whats the difference between major/minor and sharp/flat?
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from a purely sonic point of view a major chord (basically A, E, D, B etc) sounds happy, or at least not melancholy
a minor chord (Am, Dm, Em etc) sounds kind of sad and darker

thats what my music teacher in school said anyway

if you compare an Am to an A or a Dm to a D you'll hear the difference
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major has a normal 3rd in a scale, minor (well a meodic minor) has a flat third. a sharp is a half-step above a certain note e.g. c sharp (written C#) and a flat is half a step below e.g. C flat (Cb). also a B# is the same as a Cb, and a C# is the same as a Db, there will be some better lessons somewhere on the site explaining the very basics of scales.
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B# is not the same as Cb.

B# has the same pitch as C, and Cb has the same pitch as B
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All right, I'll take a stab at this.

Basic answer: Major chords sound happy, minor chords sound sad.

Longer answer.

There are twelve notes: A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

Note the lack of B# and E#.

The difference between two notes next to each other is a half step, and is equal to one fret on a guitar. Two half steps = a whole step

You can also name the notes with a sharp after them, such as C#, the note above them, with a flat sign after it, ie Db.

Now. Almost all music follows a scale, such as C major.

The notes of the C major scale are CDEFGAB
The interval between each note goes whole step, whole step, half step, whole, whole, whole, half. All major scales follow this pattern.
It can also be denoted as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (the numbers ALWAYS represent the notes from the major scale)

However, a minor scale is slightly different, it goes whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.
In the key of C, this gives the notes C D Eb F G Ab Bb
This can be denoted as 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

When you form a open chord, you use the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the corresponding scale.

For example, the three notes used to make C major are C E and G (1 3 5)
The three notes used to form C minor are C Eb and G (1 b3 5)

I hope that helped.

This lesson is an excellent introduction to theory. It goes a little deeper than what I've said here, and is probably much easier to understand as well.
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