More Advanced Music Theory

We left off with some basic chord building last time. This time I'll go more in depth with chords. This lesson is more about Theory and less about the guitar itself.

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Hey guys, hope you enjoyed my last lesson. Thanks so much for all the positive feedback. I honestly didn't even know it was accepted onto Ultimate-Guitar until about five minutes ago. Since the last lesson, I've gone through almost a full semester of music theory so I know much more than I did before. Let's get started shall we? Ok, you know how to build a power chord, but what about triads? Well first you need to know what a triad is. A triad is simply a chord with 3 notes: The root, the 3rd and the 5th. This will usually be written out like I III V. For scale degrees we use roman numerals. A degree is just a note in a scale(third degree, fifth degree, etc.). Here's a very basic C Major triad.
E-----------------------------------------------------------------
B-----------------------------------------------------------------
G--0--------------------------------------------------------------
D--1--------------------------------------------------------------
A--3--------------------------------------------------------------
E-----------------------------------------------------------------
Time to learn a little more music theory lingo. The first note of a scale is called the Tonic(or root if you prefer). The second note of the scale is called the Supertonic. The third is called the Mediant. The fourth is the Subdominant. The fifth is the Dominant. The sixth is the Submediant. The seventh is the Leading Tone or Subtonic. Each degree of a scale can be turned into a chord, so there are I chords, II chords, III chords, etc. It's not absolutely necessary to memorize those(although I encourage it), but if you're going to school for music theory you'll have to know them. Now I can properly explain to you the basics of chord progressions. There are tons of progressions for you to use with chords. The most common progression is the I IV V progression. If you were paying attention you know that that means you'll use the Tonic chord, then the Subdominant chord, and then the Dominant chord. You can take any chords from any scales and put them together in whatever way sounds good to you. Of course, these progressions you come up with will also work with power chords, or any other chords for that matter. Now, you have to pick the right type of chord. Now we're going to go into Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented chords. As if all that junk up there wasn't enough! To have a Major chord you must have a I, a Major III and a V. So what's a Major III? It's the note that is 4 half steps(2 whole steps) from the Tonic. It will already be the third note of the major scale, so no worries here! If you want to make the Major chord a minor chord, you will have to lower the III one half step, resulting in a minor III(3 half steps from the Tonic). Now those are pretty basic chords, if you don't already know your basic Major and minor chords you should learn them now. Next, we'll move on to Augmented and Diminished chords. You can think of Augmented as a super Major chord and Diminished as a super minor chord. Augmented is built similar to a Major chord, the only difference is that the V is raised a half step. The Diminished chord is just the opposite, the V is lowered one half step. To make all of this a little easier to swallow, it's a good idea to memorize what chords are naturally major, minor, and diminished(there are no naturally augmented triads). When I say that they're naturally major or minor or diminished, I mean that there are no sharps or flats. Major: CEG, GBD, and FAC Minor: ACE, DGB, and EGB Diminished: BDF You should become familiar with those, it will make chords a lot easier to understand. It's much easier to build chords like this, but to understand the theory behind them you must be able to build them from scales. Well, I know that it's a lot of information to swallow and I don't expect you to instantly understand and memorize all of it. Just take all the time you need to read over it and memorize it. Chords are not the most fun things to learn, but they are extremely beneficial. I won't go into inversions this time, I'll save that confusion for later. Next lesson will be on scales and their modes. You'll learn how to make some killer shred licks. I personally prefer teaching scales and modes. Thanks again for all the positive feedback, I hope this lesson is helpful. If you have any questions, just email me and I will do my best to answer all the questions you have. Check back soon for more from Brain Frying 101.

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    Rictus23
    Deyenak wrote: I do believe your triad is C minor!
    nice job catching that deyenak. decent lesson, but not too advanced. he needs to simplify it a bit. like include how to find the notes in a key. like C major=whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step then what notes in the key create a chord. and diagrams would help. like: major=1 3 5 minor=1 3b 5 augmented=1 3 5# diminished=1 3 5b then give an example: C=C E G Cm=C Eb G Caug=C E G# Cdim=C E Gb guitar is alot like math, it's harder to learn without examples.
    Rictus23
    when i say that it's not too advanced, i mean the information isn't too advanced. but that the description of the information is, especially for a basics lesson. but it is cool that you took time out to try to teach a bit of theory to people. oh, and may i request you doing a lesson on chord progressions? that's something that i can't really find any solid info on.
    ironwolg
    Rictus23 wrote: when i say that it's not too advanced, i mean the information isn't too advanced. but that the description of the information is, especially for a basics lesson. but it is cool that you took time out to try to teach a bit of theory to people. oh, and may i request you doing a lesson on chord progressions? that's something that i can't really find any solid info on.
    that and lessons on key signatures are comming up next. and sorry about the C minor, i didn't have a guitar when i was typing this but it was close. i'll see if i can edit it somehow
    ironwolg
    Rictus23 wrote: Deyenak wrote: I do believe your triad is C minor! nice job catching that deyenak. decent lesson, but not too advanced. he needs to simplify it a bit. like include how to find the notes in a key. like C major=whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step then what notes in the key create a chord. and diagrams would help. like: major=1 3 5 minor=1 3b 5 augmented=1 3 5# diminished=1 3 5b then give an example: C=C E G Cm=C Eb G Caug=C E G# Cdim=C E Gb guitar is alot like math, it's harder to learn without examples.
    when i titled it as more advanced, i meant it was more advanced than the previous lesson. sorry about the mixup, i'm working on the next lesson right now
    Marcus T
    Great lessons but I have a few questions/suggestions: Isn't a diminished=1 3b 5b ? If it's not, then your example of Diminished: BDF doesn't make sense. I also think that your Minor: DGB should be DFA Please respond to this, as I'm really putting some effort into learning theory
    Tkarmakid
    Saying 3b or 5b doesnt necessarily mean that the note will be a flat note (ex. Db). When building a triad major, minor, dim and aug are made up of specific intervals. It might help to understand these intervals: 3 or Major third; 5 semitones up from tonic (or the note which the chord is named after, ex. C) [C-C#-D-D#-E] 1 2 3 4 5 3b or minor third; 4 semitones up from tonic [C-C#-D-Eb] 1 2 3 4 A major triad is a major 3rd with a minor third stacked on top, 1 3 5. (ex. C major - CEG). If 1 is the note C, then five semitones counting up from C is E. A major third interval. The minor triad is a minor third interval with a major third interval stacked on top. In a C minor triad a minor third, or 3b, is 4 semitones up from C, which would be Eb. In this case the note is flat, however if it were a C# minor triad, the third (still a 3b) would be E, which is not a flat. Now getting to the diminished. It is built with a minor third interval (3b) with another minor third interval stacked on top of it. In a B diminished triad if you count up a minor third from B, 4 semitones, you would arrive at D, which is still a 3b, though not a flat note. Counting up a minor third interval from D you arrive on F, also not a flat note but still a 3b. So BDF is 1 3b 5b. hope that helps. Also, I find it helpfull to know that there is an order of majors and minor in a key: I ii iii IV V vi viidim Maj-min-min-MAj-Maj-min-dim In the key of C; C dmin emin F G7 amin bdim and Modes: Ionian-Dorian-Phrygian-Lydian-Mixolyd ian-Aolian-Locrian