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Andrew Cockburn
Chords For Scales


Introduction

Hi GMCers - in this lesson we're going to take a look at how we match chords to scales, to give you an instant boost when writing songs or solos, and help you pick out musical sounding progressions.

One question that surfaces a lot is something along the lines of "I am using a scale of D Major, how do I know what chords I can use with that?". Before we delve into that, its worth reading my lesson on degrees of the scale here, as we will be using concepts from that lesson.

So, what chords can I use?

If you are after a quick fix, then here you go ... for our example above, D Major, the standard musical theory answer might be:

D, Em7 F#m7, Gmaj7, A7, Bmin, C#dim

For the key of C, you would use:

C, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am, Bdim

If you want a general rule based on degrees of the scale, it is as follows:

I, IIm7, IIIm7, IVmaj7, V7, VIm, VIIdim

Easy huh? But why is it that way? This is where the interesting stuff starts smile.gif

Why Those Chords?

Glad you asked ... what at first might seem an arbitrary and mysterious list of chords that work with a particular key, is in fact very simply understood when you couple an understanding of the notes in a scale with a few basic chord construction rules.

What we are doing, is building a series of chords out of notes taken only from the scale that we are interested in. When you think about it that makes a lot of sense, it means that not only are we selecting all of our melody notes from the scale, but the notes making up the chords are also selected from that same scale. Now, since we need a root note for each chord, we can make one chord for each note in the scale. A standard major scale for instance as we showed above has 7 distinct notes in it, hence we can find 7 chords that match that scale.

So, our basic rule is that we take each root note in turn and figure out what chords we can make from it. From here on we'll stick with the scale of C for illustration purposes, but nothing I say is specific to that key unless I name notes. If you think about the function of each of the notes in the context of the scale you are using you can use the same rules to construct chords for any scale you can think of.

Chords For a C Major Scale

OK, so the scale of C major has the following notes:

C,D,E,F,G,A,B

What chords can we make from that? What is a chord anyway? Well lets start simply and talk about triads. You can learn about triads in my lesson here. A triad is composed of 3 notes, most often a root, 3rd and 5th. The relationship of the intervals controls whether the triad is major, minor, augmented or diminished.

Lets take a moment to review the degrees of the scale that make various different types of chord:

Major : 1,3,5
Minor : 1,b3,5
Diminished : 1,b3,dim5
Augmented : 1,3,aug5
Minor 7th : 1,b3,5,b7
Major 7th : 1,3,5,7
Dominant 7th : 1,3,5,b7
Sixth : 1,3,5,6
Minor 9 : 1,b3,5,b7,9
Minor 11 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11
Minor 13 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11,13

Back to the Scale

To make our triads, we will start at the root note for the chord we are looking at, skip a note, take a note, skip a note, and take a note. That means we will be building a triad based on the root 3rd and 5th, starting from whatever your root note was. The interesting thing here is that as you move up the scale in selecting your root notes, the intervals between the notes shift, according to the formula for the scale (T T S T T T S for a major scale), this has the effect of changing the type of the triads we construct as the relationships between the notes shift slightly. Lets look at the complete list for the key of C:

Starting with C:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Picking our 3 notes, we get C,E and G. The interval between C and E is a Major 3rd, C to G is a Perfect 5th. Our triad training tells us that a triad with a major 3rd and a perfect 5th is a major triad. Since our root note is C, our first chord is C major.

Next, D:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Our 3 notes from the scale would be D, F and A. D to F is a minor 3rd, D to A is a major 5th. Minor 3rd + Major 5th = a Minor triad, so D minor is our second chord.

The story is the same with E - E,G and B - Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th, so the chord is Em.

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

F and G are both Major 3rd + Perfect 5th, hence are major.

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

A is back to a minor 3rd and perfect 5th, so we get A minor.

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Finally B. Our notes are B, D and F. B to D is a minor 3rd, and B to F is a a diminished 5th - that relationship of notes makes our triad D diminished.

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

So, in triad terms, our chords for the scale of C are:

C,Dm,Em,F,G,Am,Bdim

Easy huh?

But That's Not Right!

