#1
i only have a rudimentary understanding to music theory, but im a little foggy on this topic... according to what a power chord is (root, fifth, octave) does that mean that there can never be a minor power chord??
#2
Yes, power chord is the root and fifth. 1 - 5. It is neither major nor minor and thus it is rather "emotionless".

All the minor and major scale degrees can be played as power chords except for the second in minor and seventh in major. They have to be played with the fifth flattened (half a step lower)

I might add that you can also play minor and major chords the power chord way. And by the power chord way I mean two tones (dyad or whatever they are called). Just instead of the root and the fifth play the root and the third. That's also fairly common in metal these days. That gives you completely functional minor and major chords. The fifth is not a required tone.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Aug 10, 2013,
#3
As I understand it a "power chord" is technically just a dyad. A dyad is a chord with two tones. This is opposed to a triad, which is a chord with three tones (think your major and minor chords). So you could play a power chord with the root and the minor 6th, at the root and the major third and so on. But then you're playing with intervals and dissonance which can get pretty horrible sounding very quickly.

But when I hear people talk about power chords more often than not they're talking about the root and the 5th, which is neither major nor minor and somewhat of a staple in rock music and the like.
#4
^
It's actually spelled "diad", but yes.

Power chords are neither major nor minor, which is why they're so widely used. Also, you don't need an octave note; that's optional. If one was using strictly power chords in a riff/song/etc., then major or minor tonality would be determined by how the riff/song was laid out. For example, any major key uses the following formula generally: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, & vii*. (The upper case roman numerals stand for major chords, the lower case are minor chords, and the * is meant to be a diminished symbol.) Any minor key uses the following formula generally: i, ii*, III, iv, v, VI, & VII. Any chords that are outside of these formulas are referred to as non-diatonic, but we won't get into that really.

So, suppose we want a riff in A major and are using strictly power chords for this riff. A simple progression for this riff would be I, IV, V or A5, D5, E5 -- which we know is major. In A minor, we could switch this to be A5, Db5, Eb5 or i, iv, v.

If you want to know more, I recommend you learn about diatonic chords. Here's a few lessons to do. (I recommend you click on the piano icon in the upper right corner, so you can play the same notes as lessons show.)
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/43
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/44
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/46
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/49
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/50
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 10, 2013,
#6
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
^
It's actually spelled "diad", but yes.

Power chords are neither major nor minor, which is why they're so widely used. Also, you don't need an octave note; that's optional. If one was using strictly power chords in a riff/song/etc., then major or minor tonality would be determined by how the riff/song was laid out. For example, any major key uses the following formula generally: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, & vii*. (The upper case roman numerals stand for major chords, the lower case are minor chords, and the * is meant to be a diminished symbol.) Any minor key uses the following formula generally: i, ii*, III, iv, v, VI, & VII. Any chords that are outside of these formulas are referred to as non-diatonic, but we won't get into that really.

So, suppose we want a riff in A major and are using strictly power chords for this riff. A simple progression for this riff would be I, IV, V or A5, D5, E5 -- which we know is major. In A minor, we could switch this to be A5, Db5, Eb5 or i, iv, v.

If you want to know more, I recommend you learn about diatonic chords. Here's a few lessons to do. (I recommend you click on the piano icon in the upper right corner, so you can play the same notes as lessons show.)
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/43
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/44
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/46
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/49
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/50

What? Db5 and Eb5? Don't you mean D5 and E5? The power chords for I, IV and V (or i, iv and v) in minor and major are same. So if the riff only had those power chords, it would be exactly the same in minor and major. What the other instruments play would determine whether it's in minor or major.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 10, 2013,
#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
What? Db5 and Eb5? Don't you mean D5 and E5? The power chords for I, IV and V (or i, iv and v) in minor and major are same. So if the riff only had those power chords, it would be exactly the same in minor and major. What the other instruments play would determine whether it's in minor or major.

Fucking hell, yes. I apologize, TS. Thanks for catching that.

Here's a better (read: more accurate) example:
If we had a VI-V-I progression in C major, then you could play B5, A5, & C5. If we had a VI-v-i progression in C minor, then you could play Ab5, A5, & C5.

Of course, what the other instruments are playing would still largely determine whether it was major or minor (because one should account for non-diatonic chords). But if you were just playing solo, then the 1st progression would be clearly major and the 2nd clearly minor.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 10, 2013,
#8
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
^
It's actually spelled "diad", but yes.


Haha, you're splitting hairs again!
#9
Quote by Grimm312
Haha, you're splitting hairs again!

Yeah, I tend to do that. It's nothing personal towards you (or anyone else). It's just part of how my mind works.
#10
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Fucking hell, yes. I apologize, TS. Thanks for catching that.

Here's a better (read: more accurate) example:
If we had a VI-V-I progression in C major, then you could play B5, A5, & C5. If we had a VI-v-i progression in C minor, then you could play Ab5, A5, & C5.

Of course, what the other instruments are playing would still largely determine whether it was major or minor (because one should account for non-diatonic chords). But if you were just playing solo, then the 1st progression would be clearly major and the 2nd clearly minor.

Erm, you made a mistake again.

vi-V-I in C major with power chords would be A5-G5-C5 and VI-v-i in C minor would be Ab5-G5-C5.

Get a grip, dude.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 11, 2013,
#12
And also try using other intervals, as well. The Minor 6th is nice, and the flat 5th works well for tension and stuff.

But like I said, this is playing with dissonance, and it's super easy to go over-board and turn your music into a horrible sounding mess.
#13
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Erm, you made a mistake again.

vi-V-I in C major with power chords would be A5-G5-C5 and VI-v-i in C minor would be Ab5-G5-C5.

Get a grip, dude.

Damn it...

Can you tell I'm tired?