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Okay, I'm just BEGINNING to get into theory, and I have a quick question to help me understand this stuff.

I think I understand that if you take a scale, certain chords work with that scale. For example, if you take a Major scale, the chords that work with each interval would be (I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii*). Is this correct, that with scales, certain chords work with that scale?

My next question is this: say you take some weird, rare scale, such as a Persian scale, or Kumoi scale. How do you know what chords will work with such scale?
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Well take a major key, C major just because it's easy

C D E F G A B

build a chord based of the I note, C and you get:
C E G, distance between C and E is major, distance between C and G is a perfect 5th, so you have a 1 3 5 chord, major

For the second chord, based off of D:
D F A
distance from D to F is a minor third, distance from D to A is a perfect fifth,
so you get a 1 b3 5 minor chord

thats where we get the chords of a scale from, and you just apply that formula to odd scales, however it gets kinda funky if you have scales that have less or more than 7 tones

Edit: King Crimson ftw!
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Thanks for the help! And yes KC ftw!

Edit: Wait, so which chords made of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th? When do you use other intervals?
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Last edited by voyaging at Jun 16, 2008,
Quote by voyaging
Thanks for the help! And yes KC ftw!

Edit: Wait, so which chords made of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th? When do you use other intervals?

You can use other intervals whenever you want; however, those "chords built off the degrees of the scale" are just triads featuring a root, third and fifth.
Quote by :-D
You can use other intervals whenever you want; however, those "chords built off the degrees of the scale" are just triads featuring a root, third and fifth.

So is that triad with 1, 3, and 5 just the "common" way of creating that chord? I'm not sure I exactly understand.
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Quote by voyaging
Thanks for the help! And yes KC ftw!

Edit: Wait, so which chords made of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th? When do you use other intervals?

specify the question maybe....?
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Quote by voyaging
So is that triad with 1, 3, and 5 just the "common" way of creating that chord? I'm not sure I exactly understand.

No, the idea is that that triad is all you need to define a chord. So whenever you make those triads (called stacking thirds), you're using notes that are always in the scale, and that's why they're used. If you tried to create other chords, you'd end up using notes outside of the scale you're working in.
Quote by voyaging
So is that triad with 1, 3, and 5 just the "common" way of creating that chord? I'm not sure I exactly understand.

we call them voicings, its just how a chord is built, 1 3 5 for major, 1 b3 5 for minor, 1 b3 b5 for diminished, etc

i think what youre asking is how we know to take the distance intervals we take for creating chords? Its just like taking an arpeggio and playing it at once, it skips a note, i guess, i dunno how to explain it
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
The chords that work in the scale is determined by the notes in the scale. The I chord in a major scale is formed on the root(first degree, hence the I), and the third and fifth of that are taken to form the chord(meaning in C major, C E G). The ii formed on the 2nd degree by the same method, etc. Thus, you would do the same for any scale.
I almost understand now.

What if you were to make a chord that used the 1st, 2nd, and 7th interval in the scale. Technically, all the notes are in the scale, so would it "work" in the music?

Basically, what I'm asking, is WHY the 1, 3, and 5? Is that just the way it is?
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it would be a chord, because a chord must consist of at least 3 different notes, however, it wouldnt be very harmonious....
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Just because a chord is contained in the key doesn't mean it sounds "good". That chord would fit in the scale though. It's entirely up to your discretion if you want to use it.

EDIT: 1 3 5 are just standard triads. There are others.

Also, I just wanted to say. I came in here with the thread blank, typed up a response, posted and saw a debate ALREADY in progress. I love this place.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Jun 16, 2008,
Quote by grampastumpy
Just because a chord is contained in the key doesn't mean it sounds "good". That chord would fit in the scale though. It's entirely up to your discretion if you want to use it.

EDIT: 1 3 5 are just standard triads. There are others.

Also, I just wanted to say. I came in here with the thread blank, typed up a response, posted and saw a debate ALREADY in progress. I love this place.

So, as a general rule, using a 1, 3, 5 triad, the chord will sound "good?"
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Quote by voyaging
I almost understand now.

What if you were to make a chord that used the 1st, 2nd, and 7th interval in the scale. Technically, all the notes are in the scale, so would it "work" in the music?

Basically, what I'm asking, is WHY the 1, 3, and 5? Is that just the way it is?