You said that the 2nd chord was Dm7 not Dm, and all of the other chords are wrong too what's going on? ... well spotted! This is where it gets really interesting. What we have described above is the simplest view of chords we can use to match a particular major scale. A triad is a simple as chords generally get (ignoring power chords), and from the basis above, we can add notes to the basic triads to get more complex chords. The only rule is that we must pick notes from the scale we are using, and when we realize this, the possibilities are literally endless!

Lets revisit that first list I gave you:

C, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am, Bdim

This selection of chords is quite commonly given as the list of chords for the C major scale - but its not the list, its just a list, we've already seen another slightly different list above. One important thing to note is that although the chords are different, their basic triad families will always remain the same - the 2nd will always be minor, the 7th will always be diminished, the 4th will always be major and so on - that comes out of our basic triad construction, but the flavour of the chords can be altered by adding notes.

Now, what we have done in the list above is add notes to a few of the chords, to get more complex and flavorful chords. In the examples above, we have added a 7th to D, E, F and G. To add a 7th, we just skip an extra note above the 5th and add the next note.

So for D:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

We add a minor 7th, to get the chord Dm7.

For E:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Again we add a minor 7th to get the chord Em7

For F:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

We are adding a major 7th, to get the chord FMaj7

Finally for G:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

We are adding a minor 7th, which when combined with our major 3rd gives us a a dominant 7th chord.

Now we're just getting started - how about instead of a C major we use a C major 7th? Or a C6? Instead of a D Minor we can use a Dmin9, or even a Dmin11 or Dmin13 - they all fit our scale and stick to our rules! Using this technique we can fit hundreds of different chords to our scale - but equally we can keep it simple and stick with the basic triads.

Minor Scales

Ok, how about minor scales? Well not surprisingly, the rules are exactly the same - stick to the notes in the scale, and move through the scale to generate your root notes.

Lets look at a scale of A minor - I picked that for a reason, we'll see why in a minute.

Our notes for the scale of A natural minor are:

A,B,C,D,E,F,G

Lets kick off with A:

A B C D E F G A B C

A minor ...

Now B:

A B C D E F G A B C

B diminished ...

This is starting to look a little familiar ... well yes, I picked Am because it is the relative minor of C, meaning it shares the same notes. This means that among other things, we will end up with exactly the same list of chords, just offset in order. If you work it through, you will find that the order of chords would be:

Im, IIdim, III, IVm7, Vm7, VImaj7, VII7

The order of chord types is the same, we just start at the 6th in the list and work through - why is this?

Scales Chords and Modes

(You can skip this if you are unsure about modes)

The answer lies in modes! The relative minor of a major key is actually the Aeolian mode - which is mode 6. So although we are using exactly the same notes, we offset the root note by 6 degrees, going from C to A. This also has the effect of offsetting the characteristic chords for each degree by 6 steps as we have seen. Modes also relate to the concept of chords for a scale in that the characteristic chords we have seen for each degree of the scale can also be regarded as characteristic chords for the modes for that degree.

For example, you may have read that the characteristic chord of Dorian mode is the Minor 7th. Using the scale of C, we move up 1 degree to get D Dorian. Also, using the scale of C and stepping up to the chord we identified as being the chord of the second degree, we see it is Dm7 - it matches the chord type for Dorian! This of course is no coincidence, it just reflects the fact that when we are constructing chords for a scale in the way we described, since we have offset the root note we are actually in each case constructing a chord for the specific mode that is the degree of the scale we are working with. Another couple of examples:

The characteristic chord for Mixolydian is a dominant 7th. Mixolydian is the 5th mode. Checking our list we find that the 5th chord is indeed a dominant 7th.

The characteristic chord for Locrian is diminished. Locrian is the 7th mode, and checking the list we find that the 7th chord is diminished, so we can now say that we understand why each mode has its own characteristic chord type!

Other Scales

We can apply the same rules to any scale - depending on the scale it can become harder to figure out valid chords but it is possible. Lets look at the harmonic minor as another example. The harmonic minor scale is characterized by the following intervals:

1,2,b3,4,5,b6,7

Or in formula terms:

T S T T S T+1/2 S

We'll work in A, so the notes would be:

A,B,C,D,E,F,G#

Now that tone and a half step between the 6th and 7th degrees is going to change the chords we are able to use against this scale - lets see how it works out. The first 2 chords will be identical to the natural minor scale, Am and Bdim. When we hit the 3rd root note, C, we are faced with these notes:

A B C D E F G# A B C D E F G# A

A major 3rd and an augmented 5th is an augmented chord.

