#1
I'm a bit confused on the fifth of a powerchord. I know how to play one obviously and i understand the root note and the octave but what is a fifth? I'm sorry if this post is confusing or done before.
#3
This is all covered in the theory sticky.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#4
It is the fifth degree in the major scale.

Major Scale in
A = A B C# D E F# G# A
A=1 B=2 C#=3 D=4 E=5 F#=6 G#=7

C = C D E F G A B C
C=1 G=5th

E = E F# G# A B C# D# E
E=1 B=5th
Si
#5
please do me a favor and dont read the snobby posts that refer to their sticky and demand a real answer. like what 20Tigers wrote.
#6
It's called a power chord because it lacks the 3rd scale degree which defines it as major or minor. So basically it goes both ways and that's what makes it more powerful, hence its name.

A normal chord triad uses the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of a scale, but a power chord only uses the 1st and 5th.
#7
Quote by pwrmax
So basically it goes both ways and that's what makes it more powerful, hence its name.
It gets its name from its heavy use in distorted riffs. Clean, a 4th sounds heavier than a 5th IMMHOHO.
#8
You would have first to learn notes, and then learn intervals, and then learn the consonance/dissonance and use of these.

Short answer:
Powerchord is made from the 1 (unison)-5th (fifth) and 8th (octave)
You have note degrees C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C (degree meaning the lettern, independant of alterations sharps (#) flats (b) or others, meaning independant of pitch).
There you count 5 notes till you get a fifth (in this case C-D-E-F-G 1-2-3-4-5, meaning G is the fifth of C), you count a single note to determine the unison and octave (obviously one octave higher).
So powerchord of C= C-G-C
Mind that you need a perfect 5th, as in the fifth that you find in the major scale.
You need a perfect fifth because it is the most consonant interval after the unison/octave, and as it is consonant (meaning doesn't sond tense) it is used in powerchords, which are commonly used everywhere because of said consonance (well, I think)...
#9
Question:

I know how to play one obviously and i understand the root note and the octave but what is a fifth?

Quote by 20Tigers
It is the fifth degree in the major scale.

Major Scale in
A = A B C# D E F# G# A
A=1 B=2 C#=3 D=4 E=5 F#=6 G#=7

C = C D E F G A B C
C=1 G=5th

E = E F# G# A B C# D# E
E=1 B=5th


Actually no, it's the note found at an interval of a fifth above the root of the chord. The fifth of the major scale is known as the dominant. The dominant is also found a found at the interval of a (perfect) fifth above the tonic or first degree of a major scale.
I'm not trying to be a smartarse, it's a common mistake that can lead to confusion, it's just an issue of terminology.
Last edited by R.Christie at Oct 26, 2008,
#10
Quote by R.Christie
Actually no, it's the note found at an interval of a fifth above the root of the chord.
That's exactly what he said. You're correct about the V chord being dominant, and while that's important to know, it has nothing to do with this thread.
#11
Quote by bangoodcharlote
That's exactly what he said. You're correct about the V chord being dominant, and while that's important to know, it has nothing to do with this thread.


No Sue, he said the fifth of a chord is the fifth of a scale. Within the key that is only true of the chord of tonic.
It's a common mistake, in terminology only, same as calling a root note of a chord the tonic another error I see often.
Last edited by R.Christie at Oct 26, 2008,
#12
just to add a bit of related interest, powerchords started to be commonly used after amplifiers (most notably Marshall) in the mid-late 60's added more distortion & drive to your tone... the effect of this was to accentuate harmonic overtones to any notes you played... so that in amongst the low 'E' you played, you also hear other frequencies other than the fundamental 'E'...

it could sound AMAZING... the downside of this was that 'full' chords with 3rds & 7th etc often had TOO MUCH going on there as the overtones of 3-4 notes interacted with each other... so guitarists like Pete Townshend started leaving out those notes.... stripping it down to the root, fifth and optionally the octave... which is easy to play, usually sounds great, and lowered the bar for anyone to play rock music on guitar.. because all of a sudden you didn't really need to know chords

very few bands have made a signature sound of adding in non-powerchord notes to a big distorted chord... Oasis's early sound was based on playing full barre chords with lots of overdrive, but I can't think of too many others that do it to that extent
out of here
#13
Quote by inflatablefilth
just to add a bit of related interest, powerchords started to be commonly used after amplifiers (most notably Marshall) in the mid-late 60's added more distortion & drive to your tone... the effect of this was to accentuate harmonic overtones to any notes you played... so that in amongst the low 'E' you played, you also hear other frequencies other than the fundamental 'E'...

it could sound AMAZING... the downside of this was that 'full' chords with 3rds & 7th etc often had TOO MUCH going on there as the overtones of 3-4 notes interacted with each other... so guitarists like Pete Townshend started leaving out those notes.... stripping it down to the root, fifth and optionally the octave... which is easy to play, usually sounds great, and lowered the bar for anyone to play rock music on guitar.. because all of a sudden you didn't really need to know chords

very few bands have made a signature sound of adding in non-powerchord notes to a big distorted chord... Oasis's early sound was based on playing full barre chords with lots of overdrive, but I can't think of too many others that do it to that extent


That sounds quite plausible! a bit like the reason given that a minor chord sounds darker than a major - the min third of the chord clashes with the 5th harmonic (maj3) of the root.
#14
Quote by R.Christie
No Sue, he said the fifth of a chord is the fifth of a scale. Within the key that is only true of the chord of tonic.
It's a common mistake, in terminology only, same as calling a root note of a chord the tonic another error I see often.

You use the scale to build the chord. He was right. Get over it.
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#15
Quote by LawnDwarf
please do me a favor and dont read the snobby posts that refer to their sticky and demand a real answer. like what 20Tigers wrote.

That's an easy thing to say considering you didn't give an answer but if you were someone who actually answered tons questions then you might get a bit annoyed anwering questions that are already answered in the therory sticky.
#16
Quote by inflatablefilth
just to add a bit of related interest, powerchords started to be commonly used after amplifiers (most notably Marshall) in the mid-late 60's added more distortion & drive to your tone... the effect of this was to accentuate harmonic overtones to any notes you played... so that in amongst the low 'E' you played, you also hear other frequencies other than the fundamental 'E'...

it could sound AMAZING... the downside of this was that 'full' chords with 3rds & 7th etc often had TOO MUCH going on there as the overtones of 3-4 notes interacted with each other... so guitarists like Pete Townshend started leaving out those notes.... stripping it down to the root, fifth and optionally the octave... which is easy to play, usually sounds great, and lowered the bar for anyone to play rock music on guitar.. because all of a sudden you didn't really need to know chords

very few bands have made a signature sound of adding in non-powerchord notes to a big distorted chord... Oasis's early sound was based on playing full barre chords with lots of overdrive, but I can't think of too many others that do it to that extent

Hmm, Opeth does quite a bit.
#18
Quote by inflatablefilth
very few bands have made a signature sound of adding in non-powerchord notes to a big distorted chord... Oasis's early sound was based on playing full barre chords with lots of overdrive, but I can't think of too many others that do it to that extent
In Flames uses several layers of heavily distorted guitars to achieve a sound that is not muddy, but you hear a full triad chord.