Why its 1 3 5? Cause thats just the Major chord formula, just like the Major 7th's just have a 7th added to the 1 3 5, so its 1 3 5 7.
Quote by voyaging
So, as a general rule, using a 1, 3, 5 triad, the chord will sound "good?"

eh...yeah, but theres always exceptions in music, thats just how we build chords, extending notes by skipping a note, 1 3 5 7 9 11 13
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Quote by Guitarfreak777
Why its 1 3 5? Cause thats just the Major chord formula, just like the Major 7th's just have a 7th added to the 1 3 5, so its 1 3 5 7.

Ooh, I think I see now.

So basically, you take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, of a scale and that's the basic chord that can be used. However, adding a different note, (2nd, 6th, 7th) will change that chord, but it will still work in the song. Is this an okay generalization?

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Quote by voyaging
Ooh, I think I see now.

So basically, you take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, of a scale and that's the basic chord that can be used. However, adding a different note, (2nd, 6th, 7th) will change that chord, but it will still work in the song. Is this an okay generalization?

It won't necessarily sound good, but using the notes from the scale to build chords will keep you in key.

There are six basic types of triads:
Major - 1 3 5
Minor - 1 b3 5
Augmented - 1 3 #5
Diminished - 1 b3 b5
Sus2 - 1 2 5
Sus4 - 1 4 5
Quote by voyaging
Ooh, I think I see now.

So basically, you take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, of a scale and that's the basic chord that can be used. However, adding a different note, (2nd, 6th, 7th) will change that chord, but it will still work in the song. Is this an okay generalization?

Well sort of, you are getting it. You can't really just go okay 1 2 5 6 12.

1 3 5 = major triad. Any 1 3 5 will make a Major chord.
1 b3 5 = minor triad. Any 1 b3(down a half step) will make a major chord.

Formulas exsist already if you want to look them up.

This site shows you the notes that make em up.
http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/
yep, that works

1 3 5 (major)
1 b3 5 (minor)
1 b3 b5(diminished)
1 3 #5(augmented, this is rarely encountered, the only place i've come across it so far is that its in a chord of harmonic minor*)

*going through the chords of harmonic minor would be a good exercise for you to show full depth understanding of how to build chords off of a scale, because its an odd one, yet good to know

oh also, i'd suggest going through on your own with every step of a major scale, so that you fully understand why those chords are that way, like why the vii chord is diminished and whatnot
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
yep, that works

1 3 5 (major)
1 b3 5 (minor)
1 b3 b5(diminished)
1 3 #5(augmented, this is rarely encountered, the only place i've come across it so far is that its in a chord of harmonic minor*)

*going through the chords of harmonic minor would be a good exercise for you to show full depth understanding of how to build chords off of a scale, because its an odd one, yet good to know

oh also, i'd suggest going through on your own with every step of a major scale, so that you fully understand why those chords are that way, like why the vii chord is diminished and whatnot

When you make the chords in the scale, do they sort of work out as being major or minor when they're supposed to? Say I take a major scale and use the 2nd interval (for example D in a C Major) to create a chord. I use the 1, 3, and 5 of the note (2, 4, and 6 of the scale). Is that already a minor chord or do I have to manually flat the 3rd?

Basically, what I'm asking is, do I have to manually flat the 3rd, sharp the 5th, etc. to make it minor/augmented, or does that automatically just work itself out by taking the 1st, 3rd, and 5th of the scale?
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Quote by voyaging

When you make the chords in the scale, do they sort of work out as being major or minor when they're supposed to? Say I take a major scale and use the 2nd interval (for example D in a C Major) to create a chord. I use the 1, 3, and 5 of the note (2, 4, and 6 of the scale). Is that already a minor chord or do I have to manually flat the 3rd?

Basically, what I'm asking is, do I have to manually flat the 3rd, sharp the 5th, etc. to make it minor/augmented, or does that automatically just work itself out by taking the 1st, 3rd, and 5th of the scale?

You don't have to alter the scale at all; the formulas show you what the unaltered triads in the scale are.
Quote by voyaging

When you make the chords in the scale, do they sort of work out as being major or minor when they're supposed to? Say I take a major scale and use the 2nd interval (for example D in a C Major) to create a chord. I use the 1, 3, and 5 of the note (2, 4, and 6 of the scale). Is that already a minor chord or do I have to manually flat the 3rd?

Basically, what I'm asking is, do I have to manually flat the 3rd, sharp the 5th, etc. to make it minor/augmented, or does that automatically just work itself out by taking the 1st, 3rd, and 5th of the scale?
It automatically works itself out. Thus the wonders of the major scale and why its so easy to write in major.

Minor progressions are another thing though. To make the scale resolve to the right chord, you must change some chords around (manually) and even sharp one of the degrees and do all sorts of funky stuff.
Quote by :-D
You don't have to alter the scale at all; the formulas show you what the unaltered triads in the scale are.

