#1
Do all the notes in a chord have to be in the scale of the key being played in?

For example:

C Dm Em F G Am

all the notes in the chords are in the C major scale, correct? Is that what decides if they are major or minor?

And what is it for the 7th degree?
#2
Yes that is basically the C Major chord scale - stick a Bdim (R,b3,b5) on the end to finish it off.

The way you write the chord progression determines if it is major or minor. If it resolves to C (ie it feels like it should end on a C) then it is C Major, if it resolves to Am then it is A minor - which is the relatice minor of C (which means C Major and A minor use all the same notes - the difference is that they have different tonal centres)

Do you know how you get those chords? I mean do you know how to harmonise the scale?
#3
But all of those chords I listed have all the notes of the C major scale. Bdim has a G#, right? So how does it fit in the progression?
#4
No, defidently not. Some artists write songs exclusivly using the 6 (more if you include 7ths) chords from notes in a scale (Bob Dylan comes to mind). But if you look at just a random sample of songs by Queen, David Bowie, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground, ect. you will find that there are frequent departures from the scale. A common use of notes outside of the scale is to use notes from related scales, such as if you were in C, using notes from F and G which would give you chords such as Bb and D, which respectivly feature notes Bb and F# which are not in the C scale. Another common trick is to take minor chords that are from your key such as Em, Am, or Dm and make them major chords or dominante 7th chords- and give you the popular progression C E7 Am F. These chords feature notes G#, C#, and again F# which aren't part of the C major scale. My basic rule is that if it sounds good, your method can't be that bad, so don't be afraid to use unconventional chords- music can get boring if there is too little dissonence.
#5
Quote by mick13
But all of those chords I listed have all the notes of the C major scale. Bdim has a G#, right? So how does it fit in the progression?
I was just talking triads - so R (B), b3 (D), b5 (F)

If you were looking at 7th chords then the vii chord would be Bm7b5 - which is also called B half diminished

Edit: If you want to keep a song diatonic (in key) you'd just use the notes of the key to construct the chords. But you don't have to keep it diatonic if you don't want to - although its simpler to solo over a diatonic chord progression, and imho easier to write diatonically and know it will sound ok.
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 8, 2009,
#6
Quote by crystleshade
No, defidently not. Some artists write songs exclusivly using the 6 (more if you include 7ths) chords from notes in a scale (Bob Dylan comes to mind). But if you look at just a random sample of songs by Queen, David Bowie, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground, ect. you will find that there are frequent departures from the scale. A common use of notes outside of the scale is to use notes from related scales, such as if you were in C, using notes from F and G which would give you chords such as Bb and D, which respectivly feature notes Bb and F# which are not in the C scale. Another common trick is to take minor chords that are from your key such as Em, Am, or Dm and make them major chords or dominante 7th chords- and give you the popular progression C E7 Am F. These chords feature notes G#, C#, and again F# which aren't part of the C major scale. My basic rule is that if it sounds good, your method can't be that bad, so don't be afraid to use unconventional chords- music can get boring if there is too little dissonence.

I never said every note in the song would be in the C major scale. I'm saying if you look at these chords

C - C, E, G
Dm - D, F, A
Em - E, B, E
F - F, A, C
G - G, B, D
Am - A, E, C

So it's just a coincidence that all those notes are in the C major scale? Isn't that what makes it major or minor? D has to be minor because it's minor form contains notes in the C major scale..?
#7
Its not coincidence - thats the C Maj chord scale. You can construct it yourself by taking the C Major scale and stacking thirds. The chords themselves will be major or minor depending on whether they have a minor or major 3rd in them.

Major chord scales have the formula I ii iii IV V vi viio

Whether the chord progression itself is major or minor though will depend on what chord it resolves to
#8
In that case, yes that is why these chords generally follow the key you're playing in, but in the key of C, D doesn't always have to be minor. Theory implies that should be minor (D,F,A), but rules should also be broken, what self respecting rock star only constructs songs based on previously imposed limits?
#9
Quote by zhilla


Major chord scales have the formula I ii iii IV V vi viio

I know that. But I was wondering what makes the 2-3-6 minor and the 1-4-5 major. and I'm trying to say: isn't it because they all have notes from the scale/key they are in?
#10
Quote by crystleshade
In that case, yes that is why these chords generally follow the key you're playing in, but in the key of C, D doesn't always have to be minor. Theory implies that should be minor (D,F,A), but rules should also be broken, what self respecting rock star only constructs songs based on previously imposed limits?
There aren't any rules in music theory. There are conventions, there are explanations, but there aren't rules.

If you are playing diatonically in C then yes the triad built of the D will be Dm

Quote by mick13
I know that. But I was wondering what makes the 2-3-6 minor and the 1-4-5 major. and I'm trying to say: isn't it because they all have notes from the scale/key they are in?
Yes, they are major or minor because they are built form the notes (and therefore the intervals) of the major scale

You get that formula by stacking 3rds, so

C D E F G A B

C E G - C to E is a Maj 3rd, E to G is a min 3rd, and a maj 3rd followed by a min 3rd gives you a major chord

D F A - D to F is a min 3rd, F to A is a Maj 3rd - which makes a minor chord

B D F - B to D is a min 3rd, D to F is a min 3rd - which makes a diminished chord
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 8, 2009,
#11
Quote by zhilla
There aren't any rules in music theory. There are conventions, there are explanations, but there aren't rules.