Looking at D:

A B C D E F G# A B C D E F G# A

A minor 3rd and a perfect 5th gives is a regular minor chord.

Moving to E:

A B C D E F G# A B C D E F G# A

A major 3rd and a perfect 5th making a major chord.

Next, F:

A B C D E F G# A B C D E F G# A

Another major 3rd and perfect 5th making a major.

And finally G#:

A B C D E F G# A B C D E F G# A

A minor 3rd and a diminished 5th making, as we know, a diminished chord.

So our sequence for A harmonic minor is:

Am, Bdim, Caug, Dmin, E, F,G#dim

Or in generic terms for the harmonic minor scale:

Im, IIdim, IIIaug, IVmin, V, VI, VIIdim

By now I hope you see where we are going with this, and the next time you encounter a strange scale, with a little work you should be able to come up with a list of chords to fit it!

Progressions

Now that we have the chords for the scale, what shall we do with them? Lets build some progressions! Progressions are the building blocks of western music. There are very many combinations, but a few are so effective that they crop up time and again. I'll list a few here for you to try out, it is also possible to buy books that list endless chord progressions as an aid to songwriting.

A lot of progressions start on the root or I, and involve the 5th or often the 4th, as in:

I,IV,I
I,V,I

The 12 bar blues puts this together in a standard combination to get:

I,I,IV,I,IV,IV,I,I,V,IV,I,V

A lot of "doo wop" groups in the 50s added the 6th to get the standard sequence:

I, VIm, IIm, V

or

I, VIm, IV, V


Various pop songs use a I, IIIm, IV, V progression such as "True Love Ways" to mention Buddy Holly again, and "Take my Breath Away" by Berlin.

Im, III, IV is used to good effect by Dire Straits in "Money for Nothing"

A few notable songs like "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly and "It won't be long" by the Beatles use a flattened 6th as in:

bVI, I, bVI, I.

But the flat 6th isn't in the major scale, so what is going on here? I'm glad you asked, because we've just uncovered a very important point related to song writing.

Scales for Chords - An Alternative View

Although the techniques we have discussed above are a very powerful way of picking chords to match a scale, a word of caution ... I tend to think that the initial question "what chords can I use for a scale?" actually misses the point slightly. If everyone who ever wrote a song asked the same question, some of the greatest songs in history would never have been written. The reason for this is that many songs don't stick to a specific scale, even between subsequent chords. Imagine a chord sequence that goes C, Ab, C, Ab - (using the flattened 6th as mentioned above) - a very powerful sounding riff, but those chords do not fit well into any usual scale. If you play the first chord, C, then say, "OK, I'm in the key of C major, what can I use next?" - Ab definitely wouldn't figure. So I am a fan of picking the chords first, then figuring out scales that work over them. In the case I gave, you would probably change scales from C major to Ab major and back, using the appropriate scale for each chord. With a little thought, you might be able to find a couple of scales and modes that would minimize the changes, but the point is that whilst fitting chords to a scale is a useful thing to know how to do, I would suggest that you think more in terms of what chords sound good together when writing riffs and solos.

OK, that's it for this lesson - see you all on the forum!
DeepRoots
You know, i had some questions prepared for after i read this...but they were answered up there^. This was seriously a great lesson! It all seems so obvious now...well logical atleast dry.gif . I'ma gonna grab me a geetar and write some songs!! cool.gif
Thanks Andrew! laugh.gif
Tank
Nice lesson mate. Clearly put together. Well done!
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Apr 16 2007, 04:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You know, i had some questions prepared for after i read this...but they were answered up there^. This was seriously a great lesson! It all seems so obvious now...well logical atleast dry.gif . I'ma gonna grab me a geetar and write some songs!! cool.gif
Thanks Andrew! laugh.gif


Phew, glad you liked it considering I wrote it at your request smile.gif

QUOTE (Tank @ Apr 16 2007, 09:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice lesson mate. Clearly put together. Well done!