OH OH OH, so that's just so I know, "Okay, this is a minor chord I'm playing, because there's a minor interval between this and this?"

Quote by demonofthenight
It automatically works itself out. Thus the wonders of the major scale and why its so easy to write in major.

Minor progressions are another thing though. To make the scale resolve to the right chord, you must change some chords around (manually) and even sharp one of the degrees and do all sorts of funky stuff.

Okay, now I'm lost
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dont worry, im a little lost by what he was gettin at in that last part

but yeah you dont have to manually change anything, its just kind of the way we label where the cards fall
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Quote by voyaging
OH OH OH, so that's just so I know, "Okay, this is a minor chord I'm playing, because there's a minor interval between this and this?"

Okay, now I'm lost
Sorry . For my first sentence I basically agreed with you. It works perfectly if your just planning on writing in major.

But if you want to write in minor, its alot more difficult.

dont worry, im a little lost by what he was gettin at in that last part
Once again, sorry. My point was that writing minor chord progressions is difficult. Not trying to mislead anyone (like some of the ass hats in MT)
Last edited by demonofthenight at Jun 17, 2008,
Quote by voyaging

When you make the chords in the scale, do they sort of work out as being major or minor when they're supposed to? Say I take a major scale and use the 2nd interval (for example D in a C Major) to create a chord. I use the 1, 3, and 5 of the note (2, 4, and 6 of the scale). Is that already a minor chord or do I have to manually flat the 3rd?

Basically, what I'm asking is, do I have to manually flat the 3rd, sharp the 5th, etc. to make it minor/augmented, or does that automatically just work itself out by taking the 1st, 3rd, and 5th of the scale?

Basically, here is how you get the major chords.

The key of C major is no sharps or flats.

So it is as follows

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
C D E F G A B

Now for our first chord we take 1 3 5. So we have C Major.

Now we take our 2nd note, D, so we take the D major scale to get the D chord.

The D major scale has 2 sharps: F and C

So the scale changes.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
D E F# G A B C#

We take 1 3 5. but uh oh, we have a sharp, and there are no sharps in C major. So we must MAKE it fit into C major, since thats the scale we are working with.

We must flat the 3rd, because thats what is sharp.

So that makes the chord D minor because of the pattern 1 b3 5.

So on an so forth.

*edit* UG messed up my numbered , but you can line them up in your head.
Quote by Guitarfreak777
Basically, here is how you get the major chords.

The key of C major is no sharps or flats.

So it is as follows

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
C D E F G A B

Now for our first chord we take 1 3 5. So we have C Major.

Now we take our 2nd note, D, so we take the D major scale to get the D chord.

The D major scale has 2 sharps: F and C

So the scale changes.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
D E F# G A B C#

We take 1 3 5. but uh oh, we have a sharp, and there are no sharps in C major. So we must MAKE it fit into C major, since thats the scale we are working with.

We must flat the 3rd, because thats what is sharp.

So that makes the chord D minor because of the pattern 1 b3 5.

So on an so forth.

Could you just use the C Major scale the whole way through and take the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, producing the same D Minor chord? Would that work in every case?
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yeah it will consistently produce a IImi chord(as it's notated in roman intervals)

Edit: yeah what i think demon was getting at was that the chords are different for a minor scale, like, the 'natural' minor scale is A minor, no sharps, no flats, so your I chord is:

A C E
distance from A to C is a b3, distance from A to E is 5, so you have a 1 b3 5 triad, a minor chord
for the II chord, B D F
distance from B to D is b3, distance from B to F is b5, so you have a 1 b3 b5 triad, diminished
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Last edited by EZLN libertad at Jun 17, 2008,
Quote by voyaging
Could you just use the C Major scale the whole way through and take the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, producing the same D Minor chord? Would that work in every case?

That does work, it makes a D minor, however when you get to the diminished im not sure if that would work.

*edit*

It works for the diminished too.
Last edited by Guitarfreak777 at Jun 17, 2008,
yeah it would consistently produce a IImi chord(as it's notated in roman intervals)

You mean Roman numerals.

And it's simply ii. IImi is contradictory.
Okay just one final closing topic that I'd like maybe a general overview of:

Changing up the different chords. For example when "should" and "shouldn't" you make the chords a seventh chord or sustained, etc.?
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I actually never thought about just lookin at the scale your in, thanks for making me realize that TS lol.
Quote by voyaging
Okay just one final closing topic that I'd like maybe a general overview of:

Changing up the different chords. For example when "should" and "shouldn't" you make the chords a seventh chord or sustained, etc.?