If you are playing diatonically in C then yes the triad built of the D will be Dm

were you replying to my post or no?
#13
Quote by zhilla
edited my post to make more sense

okay this might be a stupid question but

do the intervals or the notes themselves make the chord major or minor?
#14
The intervals determine whether the chord is major or minor.

A maj 3rd with a min 3rd stacked on top is Major

A min 3rd with a maj 3rd stacked on top is minor

A min 3rd with another min 3rd stacked on top is diminished

And its definitely not a stupid question
#15
Quote by zhilla


A maj 3rd with a min 3rd stacked on top is Major

A min 3rd with a maj 3rd stacked on top is minor


could you explain more with the stacked on top thing?



I'm getting confused.

then where do prefect intervals and everything come in
#16
Take a C Major chord

The root is C

Then you "stack a 3rd" on top of that C to get the next note...

So from the C Major scale

C D E F G A B

A 3rd from C is an E, so you now have C E

Then stack another 3rd on top of that to make it a triad:

A 3rd from E is G

C D E F G A B

So you've got you C E G triad - which forms a major chord

Make any more sense? :/
#17
Quote by zhilla
Take a C Major chord

The root is C

Then you "stack a 3rd" on top of that C to get the next note...

So from the C Major scale

C D E F G A B

A 3rd from C is an E, so you now have C E

Then stack another 3rd on top of that to make it a triad:

A 3rd from E is G

C D E F G A B

So you've got you C E G triad - which forms a major chord

Make any more sense? :/

Yes it does. So the E to the G is a minor third? But couldn't you change the G so its a lower octave, and then instead it would be next to the C? then what?


And for example: a D major chord. where is the minor interval?
Last edited by mick13 at Jul 8, 2009,
#18
Quote by mick13
Yes it does. So the E to the G is a minor third? But couldn't you change the G so its a lower octave, and then instead it would be next to the C? then what?
You could call it C/G - which means C over G, and just indicates that the G is in the bass

Or you could call it a 2nd inversion of C

If you are using it in a C Maj progression its still essentially a C chord, just in a different voicing (which means the notes are in a different order to a standard triad)

Quote by mick13
And for example: a D major chord. where is the minor interval?
D major chord is D F# A - D to F# is a maj 3rd (4 semitones), F# to A is a min 3rd (3 semitones)
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 8, 2009,
#19
Quote by zhilla
You could call it C/G - which means C over G, and just indicates that the G is in the bass

Or you could call it a 2nd inversion of C

If you are using it in a C Maj progression its still essentially a C chord, just in a different voicing (which means the notes are in a different order to a standard triad)

D major chord is D F# A - D to F# is a maj 3rd (4 semitones), F# to A is a min 3rd (3 semitones)

well then they dont need to be next to each other? theres a D between them

EDIT: i still dont get the stacked thing
you said both major and minor have both a major and minor interval
so whats the difference if they both have 1 of each
Last edited by mick13 at Jul 8, 2009,
#21
Quote by mick13
well then they dont need to be next to each other? theres a D between them
Doesn't matter - put the right scale degrees (R,3,5) and you have a major triad. You can change that triad to its 1st inversion by moving the root to the top, and 2nd inversion by moving the new bass note (the 3rd) to the top.

Quote by mick13
EDIT: i still dont get the stacked thing
you said both major and minor have both a major and minor interval
so whats the difference if they both have 1 of each
The order. In a Major chord the interval between the Root and the 3rd is a major 3rd, and the interval between the 3rd and the 5th is a minor 3rd - so a Major chord is R 3 5.

In minor chords its the other way round, so a minor chord is R b3 5 - there's an interval of a minor 3rd between the R and the b3, and a major 3rd interval from the b3 to the 5.

Skeleb is right - the crusade articles and the Music Theory FAQ can explain this stuff a darn sight better than I ever could
#22
yeah like it says, it's made of a root, a perfect fifth, and a major 3rd. those are the notes from the scale. is that why i got confused? because i was thinking about that, not the intervals?
#23
There's 2 lots of intervals to look at - the intervals from the root (which are a Maj 3rd and a 5th), and the intervals between each element of the chord (a maj 3rd between the root and the 3, and a min 3rd between the 3 and the 5)

I'm probably just confusing you now tho If I was you I'd go have a read of the FAQ or the crusades.
#24
Quote by zhilla
There's 2 lots of intervals to look at - the intervals from the root (which are a Maj 3rd and a 5th), and the intervals between each element of the chord (a maj 3rd between the root and the 3, and a min 3rd between the 3 and the 5)

I'm probably just confusing you now tho If I was you I'd go have a read of the FAQ or the crusades.

actually, no. i understood that.

the lesson was like what i was thinking, it said:

# "Major chords (or Major triads) are constructed of a root note, a major 3rd, and a perfect 5th"

that's what I was thinking the whole time, I forgot about the intervals
#26
Quote by zhilla
So...it makes sense now? I didn't make it worse?

nope i got it now, thanks for your help