#1
This might be a big question so if it is feel free to rant.

What are the difference between chords and why even learn them. Im a very big "WHY" person so I'll be very grateful for detail but "what" is a major/minor chord. Whats the difference? Why is a C chord called a C chord? If I saw read standard notated music sheet and it had a C note, could I play the C chord. What makes it a C chord? The root note? Is it a major or a minor? Whats the difference between an Amaj7 and a Adominant7? Whats the difference? Whats the seven mean. Alot of sites give you chord name but dont tell you why. Just expect you to memorize which I have. Iknow the A-G chords. Amin, B7 C7 Dmin D7 Emin Fmaj7 & G7 with very little explanation. This question might delve really far into music theory but Im ok with that.
#2
Its the intervals and the notes you play together to make the chord.

a major uses the MAJOR triad, which is the root note, it's 3rd, and it's fifth.
so A major uses A, C#, and E

Minor is similar, but uses the MINOR Triad, which is root, minor 3rd(or flat third), and fifth.
so Aminor is A, C ,E

the two types are commonly said as
1,3,5
and
1,b3,5

for dominant 7th, its
the major:
1,3,5
plus a flat 7th
so all together

1,3,5,b7

major 7th is
1,3,5,7
.

learn more in the lessons archives.
#3
Yes, it's a big question. There are books on the subject, as well as courses you can take in college. There is alot of information & there are many opinions scattered over the net but as you have found, it's not as effective as learning in a structured way......experienced /qualified people that will take the time and effort to give you that generally get paid to do so.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 5, 2009,
#4
when naming a chord we use the root note of the chord so for example in a C major chord the C would be the root note the rest of the chord name is determined by the intervals of the other notes within the chord. the formula for a major chord is 1-3-5 in other words you have the root note (C) then add the interval of a major third (E) then an interval of a perfect fifth (G) thats a C major. intervals are determined by their distance from each other in their given scale a third is three steps from the root note and the fifth is five steps from the root. to make a major chord minor you would lower the third one half step in other words make it flat then it would be minor. the difference between the two is the sound minor chords have an ominous sometimes scary tone while majors are bright chords. distinguishing between major and natural minor is all within the ear due to the fact that the key of A minor contains the same notes as C major. to make a minor scale you simply start on the sixth degree of any major scale and proceed to the same note example C major=CDEFGABC to make it minor we start on the sixth degree or A and proceed to A thus A minor=ABCDEFGA you use your ear to determine the difference in tonalities. A seventh chord is a major chord like we talked about earlier but with the seventh scale degree added to it thus Cmajor 1-3-5 or C-E-G becomes 1-3-5-7 or C-E-G-B this gives us a Cmaj7 chord. a Cdom7 you get by taking the added seventh and flatting it so Cmaj7 or C-E-G-B becomes C-E-G-Bflat which is Cdom7.
#5
wow. That makes infinitly more sense then mindless memorization. My questions are how do these step measure out in intervals. Would one step from B be C or C#? What is this degree? 6th degree 7th scale degree
#7
"to make a minor scale you simply start on the sixth degree of any major scale and proceed to the same note example C major=CDEFGABC to make it minor we start on the sixth degree or A and proceed to A thus A minor=ABCDEFGA you use your ear to determine the difference in tonalities."


To be more specific that whole quoted I didnt get. Can you paraphrase or explain please.
Last edited by Thepredster at Sep 5, 2009,
#8
Quote by Thepredster
wow. That makes infinitly more sense then mindless memorization. My questions are how do these step measure out in intervals. Would one step from B be C or C#? What is this degree? 6th degree 7th scale degree
One tone (or step) is two frets, one semitone (or half-step) is one fret.

Say you are in C.

C is the tonic (or the root, or the 1)
Db (or C# depending on context. They're enharmonic, meaning they're the same pitch, but named differently for different situations) is the minor second (b2) or the minor nine (b9), which is just a 2 an octave up, used in extension chords (like 9 chords which utilize 1 3 5 7 9)
D is the major second (2). This is the second note in most 7 note scales starting on C (major, all three minors, mixolydian, and so on).
Eb (or D#) is the minor third (b3), sharp 2 (#2, or +2) or sharp 9 (#9, or +9), the third note in any major scale.
E is the major third (3), the third note in any major scale.
F is the perfect fourth (4), the fourth note in most 7 note scales.
F# or Gb is a tritone (augmented 4th [#4 or +4] or diminished 5th [b5 or -5]).
G is the perfect fifth (5), the fifth note in most 7 note scales.
Ab or G# is the minor 6th (b6) or augmented 5th (aug5 or #5 or +5).
A (or Bbb, which I'll explain) is the major 6th (6), or the diminished 7th (bb7, it's two semitones flat from a major 7th, which is quite strange when you are just learning this stuff).
A# or Bb is the minor 7th (b7). Note: this scale degree is used in chords that are labeled with a 7, like C7 (which are dominant 7th chords, not major 7th, which throws a lot of people off at first).
B is the major 7th (7).

