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I know that each major KEY has it's relative minor KEY (made up of several minor Chords). I was curious about that relationship. On the Circle of Fifths, it shows the relative minor tied to a specific note or chord e.g., C=Am; D=Bm, etc. Will any relative minor work in any given key or are they more closely related to the specific note. I'm sure there is overlap in other keys. Sorry if my question is confusing- clearly I don't have a clear understanding how it works. I'm still learning and the more I learn, the more I realize how very little I know!

Thanks!
Step 1 - ignore the circle of Fifths for now!  The relationship between different keys is too advanced for now. Most popular songs, nearly all of them, really only have one key per song.

Step 2 - learn the C major scale, it's intervals,  and learn it harmonized in triads ( you play one chord per note) . Learn the abstract construction of the major scale as well ( I, II, II, IV, V, VI, VII ) The 6th degree of the major scale is always the relative minor of that key ( and only that key!).  So for C it's Aminor.  For the key of G it's Eminor.

It's important tor really focus on one key first so that you can get it ( in the end every key works the exact same way in the abstract).  A minor has all the same notes as Cmajor, however, the intervals starting from the root are different and that's what's important. So when you play Aminor - it sounds like the minor scale - that's all because of the intervals of the notes in relation to the note A ( minor 3rd etc.).
Thanks Ren- that is very helpful and mostly answers my question.  I will take your advice and focus on C for now.  I have begun to learn the intervals and I took lessons for a while so I have some fundamental understanding.

So if play in the key of C(I), F (IV), G(V) would it still sound good if I played a Dm but not the F.  In other words are the minors directly tied to the major chord or notes or can I use them anyway as long as I'm in that key.  Will it sound good if I play the relative minor but not the major?  I know in the Key, e.g., C, I have to play C because that is the root.  The reason I ask is because I have a chord book that shows the direct relationship between Major and Minor chords in the key of C.  It shows C is Am); F is Dm and  G is E.

Thanks.
Quote by Stratman1011
So if play in the key of C(I), F (IV), G(V) would it still sound good if I played a Dm but not the F.

You should answer questions like that (will it sound good?) by playing it and listening.

It may be helpful to get a few terms straight as you look into these things...

Scales have tonics (the tonic of the C major scale is C)
Notes in scales have degrees (the scale degree of F in the C scale is 4)
* what you are calling intervals is most likely just scale degrees - intervals are more complicated
Chords have roots (the root of a C major chord is C)
Music scores, songs, and progressions have keys

If you keep straight the meaning of tonics, degrees, roots, and keys, that will help you in your study.
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I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
PlusPaul Thanks Paul- that helps a lot.  I appreciate your first comment which seems obvious- but not so much.  At present, I am unable to play.  Because of this I am taking this opportunity to dive deeper into the theory.  Hopefully I'll be back and strumming soon.

Your tips and insights about the terms are accurate and helpful.  I'm finding it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  I'm connecting many of the pieces but there is just so much to learn.  I've been watching a lot of YouTube instructor videos which help but they are very random.  I should probably start back up with lessons at some point.  I can play decent- know all 5 positions of the Pentatonic (can link them mostly effortlessly).  I'm coming along but as you implied- I have a looooong way to go- having fun though and that's what it's all about.  I'm not looking to be Eddie VH- just have fun with it.
Is GT stealing our MT topics? D: jk people here know their stuff.

To simplify this all down to something that might or might not be easier to understand (reverb also talked about this a bit) - a key means that the composition of a song revolves around a certain note. As you might know, we have twelve notes in western music theory. If we pick the note C, and make that our tonic, all the remaining 11 notes are defined by C. For example, if our tonic was E, the note F# would sound just fine. But in the key of C, F# would sound very striking and dissonant. You can think of all of the notes as different levels of tension. C is the point of zero tension, E and A are very mild tension, B would be pretty high tension etc etc, and when you write music in a key, you raise the tension systematically to make the song interesting and exciting, while resolving it all in the end back to C.

And one other thing, if you play A minor over C major, it's just C major. Since all of the functions are based on C, and Am and Cmaj have the same notes, all of the notes simply sound the same. There are no strict rules as to what you can play, even if you play non-diatonic notes (notes that are traditionally thought of as "out of key") they can still sound cool, they just usually create much more tension than the diatonic notes. But the song is still in C major, if you resolve everything back to C and treat it as the "home note" in the composition.