Suspended, not sustained.

Quote by :-D
Suspended, not sustained.

I would like that complicated answer lol.
i think you mean suspended chord, not sustained, but good question, its really up to you, like jazz a lot of times uses extended chords(chords beyond the 7th, ie, 1 3 5 7 9 11, etc), whereas mainstream music uses an excuse for a chord-the powerchord, which has a voicing of 1, 5, technically not making it a chord, because it only has 2 tones

its all up to the player

also, see above for exploration of minor chords, i added them in an edit, but its up a bit so it might get overlooked
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Quote by :-D
Suspended, not sustained.

Heh, alright. Is there maybe a list of which chords can be used instead of what would normally go there? Like, I know for example you usually can't just switch out a major chord for a minor one (well you can, but you know what I mean).

So, what chords can be substituted, seventh, what else?
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It's personal preference. The sus chords generally have an unresolved feel to them, and usually you would end up changing them to a more natural feeling major or minor chord. Sevenths are just used to add some extra flavour to your chords. Also, you can make seventh chords for each step of the major scale, just like you did with triads.
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Last edited by Iron_Dude at Jun 17, 2008,
Quote by voyaging
Heh, alright. Is there maybe a list of which chords can be used instead of what would normally go there? Like, I know for example you usually can't just switch out a major chord for a minor one (well you can, but you know what I mean).

So, what chords can be substituted, seventh, what else?

...what?
Quote by :-D
Suspended, not sustained.

yeah, you can definitely get into chords deeply, for instance, how each note resolves to the next chord, like how the 3rd of a G(3rd=B) chord resolves into a C major chord(because it's the 7th of a C, and a halfstep away from the root), things like that, and when you have extended chords, you can get some funky resolutions, and if you wanna dive into extensions, often times altered chords are what to check out(theyre chords that 'alter' the normal notes, like in a major scale, it'll alter the 5 of the chord to a b5)

basically that stuff in the last paragraph was stuff for you to check into another day, the stuff we've covered so far is enough to keep your mind busy for a few days, that stuff i just mentioned is if you want to dig deeper after some time passes
There is no music but metal and muhammad is its prophet.
Quote by Guitarfreak777
I would like that complicated answer lol.

Basically, here's an overview:

The progression is going to sound most pleasing to the ear when it resolves well. The way a progression sounds is all about setting up particular movement.The motion from the dominant to the tonic in a major key sounds very good to us because the progression sounds complete. This is further improved when a little bit of tension is used to set up the resolution. For example, if you use a I-IV-V progression (C-F-G in C major) you're going to achieve this sound. If you went with just straight I-IV-I motion, this would be referred to as a plagal cadence and won't sound as well-resolved. This is because (I stress this point again) the dominant to the tonic provides the strongest resolution. However, if you move the IV to the V (in our example, F-G), it's going to sound like the progression moves well to reach that dominant, and then it resolves back to the tonic for the most complete sound. This motion relies heavily on the tonal center; for example, if you had a progression such as C-F-G-Dm, it's not going to sound resolved. Your ear hears things as they relate to the specific tonal center, and the Dm is not going to sound like it's completed anything because your tonal center hasn't been reached.

This is why you'll see that the dominant chord in a minor key, which is minor by default, is almost always made major. Take A minor for our example; usually you'd have an E minor chord, but if you sharpen the third of the chord (going from G to G#), you'd have E major. This provides a stronger resolution to A minor because semitonal movement always resolves well; going from G# to A will sound more resolved than going from G to A because of the shortened distance. This raising of the leading tone (the seventh degree, G# in our example after raising it) is very common practice in classical music. The major VI chord is often made either fully diminished or half diminished for reasons that I can explain in greater detail if you wish; this will be a lot to digest anyway.

So then we get into chord extensions, and again it's all based on movement. Let's use another key for example, say D minor. If we take a chord progression such as Dm-Bbdim-A-Dm that sounds nice and classical, we can work in some extensions. For example, we see that in our motion from A to Dm, we have the notes A C# E to D F A. There is movement on two of the notes, both semitonal; the C# moves to D and the E resolves to F, which completes our sound. But let's throw an extension on top. We'll make our A chord in A7, which contains the note A C# E G. In addition to our movement described above, we have another note this will sound like it's resolving; depending on how you voice the chords, the G will head towards either A or F, and I'll leave it up to you to decide which is more pleasing to your ear.

That's a very basic overview, but let me know if you have any other questions.
Last edited by :-D at Jun 17, 2008,