Hope that helps. It took me a while, which means I probably made a few mistakes, so if anyone would be so kind as to proofread this and make changes in a quote, I would appreciate it, and I'm sure TS will too.

Quote by Thepredster
"to make a minor scale you simply start on the sixth degree of any major scale and proceed to the same note example C major=CDEFGABC to make it minor we start on the sixth degree or A and proceed to A thus A minor=ABCDEFGA you use your ear to determine the difference in tonalities."


To be more specific that whole quoted I didnt get. Can you paraphrase or explain please.
Don't listen to that. It's correct, but it's better that you understand how a natural minor scale is formed rather than that it has the same notes as its relative major scale.

If you want to know what that was saying though, it's pretty much saying relative major and minor scales (like C and Am) have the same notes, but the note they resolve to is what determines which one it is.
Major: - - C D E F G A B C
Minor: A B C D E F G A - -
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Sep 5, 2009,
#9
Each post both helps clears thing up and yet creates more questions. I now understand major/minor 2nd&3rds but perfect 4ths tritone then 5th? So between a major 3rd and a minor 6th its called something different? Notation like (b3) means the third minor including root note im guessing. Im unaware of the term augmented and diminished. These maybe exeedingly simple for yall but very difficult to me since Im just learning 90%of this. Music classes are unavailable to me right now and all my friends whos taken music classes dont know jack **** about it. Im trying to learn it online as yall can see.
#10
Chords are defined by the intervals they are made up of, for example a major chord has a major 3rd followed by a minor 3rd. If the intervals (not the notes) in a chord are the same then they are the same type of chord, and if they are different they are different types.

Edit:
^
An augmented interval is one semitone larger than a major or perfect interval.
Eg. C to D is a major 2nd, C to D# is an augmented 2nd.
C to F is a perfect 4th, C to F# is an augmented 4th.

A diminished interval is one semitone smaller than a minor or perfect interval.
Eg. C to G is a perfect 5th, C to Gb is a diminished 5th.

This may help:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/intervals.html
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Sep 5, 2009,
#11
Quote by Thepredster
Each post both helps clears thing up and yet creates more questions.


This is where time & a structured approach guided by someone with experience really makes a difference.


I would suggest that if you were formally studying this, through a book and/or from a teacher, you would eventually have the foundation with which to come to places like this and ask specific questions that are answerable in a forum thread.

Teaching a person with absolutely no experience everything there is to know about theory in a forum thread is simply not realistic. This is something you learn over time (years not days), starting from the beginning and building on each step.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Sep 5, 2009,
#12
Quote by Thepredster
Each post both helps clears thing up and yet creates more questions. I now understand major/minor 2nd&3rds but perfect 4ths tritone then 5th?
A "normal" fourth (or perfect fourth) is 5 half-steps up from the root. A perfect fifth is 7 half-steps up from the root.

To clear a few things up, so I can explain this better; a major triad (basic major chord) has 1, 3, and 5 (root, major third, perfect fifth). There's no such thing as a major or minor fourth or fifth because a fourth is a fourth and a fifth is a fifth whether it's in a major or minor chord. Fourths aren't in basic major or minor triads, but a sus4 chord replaces the third with a fourth (so, 1 4 5). There are also sus2 chords, which, as you may be able to guess, go 1, 2, 5. That's just a side note though.

Ok, so now I'll explain the tritone to you. Let's take a diminished chord. The word diminished has essentially the same meaning as "flat" or "minor," meaning it lowers the note one half-step (except in diminished 7ths, which I'll talk about). So, what defines a diminished chord is its minor third and diminished fifth (and the root, obviously). Diminished chords also usually have a diminished 7th, which as I explained in my first post are a bb7 (and something interesting about this is when there is a diminished chord which has the seventh, the chord notes are all a minor third apart, which create really cool, dissonant harmony). That's just a side note though. Continuing, the diminished fifth is a tritone, meaning that it is three whole tones (six half-steps, or frets) above the root (hence the name tri-tone). Another side-note, which is similar to the last thing that I said, two tritone intervals make up an octave (a tritone is half-way in between the root and the octave).

The word "augmented" is similar to the word "sharp," meaning you move the note up a half-step. An augmented chord is 1 3 #5. This is similar to the diminished 7th chord in the aspect that the chord notes are all equally spaced apart (a major third apart, contrasting the diminished 7th's minor thirds). There are augmented chords in the beginning of "Calgone" by Incubus, and in the bass break in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Iron Maiden. They both happen to be arpeggios played by the bass.