I hope this helps, just tried to give you a less numbers-and-formulae type of explanation that you could understand via sound only.
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Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here

That's actually a really good explanation.
Apart from digging through the canonical music theory, the concept of "key" is one of the most difficult and illusive; it's one of those things that experienced musicians tend to "just know" but usually have long forgotten the means by which they know, and rarely can explain it well, even more so now days with mainstream music continuing the long musical tradition of "breaking the rules".
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
Thank you very much.  You captured what I was trying to say and made it easy to understand.  You know your stuff!
PlusPaul Thanks and it is true- tube amps are required in TX!
Thread was moved to forum: Musician Talk
Actually called Mark!

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Do you know these scales?
- major
- harmonic minor
- melodic minor

If the answer is yes, then try building triads using ONLY the notes from each of these scales. You will notice that, from each scale, you can only come up with four different triads: major, minor, diminished and augmented.

Major:
major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.

Harmonic minor:
minor, diminished, augmented, minor, major, major, diminished

Melodic minor:
minor, minor, augmented, major, major, diminished, diminished

( Melodic minor descends as "natural":
major, major, minor, minor, major, diminished, minor )

Guitar is actually a great instrument for understanding these relationships since generally speaking you change key by just moving your set of chords on a different fret. As long as you recognize that you're only using notes from your chosen scale, you're on the right track.

If you want to write these scales or triads out in a certain key or scale, make sure your thirds are thirds, not seconds or fourths. The chosen letter matters.
Like: A-major would be A C# E (third and third) and NOT A Db E (fourth and second). A-major scale is A B C# D E F# G# A, not A B Db D E F# Ab.

The corresponding minor to a major is, as you've figured out, rooted in a minor third below the tonic of your major. Notation-wise the corresponding minor will share the key signature with its major... although harmonic and melodic majors will require accidential sharps and flats in notation.

Sometimes, if your key signature requires a lot of sharps or flats, you will have to resort to double-sharps and double-flats during the notation or writing down the chords in order to maintain the correct structure in writing.

Hey, by the way... note that the fifth chord in each of these (except descending melodic) is a major.
Last edited by Jerryteacup at May 15, 2017,
Jerryteacup Thanks Jerry.  That's a great answer from a clear expert.  Admittedly, I comprehended about ~50% of what you said!  Your information however  will help me in the future to solve this guitar puzzle as I slowly continue to put the pieces together.  It's a complex but equally fun journey.  I have the Pentatonic down- all 5 patterns and now I am starting to learn all the keys in order starting with E.  I'm starting to recognize a lot more patterns- it's really all just math and relationships.  I always played most of the chords but I had no idea WHAT I was playing.  It's funny, now when I play correctly, I'm starting to hear the semblance of several songs as I practice.  I believe that I am onto something!  Thanks again to you and everyone in here for- as the Eagles would say lighting those candles and showing this rookie the way- Bm.
Glad if that helped any. I can attempt to decrypt some of that if you will.

Just remember that keys and scales are different things although they, as everything else, are intervowen especially when you play with other musicians.
Jerryteacup Thanks.  Everything helps so by all means encrypt away.  You are welcome to email me privately in case others alreay know all this- I don't want to hijack the thread but appreciate all your great tips!

My understanding is chords are based on the root note with usually 2-4 notes added to it.  Using a fret board map to identify every note, I am in the process of identifying where the root notes repeat within the chord structure or where the tonic reappears within the Penta scales.  In chords, I am finding the note that names the chord usually exists in 1-2 locations.  When soloing, I am trying to emphasize the tonic note (rest on them or bend them, etc.).  It just seems to sound better.  As much as I like theory- I don't want to play in a correct but sterile fashion.  I want to be expressive and play with feeling but that will come over time.  I am slowly starting to develop my ear.  SRV once said something to the effect that he had no idea what he was playing- he just played what he felt.  He said that others would write out and transpose his songs.  They told him what he was playing, etc., and he would just play.  Since I'm no SRV, I'll try to learn as much as I can and play the best I can.

