Since most of us play guitar on this website, whether it be 6, 7, 8, or 9 string. I am prepared to inform some of you of something new, and tell some of you what you may already know. For example Their are key signatures, time signatures, accidentals or "naturals" beats per minute and chord charts that all relate to each other as a piece of music is being herd, or played.
To start their are four kinds of chords. No not E, G, B etc. They are all derived from spaces in-between each other. These notes are called tones, all having an individual building block when played simultaneously. On that note, here are the four basic types of chords. Major, 1, M3, P5. Minor, 1, m3, P5. Augmented, 1, M3, m6, and Diminished, 1, m3, flat 5.
Now lets shed some light on these big m's and numbers. To start, there is only 11 pitches theoretically. All the notes or pitches ascending one fret at a time from the open low E string, (assuming you are tuned to A440) or the fattest string on your 6 string guitar, or 4 string bass are: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, D, D#. These pitches are referred to as "semi-tones." This ascension is referred to as chromatic, going up one note at a time and continuing the climb.
All the spaces in between the notes or pitches make up what are called intervals. Here is where the big M's, little m's and numbers come in to play. There is an interval for every semi-tone there is. Here is the list of intervals and how I represent them.
Starting from E or our tonic, or root, this notes is the lowest tone and our original starting point. I always call this the root, but you can call it the "one or 1" if you like. Going back to our above list (E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#), you can see the next note is an F.
The distance between an E and an F on the low E string from our open string to the first fret is defined as the minor 2nd. From E to the 2nd fret or E to F# is a major second. From E to G or E to the third fret is a minor 3rd. From E to G# or from E to the 4th fret is a major third. From E to A or to the fifth fret is a perfect fourth. From E to A# or E to the sixth fret is a flatted fifth or "tri-tone." From E to B or E to the seventh fret is a perfect fifth. From E to C or the eighth fret is a minor sixth. From E to C# or E to the ninth fret is a major sixth. From E to D or E to the tenth fret is a minor seventh. From E to D# or from E to the eleventh fret is a major seventh or "leading tone." Finally we are an "octave" up, from the open low E to the twelfth fret is the Tonic, root, or one, it's the same tone just higher in pitch.
Here is a shorter version of how I like to represent these:
- Tonic or 1 - E
- Minor 2nd - F
- Major 2nd - F#
- Minor 3rd - G
- Major 3rd - G#
- Perfect 4th - A
- Flatted 5th or Tri-Tone - A#
- Perfect 5th - B
- Minor 6th - C
- Major 6th - C#
- Minor 7th - D
- Major 7th or leading tone - D#
- Tonic or 1 an octave higher - E
One note alone, the E, for this example is a single tone with no certain key or relation maybe except E. We will use the E minor scale spelled above for a building block. Once we add on to this note in a stacked form, play them simultaneously and we get a chord. The beginning of the chords are called dyads and triads. A dyad being made up of two parts or two notes in this case. A triad being made up of three parts.
Let's say we add a G to our E. Now we have two intervals that have a relationship to each other, in this case a minor third this being a dyad. Then we add a 5th, in this case a B this being a triad. Count up in the scale listed about starting from E or 1. E 1, F# M2, G m3, A P4, B P5, C m6, D m7.
If you do this, we get 1 or E, minor 3rd or G, and a perfect fifth, or B (1, m3, P5). To get the major set we need the E major or "ionian" scale. Spelled E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#. Using the same principals and the list of the interval above we get a 1, M3, P5. E, G#, B. To get the augmented chord we stack the Major third interval two times resulting in a 1, M3, m6. E, G#, C. To get the diminished chord we get a 1, m3, flat5. E, G, A#.
This is a formula I want all new comers to try for the week. Using this simple formula, formulate the same four chords, Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished on the key of A, and B. Remember how these are spelled:
- Major - 1, M3, P5
- Minor - 1, m3, P5
- Augmented - 1, M3, m6
- Diminished - 1, m3, flat5
By Zach Sutter