#1
Ok... Figured I ask this because since ive been trying to figure out some songs by ear I see them more and more, even though theyre not really a sound or style that I enjoy.

Im just wondering musically, why theyre function seems to be so everywhere. I understand theyre easy to play, and that the 1st and 5th go well together, but in lamens term, why is it so appealing to leave the flat 3rd out out of all the minor chords, it sort of confuses me in a music theory sense because youll have 7 different root notes, and 7 different "chords", but nothing in the song that really "sounds" minor to me - its the weirdest thing when i listen to it its just like trying to listen to a really weird bassline

any thoughts?
#2
Well, here's the thing. You don't need triads or extended chords to communicate or imply harmony. Most power chord sequences pretty specifically outline the tonality.

If you want to go to my band's page and listen to ... "Oxidation" it's all power chords...but it's pretty obviously and clearly in F#m...the sum of power chords still gives you an overall key/scale.

The appeal is...the more and more you overdrive a guitar the louder the overtones get. This causes things to become extremely muddy if you're playing full chords, and even worse with extended chords (generally). So historically people started dropping the third, because it was making shit muddy. It's just evolved from there on.

Not that it's wholly relevant, but some people argue that a really distorted power chord has somewhat of a major tonality, because all overtones are so loud (the major third is the 5th overtone of a note).
#3
Quote by chronowarp
Well, here's the thing. You don't need triads or extended chords to communicate or imply harmony. Most power chord sequences pretty specifically outline the tonality.

If you want to go to my band's page and listen to ... "Oxidation" it's all power chords...but it's pretty obviously and clearly in F#m...the sum of power chords still gives you an overall key/scale.

The appeal is...the more and more you overdrive a guitar the louder the overtones get. This causes things to become extremely muddy if you're playing full chords, and even worse with extended chords (generally). So historically people started dropping the third, because it was making shit muddy. It's just evolved from there on.

Not that it's wholly relevant, but some people argue that a really distorted power chord has somewhat of a major tonality, because all overtones are so loud (the major third is the 5th overtone of a note).


thats really neat stuff, its just sometimes I listen to a song, and say its the key of A or whatever, when it gets to the 3rd or the 6th, it doesnt really sound minor to me, and i wasnt sure why this happens so often, theres lots of songs that use 4 or even 5 major chords, but its strange when they always leave out the minor 3rd, but I sort of see what you're saying. Ive just grown to sort of appreciate the iv and the iii lol, and when they leave out the 3rd, I wasnt really sure why they would leave it out :P

thanks for the explanation
#4
Imo, power chords are more like beefed up single notes than they are full on chords. Not that I'm the most musically knowledgable person around though.
Guitars & Gear:
Parker Nitefly M
Sumer Metal Driver
Ibanez RGD2120Z
AMT SS-11B
Two Notes Torpedo CAB
#5
Quote by blunderwonder
Ok... Figured I ask this because since ive been trying to figure out some songs by ear I see them more and more, even though theyre not really a sound or style that I enjoy.

Im just wondering musically, why theyre function seems to be so everywhere. I understand theyre easy to play, and that the 1st and 5th go well together, but in lamens term, why is it so appealing to leave the flat 3rd out out of all the minor chords, it sort of confuses me in a music theory sense because youll have 7 different root notes, and 7 different "chords", but nothing in the song that really "sounds" minor to me - its the weirdest thing when i listen to it its just like trying to listen to a really weird bassline

any thoughts?
Well first, you're leaving both a major and minor third out of all triads when you play a power chord.

A major triad is a major 3rd, then a minor 3rd. A minor triad is a minor 3rd, and THEN a major 3rd.

Power chords are used to eliminate dissonant intervals caused by the generation of intermodulation product, when the 3rd intervals interact with the 1st and/or the 5th, in the presence of distortion generators.

1st and 5ths played.together, generate even harmonic intervals.

For example when a 1st & 3rd mix you produce a 2nd, (or thereabouts), between them. Those are harmonic structures much too dissonant for even metal.
#6
If you ask me, leaving the 3rd out of the power chord sort of cleans up the sound... In say heavy metal for example, there's a lot of noise going on, and if you're playing the whole chord with a 3rd or other extensions on it on EVERY chord, it's gonna sound all "muddy", like chronowarp said.
#7
Major and minor 3rds might be quite consonant in respect to other intervals, but they still generate more tension than perfect fifths.

That's the answer basically.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
(most intelligent)
The "Good Samaritan" Award 2009 (most helpful)

[font="Palatino Linotype
Who's Andy Timmons??