I have a useful chord book that shows the relative minor on the opposite page and 4 options for playing each major and minor chord.  I am figuring out the fingering that is easiest for me.  Once I get all the Keys down, I will add other fingerings so my sound is more dynamic.  I am also paying attention to the location of the other chords so that I can stay nearby- allows me to change chords more quickly.  I'm realizing the chords are all over the fretboard- I just have to find them.  Eventually I'll learn how to play the scales in different positions.  For now, I am very limited e.g, Em Penta I play at the first position near nut and at 12.  For other minor penta, I find the root on the low 6th string and start my 1-4; 1-4; 1-3; 1-3; 1-4; 1-4 from there.  I've looked at modes but haven't gone there yet.  There is just so much to learn and I want to get a good foundation down before moving on.
Minor point on jerryteacups post: the concept of descending melodic minor doesn't really have any relevance in modern music. Melodic minor scale, when used in a genre like jazz, is just a natural minor with a raised sixth and seventh - both ascending and descending.

To Stratman - stressing the tonic of course sounds good, but so should stressing the third or the fifth. The third especially is a popular melody note.

There's something funny about your pentatonic fingering though, shouldn't the second string you play be 1-3, not 1-4? If I understood your notes right.

Using chord fingerings that are nearby each other is a good idea - they're both easier to play and sound better that way. Also, getting a good foundation is the way to go, learning your basic chords and scales first and thriving to understand them is what you should do before you even think about modes or other more advanced concepts.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
Thanks- and yes, I meant 1-4, 1-3...1-3...  I have to learn the #'s more.  For now I am focusing on the I, IV, V's and their minors because they seem to be the most popular and all the books emphasize them.  I didn't know the 3'rd and 5th's and 7's were as commonly used.  I play mostly simple melodies and some basic rock.  Jazz and more advanced music is a whole other world that I am yet to explore.
A key implies two things:   1) a scale of some sort and  2) a starting note at which the scale is rooted.  Hence you can have a key of C (lazily meaning C major), or C Aeolian (meaning one particular type of minor scale), or C minor (which can mean different things to different folks).

In reality, the note names are pretty meaningless, as far as your hearing and brain are are concerned.  Omitting a shed load of detail, and simplifying, the brain detects "distances" between sounds.  So for example, two notes, 5 semitones apart, produces a particular sound "flavour" (E and A,   F and Bb, etc), just higher of lower, whereas 3 semitones apart sounds completely different (E and G, F and Ab ...).  For us Westeners, we have grown use to recognising 12 different "distances", and octaves thereof.

A scale formula (or chord formula), is spelling out a set of such distances, between some chosen note, and hence all the other ones found at those distances.

When you write a music in a key such as C major, this means take the scale pattern (1 2 3 4 5 6 7)  [meaning distances in semitones of 0,2,4,5,7,9,11 from some start note coincident with 0), and apply it in this case from some C.

This gives you a palette of notes to utilise (mostly or entirely) for the tune  (ignoring key changes).  Then chords can be built from that palette ... starting with the basic triads.  A really simple way to think of this is something I call the "choose, skip... rule".  Write down the scale notes twice ...

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B

Choose any note in the left hand block ... (e.g.D).  Skip the next (so, skip E), Choose the next (F), skip G, choose A.   Gives you the triad D,F,A..

You could continue this (so skip B, choose C), and now you have built a seventh chord (in this case Dm7).  Keep going (skip D, choose E), now you have a ninth (Dm9) and so on.

If you look at Dm7, we have D,F,A,C.   If you started the choose-skip from F, for the triad, you'd get D (skip E) F (skip G) C.   FAC.  Which is a major triad.  So you can see that the bigger chord (Dm7) has a smaller chord in it (F), and also plain Dm.  So, you can have two instruments, one play Dm, the other play F triad, and they'll combine to give you the overall sound of the m7 chord.

Look at the V chord (G B D) ... one note in common with the C triad (the G).  The other 2 notes both pull towards the tonal centre, the note C.  Make the V a 7 chord (G B D F), and then you get the extra pull of the F (the 4 of the key) to E (the 3 of the key, the 3rd of the C triad) ... hence a big anticipation for C to follow G7.

The name of the game is to create anticipations, and satisfy them (not always, and not always immediately).