"Now," you say, "you mentioned an augmented fourth also being a tritone?" Yes, an augmented fourth is also a tritone. "So, why aren't they both called the same thing?" Well, there are some chords/scales that have a perfect fifth and a tritone. You can't have a perfect fifth and a diminished fifth, it just doesn't work that way, just like you can't have a major third and a minor third. Here are a few examples of an augmented fourth: There are these things called modes (don't try to understand them yet, it will either confuse you or you'll learn it wrong), and one of them is called the Lydian mode. It's similar to the major scale (if you want to look at it this way for now) except it has an augmented fourth. This means that you can look at a major scale (1 2 3 4 5 6 7) and imagine the fourth being a half step up (1 2 3 #4 5 6 7). This makes it easy to understand that there's a reason it's an augmented fourth and not a diminished fifth, because there's already a fifth (perfect fifth) but no other kind of fourth, so it must mean that that tritone in there is an augmented fourth.

Another example is this chord in "Venice Queen" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in the "second half of the song" as I call it. The song kind of stops and then an acoustic guitar comes in, alternating between an Em and this type of C chord which I've only recently discovered to be a Cmaj9#11 (Cmaj9 [1 3 5 7 9] with a #11 [which is an augmented fourth an octave up]). The reason it's an augmented fourth, exactly like the previous example, is because there's already a perfect fifth. There are other chords with a #11 in them, but this is the only example I've seen.

Quote by Thepredster
So between a major 3rd and a minor 6th its called something different?
Huh?

Quote by Thepredster
Notation like (b3) means the third minor including root note im guessing.
Yeah b3 means minor third.

So, if there's anything you still don't understand, feel free to ask. That's a lot of new information that I just threw at you. I'd recommend stickying this thread for yourself so that you can refer to it later.


Edit: Holy huge post, Batman.
I apologize for writing a novel for you to read. I get excited about teaching people **** about theory.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Sep 5, 2009,
#13
At GuitarMunky- I've actually taken notes on many of these posts in my school notebook so I can look over them in class when I'm done with my work. If it does take yrs then I'll try and stick it out with help from UG. I understand trying to teach and learn this on forums/the internet is alot to ask from both me & UG members. But the fact that I'm doing this on a PS3 since I have no working comp I think shows I really want to get something from it. Its rare I have this kind of passion & desire to learn & get better. The only other thing I can think of with this type of passion is videogame, mainly fighting games in regard to getting better.

At food1010-THX! FOR EVERYTHING MAN!. I need to reread it a couple times so I can make an appropriate question. But to answer your question of "huh"(^_^) I was asking that after you left major 3rd you started calling it perfect and tritones then back to calling it major/minor. What I was asking is it called that for a reason or its just same thing but with different name.
Last edited by Thepredster at Sep 5, 2009,
#14
gosh typing on ps3 takes a long time. timed at 20plus min *exhausted.&.hungry.and.leaves.to.get.a.donut*
#15
Quote by Thepredster
At food1010-THX! FOR EVERYTHING MAN!. I need to reread it a couple times so I can make an appropriate question. But to answer your question of "huh"(^_^) I was asking that after you left major 3rd you started calling it perfect and tritones then back to calling it major/minor. What I was asking is it called that for a reason or its just same thing but with different name.
Ah, I got you. Well, the way I see it, if it can't be called major or minor, then it has equal relation to both major chords and minor chords. Take a major scale and a natural minor scale (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 vs. 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7) and look at the ones that don't change (1, 2, 4, and 5). Well, the root can't change, so cross that out. Skip over the 2 for now, this is kind of an exception. The 4 and the 5 are the same, so they're just "natural." Ok, now let's come back to the 2. If you look at the chart on this link that says "Intervals in the modal scales," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_mode#Modern) you'll see that there are only two modes that have a minor 2, but if you read the sentence below, it says that they are both minor modes; none of the major modes have the minor 2.

That's the way I look at it.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#16
"Eb (or D#) is the minor third (b3), sharp 2 (#2, or +2) or sharp 9 (#9, or +9), the third note in any major scale.
E is the major third (3), the third note in any major scale."

Is that a messup? You said the same thing twice. If not elaborate.

"There's no such thing as a major or minor fourth or fifth because a fourth is a fourth and a fifth is a fifth whether it's in a major or minor chord"

what does that mean? It can be called a diminish but not a minor? If it wasnt a major/minor chord, would the same apply?

Also major 3rds perfects 4ths and fifths & whatnot are measured in semitones always right? So in your example of C if it was in B it would be alot more sharps and flats in the majors and perfects right?

How bout you sticky this to xD. I might bounce the subject round if thats cool or should I make another thread on scales & argeppeggio and whatever else I get to next.