Thanks Tank - and as ever thanks for letting me bounce some of the concepts off you!
AIB234
QUOTE
Starting with C:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Picking our 3 notes, we get C,E and G. The interval between C and E is a Major 3rd, C to G is a Perfect 5th. Our triad training tells us that a triad with a major 3rd and a perfect 5th is a major triad. Since our root note is C, our first chord is C major.

Next, D:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Our 3 notes from the scale would be D, F and A. D to F is a minor 3rd, D to A is a major 5th. Minor 3rd + Major 5th = a Minor triad, so D minor is our second chord.


Hi again Andrew smile.gif

Thankfully I am understand most of this lesson because I think it's one of your longest!

The part I do not understand I have quoted above.

In starting with C, I can easily see that C to E is a 3rd and C to G is a Perfect 5th.

I do not see why D to F is a minor third? Is it because in the key of D, F would be sharp, but in the scale of C, F is not sharp and therefore it is a minor 3rd?
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (AIB234 @ Jun 7 2007, 01:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi again Andrew smile.gif

Thankfully I am understand most of this lesson because I think it's one of your longest!

The part I do not understand I have quoted above.

In starting with C, I can easily see that C to E is a 3rd and C to G is a Perfect 5th.

I do not see why D to F is a minor third? Is it because in the key of D, F would be sharp, but in the scale of C, F is not sharp and therefore it is a minor 3rd?


They key here is that intervals are independant of scales, they are defined only by the number of semitones between the 2 notes (including the note you start with).

A Major 3rd is 5 semitones, a Minor 3rd is 4 semitones.

Start at D and count up:

D,D#,E,F - that's 4 semitones, so it is a minor 3rd.
D,D#,E,F,F# - that's 5 semitones, so it is a Major 3rd.
AIB234
So does that mean there is also a 'formula' for these as well?

Did I overlook this in one of your lessons?

This means that if you look at any given scale, the 3rd note in the scale may not always be the '3rd' to the root note, correct?
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (AIB234 @ Jun 7 2007, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So does that mean there is also a 'formula' for these as well?

Did I overlook this in one of your lessons?

This means that if you look at any given scale, the 3rd note in the scale may not always be the '3rd' to the root note, correct?


Kind of - there is a lesson on intervals, part II of Intervals Triads CHords and Harmonies.

The formulae for intervals are really just the number of semitones between the notes, and they really have nothing to do with scales, they are more basic. In fact you can describe scales in terms of intervals from the roiot note, and this a common way to build scales without using the formula. For instance, a major scale is:

Root, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th, major 7th

A minor scale is

Root, major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, minor 6th, minor 7th

So to answer your question, yes, you are correct, the 3rd note in the scale may or may not be the 3rd to the root note - look at pentatonic for instance. There is a 3rd note of the pentatonic scale,but it definatley is not any sort of 3rd interval.
sillyman
hey andrew very illuminating lesson as always bt i just got a few questions

at the top of the lesson where u lsit the chords for D major scale there's a Gmaj7 and a A7. is there a difference between 7th chord and a maj7 chord

"Lets take a moment to review the degrees of the scale that make various different types of chord:

Major : 1,3,5
Minor : 1,b3,5
Diminished : 1,b3,dim5
Augmented : 1,3,aug5
Minor 7th : 1,b3,5,b7
Major 7th : 1,3,5,7
Dominant 7th : 1,3,5,b7
Sixth : 1,3,5,6
Minor 9 : 1,b3,5,b7,9
Minor 11 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11
Minor 13 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11,13"

when you construct a chord such as a minor 11th where you go an octave above do you hav to include the 9th and b7th and if so why?

the last question is on the chord progressions. how r chord progressions made? r the calculated or wer they creatd by listenin to how those chords sound together

sorry for the flood of questions
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (sillyman @ Jul 20 2007, 01:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hey andrew very illuminating lesson as always bt i just got a few questions

at the top of the lesson where u lsit the chords for D major scale there's a Gmaj7 and a A7. is there a difference between 7th chord and a maj7 chord


Yes, an important difference smile.gif A Major 7th chord is:

root, 3, 5, 7.