C G7 C... immediate
C G7 Am F C.    Delayed resolution to C.  Got close with Am.  Veered off with F (teaser) then satisfied the anticipation finally.
C G7 Am Em ,,,  Seems like this isn't going to go where we expected.  Anticpation hs not been satisfied.

This all allows energy to ebb and flow ... ebbs as we get back to the tonic triad, and flows as we move from it.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 15, 2017,
Wow- thanks for all that great info.  I am going to read through it several times so it can all sink in.  The tips about Triads was super useful.  I listened to your Soundcloud music- sounds great.  I especially like the emuso theme.  Parts of it remind me of Down in a Hole by AIice in Chains.  Heavy, yet slow and deliberate.  I understand what you mean by anticipation.  You made a great decision to sell that rusty old bike!  Thanks again!
Kevätuhri, you have a point in your comment to me about melodic minor, but it's still a valid lead-in... admittedly in the alley of pop and rock in my context.

This basic classical stuff comes up in a surprising frequency especially considering that, the people producing the music don't necessarily even have the written theory knowledge. Tends to naturally gravitate that way.

Jazz is, I admit, rather advanced to me. While aesthetically pleasing to me, I can't seem to approach it. I've been meaning to take lessons on that for some time.
Jerryteacup

When it comes to melodic minor, it's rarely the basis of harmony. And the ascending/descending stuff doesn't really have to do with chord progressions. It has more to do with the direction of the melody. Typically the leading tone just "wants" to resolve up, so descending melodies that use the leading tone are not that common, and that's where the "descending melodic minor is natural minor" thing comes from. But even then, there are examples of "ascending melodic minor" used in descending melodies.

At around 0:10...

At around 0:35...

0:17...

And this is why I find the whole theory about there being ascending and descending melodic minor kind of useless. Yeah, it's true that descending melodies do tend to favor natural minor, but I don't know why it needs to be called "descending melodic minor". Also, the whole thing about there being three different minor scales is a bit misleading. They aren't really different scales. I would say they are just different ways the minor key behaves. When you want to add tension and resolve it, you use the leading tone and resolve it up to the tonic (harmonic minor). If you have an ascending melody that implies dominant function, you use melodic minor to avoid the augmented second between the 6th and 7th scale degrees. If there is no dominant function, there's no need to use the leading tone either so you just use the natural minor. (And these are obviously just simplifications/generalizations.) They are all connected, not separate things, and many pieces in minor keys use all of them, depending on the context.
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My chosen terminology is bad at the "descending melodic minor", I'll give you that. I admittedly tried to explain too much with it. We both know how the thing supposedly behaves so you know what I was getting at. You probably understand the concept more comprehensively than I do.

I'm not saying and hopefully not even implying that what I presented is the only approach and I am not arguing against you. I'm pretty sure if we've all sat through years of theory classes, we've seen how the given "rules" gradually start bending. Music theory doesn't tell you to do s--t, it merely describes what you're doing. I personally found that damn frustrating sometimes (Later the damn teacher told me music theory is pointless).

However, what I presented - as much as is tends to be thrown out of the window these days - is merely something I've found very helpful in learning pieces of music of various genres, for various purposes and understanding why chord patterns are what they are, as basic as it may be. It's not be all end all to me, either, but it helps me predict what might happen next and offers a nice propeller for more advanced things that I have a limited understanding of. That's why I gave it.

You could surely educate me and I would accept that, but our exchange is probably not very useful for Stratman1011 right now.
Quote by Stratman1011
Thanks- and yes, I meant 1-4, 1-3...1-3...  I have to learn the #'s more.  For now I am focusing on the I, IV, V's and their minors because they seem to be the most popular and all the books emphasize them.  I didn't know the 3'rd and 5th's and 7's were as commonly used.  I play mostly simple melodies and some basic rock.  Jazz and more advanced music is a whole other world that I am yet to explore.

Be careful with your use of numbers!

Roman numerals are used mainly for chord progressions, and "I" always refers to the key chord or tonal centre - the other numbers being the scale degree of the chord root.  So, in key of C major, C is I, F is IV, G is V.  You're quite right that I IV and V chords are the basis of countless pop/rock songs, because between them they contain every note of the scale, so any melody can always be harmonised with one of those three chords.
Every major key also has three minor chords (this is probably repeating earlier advice): numbered ii, iii and vi - lower case for minor.  In C major, these chords are Dm, Em and Am.  Am is the most common by far, so 1000s of songs contain various permutations of I, IV, V and vi.  (In G major, that would be G C D Em.  In A major it would be A D E F#m.  Etc.)

