major keys" by heart. If not, you can consult the table.

Conventional chord names go up to "13 " and so we extend the major scale beyond the first octave and we would have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 plus 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 but then we only use the 9th, 11th and 13th degrees for naming chord extensions (same as the 2nd, 4th and 6th degrees)

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-11-13
C-D-E-F-G-A-B-D- F - A

Let's assume you want to build the following chords/ arpeggios:

*Cmaj7 chord / arpeggio
The formula for a maj7 chord is = 1, 3, 5, 7 or [do, mi, so, ti]
and so we take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, and 7th degrees of the C major scale
which is C, E, G, B
giving us the notes for a CM7 chord

*Cminor 7 chord
minor 7th chord formula = 1, b3, 5, b7
Again, we refer to the C Major Scale but this time we "flatten" the 3rd and the "7th" degrees. Hence,
Cm7 = C, Eb, G,Bb

*Dmin7 chord
As with the previos example the minor 7th chord formula = 1, b3, 5, b7
but his time we refer to the D Major Scale since our root or first note is "D".
The D Major Scale is spelled D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#.
We then have
1 = D
b3 = F
5 = A
b7 = C

So then a Dm7 chord would be constructed from the notes D, F, A, C.


Here are some common chord formulas. Observe the "trend" and soon you'll be able to figure out other seemingly complex chord name abbreviations.

1-3-5 = major chord / triad [e.g. C = C-E-G]
1-3-(5)-7 = major seventh [e.g. CM7 = C-E-G-B] * paren = optional note
1-3-(5)-7-9 = major ninth [e.g. CM9 = C-E-(G)-B-D]

1-3-(5)-b7 = dominant 7th chord [e.g. C7 = C-E-(G)-Bb]
1-3-(5)-b7-9 = dominant 9th chord [e.g. C9 = C-E-(G)-Bb-D]
1-3-(5)-b7-b9 = 7b9 = [e.g. C7b9 = C-E-(G)-Bb-Db]
1-3-(5)-b7-#9 = 7#9 = [e.g. C7#9 = C-E-(G)-Bb-D#]

1-3-(5)-6 = major 6th chord [e.g. C6 = C-E-(G)-A]

1-b3-5 = minor triad [e.g. Cm = C-Eb-G]
1-b3-(5)-b7 = minor 7th chord [e.g. Cm7 = C-Eb-(G)-Bb]
1-b3-(5)-b7-9 = minor 9th chord [e.g. Cm9 = C-Eb-(G)-Bb-D]

1-b3-5-7 = mM7 [e.g. CmM7 = C-Eb-G-B]

1-b3-b5 = diminished triad [e.g. Cdim = C-Eb-Gb]
1-b3-b5-b7 = m7b5 [e.g. Cm7b5 = C-Eb-Gb-Bb]
1-b3-b5-bb7 = diminished 7th [e.g. Cdim7 = C-Eb-Gb-Bbb OR C-Eb-Gb-"A"]

1-3-#5 = augmented triad [e.g. Caug = C-E-G#]
1-3-#5-b7 = dominant 7#5 [e.g. C7#5 = C-E-G#-Bb]
1-3-#5-7 = M7#5 [e.g. CM7#5 = C-E-G#-B]

1-3-b5-7 = M7b5 [e.g. CM7b5 = C-E-Gb-B]
1-3-b5-b7 = 7b5 [e.g. C7b5 = C-E-Gb-Bb]

1-b3-#5-7 = mM7#5 [e.g. CmM7#5 = C-Eb-G#-B]
1-b3-#5-b7 = m7#5 [e.g Cm7#5 C-Eb-G#-Bb]

1-3-5-9 = major add9 or add2 [e.g. Eadd9 or Eadd2 = E-G#-B-F#]
1-b3-5-9 = min add9 or min add2 [e.g. Amadd9 or Amadd2 = A-C-E-B]

1-4-5 = sus4 [e.g. Dsus4 = D-G-A]
1-4-(5)-b7 = 7sus4 [e.g. E7sus4 = E-A-(B)-D]
1-4-(5)-7 = M7sus4 [e.g. EM7sus4 = E-A-(B)-D#]
1-4-(5)-6 = 6sus4 [e.g. E6sus4 = E-A-(B)-C#]

1-2-5 = sus2 [e.g. Csus2 = C-D-G]
1-2-(5)-7 = maj7sus2 [e.g. CM7sus2 = C-D-(G)-B]
1-2-(5)-b7 = 7sus2 [e.g. C7sus2 = C-D-(G)-Bb]

1-2-4-(5) = sus2sus4 [e.g. Csus2sus4 = C-D-F-(G)]

=============
Sean0913 / Captaincranky [A-E-F#]:

no major 3rd or minor 3rd here nor is it conventional
(but E and C# are primary overtones of A so assume major)

1-5-6 = 6th (no 3rd) [e.g. A6(no 3rd) = A-E-F#]

=============
b = flat
# = sharp
x = double sharp
bb = double flat
t = "triple sharp?"
Attachments:
transposition table.PNG
POWER TAB CHORD FORMULAS.zip
Last edited by ha_asgag at Mar 23, 2013,
#13
Quote by Sean0913


P.S. @ Capncranky....

*cough*

"(5th) A major, called "dominant",___________ (A, E, F#)"

*cough*
Well,at least I was right about the sharp

But, with that said, I suppose you could add a C# to the A & E while taking away the F#, if you wanted a mere run of the mill A major triad.

On a more adventurous note, you could leave the F# AND add the C#, giving you either an F#min7 or an A6, depending on what you would call "context", but I would call it whichever name came to mind first....Well, it also has the makings of Esus4add9...But really, feel free to correct me on that....No seriously, I mean that, feel free to correct me when necessary....
#14
I like the think of the notes in the chord function as they do relating to the tonic note.

I think it is easier to think of a IVmaj7 chord not as a 1 3 5 7, but as 4 6 1 3. This also makes it clearer to understand why it is a predominant - because it contains both the 4 and the 1 scale degrees as chord tones but there isn't a seventh coming up anytime soon.

So that's my 2 cents.
#15
someone needs to devise a vBulletin format for standard notation. It's no wonder nobody understands music theory when it's written out in letters and words. Imagine trying to do math that way.
#16
Quote by cdgraves
someone needs to devise a vBulletin format for standard notation. It's no wonder nobody understands music theory when it's written out in letters and words. Imagine trying to do math that way.


Then people would bitch because it wasn't in tab. Other than that I couldn't agree more, theory is much easier to visualize when you read it straight off the sheet music.
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#17
Quote by J-Dawg158
Then people would bitch because it wasn't in tab. Other than that I couldn't agree more, theory is much easier to visualize when you read it straight off the sheet music.
What's this thing you're calling "sheet music"....