Hi, I'm hoping for some help and any attempt would be greatly appreciated.

Ok, I understand chord construction pretty well, but there is one aspect that I don't grasp.

In a major triad, the notes are stacked generic thirds from the major scale, I III and V. What I don't understand is why this give a major feel and the minor triad doesn't. The major chord contains a major third (between I and III) and a minor third (between III and IV). The minor chord is the same, just the order of the thirds is reversed (minor then major).

If someone could explain this to me I would be forever grateful.
Last edited by The_Sophist at Aug 12, 2008,
You're confusing yourself, and me as well.

A minor chord is a Root, flat third and a fifth.

A major chord is a Root, third, and a fifth.

Not the same notes in a different "order."
I think you sound more advanced than I am... so maybe I'm wrong. But isnt a major triad I III V? Not I III IV?
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Yes, thank you for noticing that. (edited)

My question is, they are made up of the same intervals in a different order, so why does your brain perceive one to be major and one to be minor.

My assumption is that your brain hears them from the bottom up, but I would like someone to clear it up if they can.
They aren't the same intervals. Let's look at a chord and it's minor to show you...

E B and G# are E major. The G# is the 3rd. If you make the G# flat, it becomes G.

It is now an E minor chord, E B G.

Edit:

So the minor chord intervals are actually I bIII V
Because it doesnt matter what interval it is in general, it matters what interval in relation to the root note. When playing in a key your ear notices the intervals from the root or key being used, not necessarily all the other intervals.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Thank you, this was driving me insane.
Ya its not much of answer but I can't get super technical into the tones. Just think of scales as intervals from the root not from the previous note in the scale. So really the intervals would be:

1 2 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6

with the numbers being the interval from the root.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Keep in mind that there are actually THREE intervals you are hearing, OP. Yes, you hear a major third between the root and third and a minor third between the third and fifth, but you also hear the relationship between the root and fifth. So you actually have THREE intervals, not two. That third interval, the perfect fifth, helps you hear a root, as opposed to just two random intervals played together at the same time. You have to consider the fact that you are not just hearing random intervals processed separately by the brain, but three notes sounded in unison that get processed simultaneously, each one in relationship to BOTH of the other notes, not just one of the other notes.

Hope this makes sense.
Quote by tubetime86
Because it doesnt matter what interval it is in general, it matters what interval in relation to the root note. When playing in a key your ear notices the intervals from the root or key being used, not necessarily all the other intervals.

Thanks for all the help, now I have a side question.

You say your brain is hearing all the intervals (PSM), does your brain also hear the fourth from the V to the I?
I dunno man. You are focusing way more on individual notes than I do. Don't focus on what is heard specifically, because as was said before by someone, the brain doesn't hear 3 notes its hears one tone that is made up of those 3. Either get a doctorate in music and a second doctorate in psychology of perception for a more clear answer or move on.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
That's actually my goal, but I'm impatient.
Quote by The_Sophist
Thanks for all the help, now I have a side question.

You say your brain is hearing all the intervals (PSM), does your brain also hear the fourth from the V to the I?

Short answer - if it goes with whatever is in the background, so if the fourth is like in a chord progression yes.

Long answer - If you're trained well enough to know how far the fourth to the fifth is, then you'll hear it regardless. I'm a choir kid, and I use solfege a TON, so the fourth = fa and the fifth = sol. I've done it for so long that if I hear any note (in this case, we'll go with the fifth), I can hear any note or solfege syllable (sol) and know any interval in a split second. I can't remember the website I used to check my pitch recognition one time, but google an ear trainer or something to help you develop the relationship between the pitches.

Oh, and get over being impatient. Training your ear takes time.
The other tones function relative to the root rather than to each other. So it's not so much that the minor third is "first" or "second", but that there is a minor third there in the first place. A more practical way to think of it is that the minor chord has a lowered third.
Quote by The_Sophist
Thanks for all the help, now I have a side question.

You say your brain is hearing all the intervals (PSM), does your brain also hear the fourth from the V to the I?
If the I is a fourth above the V it will hear this relationship also. This happens when you start doubling tones within a chord and/or use inverted chords. However a triad in root position using each note only once will not give that relationship.
Si
Thanks for all your help everyone that understood the question.