That's major keys. Minor keys are a little more complex, because they commonly feature scale alterations (the harmonic and melodic minor mentioned above).  So the key of A minor begins as Am Dm Em (the i, iv and v counted from A).  But normally the Em is changed to E major, to make the "cadence" to the tonic (Am) stronger.  Compare the sound of Em-Am with E-Am.
The key of A minor can also contain C, F and G chords, but they will be used less often, because their "major" quality can tend to overwhelm the more subtle sounds of the minors - they will easily draw the ear back to hearing C as key chord.

When it comes to arabic numbers - 1-2-3 etc - they are used for chord tones and extensions.  (And also for frets and fingering, but try to avoid that when talking theory of scales, keys and chords.)
So when we say "3rds and 5ths", we mean the two other chord tones aside from the root, that occur in every chord.  (Every chord that isn't a sus or power chord, that is.)  E.g., in a C major chord, the notes E and G are the 3rd and 5th.  In an Am chord, the notes C and E are 3rd and 5th.
The 3rd of the chord is what makes it major or minor.  C-E = 4 half-steps, or major. A-C = 3 half-steps, or minor. (The words just mean "bigger" and "smaller".)

Any chord can have a 7th added (almost all chords in jazz have 7ths).  It's the same principle of adding alternate scale steps up from the root (1-3-5-7 etc).  As with 3rds there are two kinds of 7th, a bigger (major) and smaller (minor) one.

"G7" = G B D F.  G-F is the smaller "minor" 7th.
"Gmaj7" = G B D F#. G-F# is the larger "major" 7th.

The complication here is that there is a 3rd and 7th in each chord, and each one can be major or minor.  So we have a shorthand convention to distinguish between the four possible combinations.   The default is "major 3rd and minor 7th".  Minor 3rds and major 7ths are indicated in the symbol.  So:

G major 3rd minor 7th = "G7" (default in both cases)  G B D F
G major 3rd major 7th = "Gmaj7".  "maj" means the raised 7th.  3rd is default.  G B D F#
G minor 3rd minor 7th = "Gm7".  "m" means the lowered 3rd.  7th is default. G Bb D F
G minor 3rd major 7th = "Gm(maj7). Both altered from default. G Bb D F#

All four have a "perfect 5th" (D), so we take that for granted.  If the 5th is altered, that's when you see "b5" or "#5" in a chord symbol.

Of course, if jazz is not your thing, you needn't worry about 7ths too much - as long as you know the shape for any 7th chord  you happen to see in rock, you don't need to know the theory behind it.
Last edited by jonriley64 at May 16, 2017,
jonriley64 Wow- thank you.  This is a great forum- I feel very lucky and to have found so many talented people willing to share their knowledge.  THANK YOU!
Jerryteacup Actually I am learning a lot from everyone.  Music, like art is subjective so there is no right and wrong- especially when it comes to Rock N Roll.  Understanding some of theory is a little intimidating but also very helpful.  I think it will click- eventually.
Yah, it just tends to follow certain patterns, if not exactly.
Jerryteacup, I edited your first post, as "A Db E" is a fourth and second, fyi

jerrykramskoy, C G7 Am F C: deceptive cadence, then plagal cadence, just giving the names to your approach

jonriley64
G major 3rd minor 7th = "G7" (default in both cases) G B D F
G major 3rd major 7th = "Gmaj7". "maj" means the raised 7th. 3rd is default. G B D F#

The names are based on the major or minor chord and then the seventh, not specifically the third. The fifth is assumed to be perfect for stability.

major (chord) minor 7th = dominant 7th, usually written with the appended "7".

Its use stems from pretty much the dawn of tonal harmony
V7 -> I (major)
V7 -> i (minor)

(dominant refers to the dominant chord, V. "Tonic" from here on out will refer to the key note. Tonic chord will refer to the chord associated with the key note, whether major or minor)
The unstable tritone between the major third and minor 7 in the V7 chord makes the push towards resolution stronger. The third in the V7 chord is the leading tone upward to the overall tonic. The minor 7 pushes downward towards the third within the tonic chord, which it can do by step (instead of by leap(ing over notes within the parent/tonic scale)).

major (chord) major 7th = major 7th
minor (chord) major 7th = minor, major 7th

The only thing that is altered is the major 7th associated with the minor chord. I think your framework assumes that everything derives from the major scale; major and minor scales are two separate things, however. Major 7th chords are more frequently associated with jazz, which does not treat the 1 and 7 in combination as a dissonance, and minor major 7ths, with their embedded augmented nature (Eb-B within Cm(maj7)), are very temporary in nature, regardless of genre
NeoMvsEU is a mod? Cool. And yeah, my bad. Certain consistency is good.
Jerryteacup, yep! You can just write "Neo" instead, most of the other users with "Neo" in their names have left for good or bad, and the caps/letter choice isn't the most friendly to use otherwise btw
Stratman1011 Glad you like my music.  Mind you, helps having the occasional partner in crime in the form of Gary Moore's keyboard player (until Gary's Demise) ... Vic Martin.

If you're interested, we are roughly 2-3 weeks away from publicly releasing the emuso software, for further trials and early access, once I've finished wading through the pain of the Data Protection Act, payment gateways, shopping carts, EU VAT per member state, and software licensing management, and other  IT pain that has nothing to do with music, but are all a necessary evil to satisfy the very strict rules in the UK (EU).

emuso has a set of tools that can help you with all this stuff about music constructs and concepts, in a fraction of the time it takes for me to write, with no music notation and little mention of note names.
Quote by NeoMvsEu
jonriley64

The names are based on the major or minor chord and then the seventh, not specifically the third. The fifth is assumed to be perfect for stability.

Yes, but that means that the term "major" and "minor" apply, essentially, to the 3rd interval, seeing as that's the only difference between the triads. The size of that interval (assuming P5) defines the chord, not vice versa.

"Major" and "minor" refer to intervals in the first instance, because they simply mean "larger" and "smaller" out of two choices.  Hence their application to 2nds, 3rds, 6ths and 7ths.

When the 5th of a chord is diminished or augmented, that's a more significant effect, so the chords in question are called "diminished" or "augmented" (ie named after he 5th).  Their respective 3rds are always minor in the first case and major in the second.

When it comes to "major and minor" scales, they're also named after their 3rds.  The intervals of a major scale happen to be all major or perfect, but minor scales have a mixture of major and minor.  The 3rd is the only consistently minor interval in all minor scales.

A "major mode" is one with a major 3rd.  A "minor mode" is one with a minor 3rd.

At least, this is the way the terminology all makes sense to me!  (Intervals first, chords and scales second.)
Quote by NeoMvsEu
The only thing that is altered is the major 7th associated with the minor chord. I think your framework assumes that everything derives from the major scale

Not so.
If everything were to derive from the major scale, one would need to explain why "C7" is not C E G B.
If one were to look for a scale that seems to be the basis of chord symbol shorthand, it would be mixolydian mode of the root (everything major or perfect except for the minor 7th).
But that's not the case either.  The shorthand simply derives from the most common chord forms and extensions used in practice: a system that gives the commonest chords the shortest names, so they're easier and quicker to write out.

Minor 7th intervals are more common than major 7ths, so the plain "7" refers to the former; "maj" being added for the latter.
It's likewise assumed that major 3rds are primary (although in fact the diatonic sale has more minor 3rds), so they are not mentioned in the symbol.  "G" means a G major chord.  When the chord (triad) is minor, "m" or "min" is added, to indicate that - in effect - the "default" major 3rd has been "altered" to minor.

"G7" therefore, indicates the most common combination of triad and 7th - major 3rd and minor 7th assumed.  "Gm(maj7)" the rarest, showing the changes to both 3rd and 7th.  (P5 obviously assumed in both cases too.)

As above, this seems to me the simplest and most straightforward way of making sense of the terminology.
Last edited by jonriley64 at May 17, 2017,
jonriley64 Chord and scale formulas are simply interval collections, as you say.   Their names are shorthand to avoid having to say the interval collections.
Intervals first, the rest afterwards!  (Plus of course, there are implied octaves of any of these intervals, if wanted ... and this is I where I think the naming of some intervals becomes way too pedantic (9 etc) as these days the "9" is as likely to get played as 2 in a cluster, and so on. BUT ... it is what it is.
jerrykramskoy Yes, very much.  You are very talented and your music has depth.  It must have been great to play with Vic.  I'll keep an eye out for that software- sounds like a big project.
Stratman1011 Vic's a great friend ... he's touring currently (Europe) with Henrik Freischlader.   I came up with a concept for teaching harmony way back (2001?) to beginners, which everyone I showed understood pretty much immediately. That was a favour to a friend.  Since then, I wrote a book based on that, and then back in 2007(?) started tinkering around with prototypes, and started a company back in 2013 to do this for real.  Looking forward to when it goes out the door.  There's nothing like this out there (I've been involved in cutting edge technology for a long time)

Thanks for you r kind words!
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 17, 2017,
Sounds amazing- anytime and thanks again.
Quote by jonriley64
Not so.
If everything were to derive from the major scale, one would need to explain why "C7" is not C E G B.
I already did, if indirectly. Dominant 7th usage, as the name suggests, predates major 7th usage by at least two centuries for the reasons given in my first post - function. Just because sevenths are ubiquitous in jazz does not mean that there were no prescriptions against them beforehand.
Minor 7th intervals are more common than major 7ths, so the plain "7" refers to the former; "maj" being added for the latter.

It's likewise assumed that major 3rds are primary (although in fact the diatonic sale has more minor 3rds), so they are not mentioned in the symbol.  "G" means a G major chord.  When the chord (triad) is minor, "m" or "min" is added, to indicate that - in effect - the "default" major 3rd has been "altered" to minor.
People use "M' for major chords and 7ths too.
"G7" therefore, indicates the most common combination of triad and 7th - major 3rd and minor 7th assumed.  "Gm(maj7)" the rarest, showing the changes to both 3rd and 7th.  (P5 obviously assumed in both cases too.)

As above, this seems to me the simplest and most straightforward way of making sense of the terminology.

(Intervals first, chords and scales second.)
I mostly agree with this in theory, but in practice I do everything at almost the same time
Quote by NeoMvsEu
I already did, if indirectly. Dominant 7th usage, as the name suggests, predates major 7th usage by at least two centuries for the reasons given in my first post - function. Just because sevenths are ubiquitous in jazz does not mean that there were no prescriptions against them beforehand.

Sure, but that's not my point.   I'm aware dominant 7ths are a lot older than major 7ths, as well as more common.  I'm talking about chord symbol terminology:  how to explain the shorthand.  My point is we don't need to invoke history, we only need to consider the most common chord forms in contemporary music.  The diatonic scale contains five minor 7th intervals and two major 7ths.  So - regardless of history - it's obvious if we want a shorthand for distinguishing 7ths in chords, we're going to use "7" for the more common kind.  (AFAIK, classically, "I7" and IV7" would mean major 7th chords, because diatonic notes are assumed.  That's a different system.)
jonriley64
(AFAIK, classically, "I7" and IV7" would mean major 7th chords, because diatonic notes are assumed. That's a different system.)
No.

My point is we don't need to invoke history
But the notation is rooted in history. Extrapolating from the present yields inaccurate results. They are all equally old, but the history behind tonal harmony is why the dominant chord, and not the other seventh chords, are so commonly used. It's function, not form.

Just conveniently discarding the 300 years before to fit a viewpoint is not good scholarship and may lead to erroneous claims.
Quote by NeoMvsEu
People use "M' for major chords and 7ths too.

They use "M" to indicate the triad?  Do you have examples?
TBH, I think "M" for "maj7" is a bad idea anyway (too easily confused with "m" for minor); and "M" for a triad is plain redundant.  As well as confusing if you then add a "7".  I.e., if "GM" means a G  major trad, it looks like "GM7" would mean G7 (dom7).  Do these people then use GMM7 for Gmaj7?  (Logical, obviously, but definitely inconventional IME.)

The conventional system of G, G7, Gmaj7, Gm7, Gm(maj7) is clear enough - yes?  (Context would always say whether "G" meant the note or the chord.)

Quote by NeoMvsEu