A 7th (or also called dominant or dominant 7th) chord is:

root, 3, 5, b7

QUOTE (sillyman @ Jul 20 2007, 01:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Lets take a moment to review the degrees of the scale that make various different types of chord:

Major : 1,3,5
Minor : 1,b3,5
Diminished : 1,b3,dim5
Augmented : 1,3,aug5
Minor 7th : 1,b3,5,b7
Major 7th : 1,3,5,7
Dominant 7th : 1,3,5,b7
Sixth : 1,3,5,6
Minor 9 : 1,b3,5,b7,9
Minor 11 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11
Minor 13 : 1,b3,5,b7,9,11,13"

when you construct a chord such as a minor 11th where you go an octave above do you hav to include the 9th and b7th and if so why?


When constructing chords, you often move through the scale and pick out every other note. So triads are 1, 3, 5, then you can add a 7th, another 2 steps gets you a 9th, then an 11th and so on. Then we can play with these notes for instance flatten the 3rd to get a minor flavour of chord - these are the simplest chords.

Next, you can take a triad and just add a note, such as the 11th, leaving out the 7th and 9th as you mentioned. That doesn't get you an 11th chord, it gets you a +11 chord - different name and sound. So, yes you can leave the notes out but it just gets you a different chord.

I am long overdue writing a couple of lessons on chord construction, I know - its one of my favourite areas of theory!

QUOTE (sillyman @ Jul 20 2007, 01:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the last question is on the chord progressions. how r chord progressions made? r the calculated or wer they creatd by listenin to how those chords sound together


You generally select a list of chords in the key you start in (although not all chord progressions stay in the same key all the way through). Then it is just a question of figuring out what sounds good - this is where the creative side really comes in and theory can't help you other than to list progressions that other people thought sounded good!

QUOTE (sillyman @ Jul 20 2007, 01:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
sorry for the flood of questions


No problem smile.gif
sillyman
thanks alot andrew cnt wait for mor chord lessons
megadeth1117
cool lesson, i am understanding most of this crazy theory stuff

sorry for the weird question but does this refer to power chords too?

i rarely use full chords, for example, what power chords should i use for E relative minor scale?
Kaneda
QUOTE (megadeth1117 @ Aug 8 2007, 11:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
cool lesson, i am understanding most of this crazy theory stuff

sorry for the weird question but does this refer to power chords too?

i rarely use full chords, for example, what power chords should i use for E relative minor scale?


The power chords leave the third out, which means that they're neither major chords, nor minor chords - or you can think of them as being both. Since they're leaving notes out - not adding any - and since all notes of our full chords belong to the scale, their equivalent power chords will belong to the scale too.

Which means, yes it goes for power chords too. E and Em would be substituted with the same power chord: E5. Since we're interested in power chords, we ignore the embellishments we can add (i.e. Em7)

So, for C major (the example Andrew gave above):

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim

C => C5
Dm => D5
Em => E5
F => F5
G => G5
Am => A5

We can't build a power chord on the 7th scale degree of major, because the fifth we need - f# - isn't part of the C major scale. In other words, since the 7th scale degree chord is a diminished chord (Bdim), it's neither the major chord nor the minor chord, so we can't replace it with B5. We could play a "modified power chord", where we lower the 5th half a step (1 fret) just as it is in Bdim (except that it wouldn't be a power chord then wink.gif). Or we could ignore the rules and try out B5 for effect anyway smile.gif Or leave it out.

C5, D5, E5, F5, G5, A5, (n/a)

For E natural minor, the basic chord list is:

Em, F#dim, G, Am, Bm, C, D

The power chords would then be:

E5, (n/a), G5, A5, B5, C5, D5

Once again, since this second chord is a diminished chord, we can't substitute it with a power chord and stay within the scale.

Basically, to find the power chords usable for a scale, you simply use each note in the scale as root note. If the scale is major, you have to leave out the 7th scale degree chord. If it's minor, you have to leave out the 2nd scale degree chord.
megadeth1117
QUOTE (Kaneda @ Aug 8 2007, 05:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The power chords leave the third out, which means that they're neither major chords, nor minor chords - or you can think of them as being both. Since they're leaving notes out - not adding any - and since all notes of our full chords belong to the scale, their equivalent power chords will belong to the scale too.

Which means, yes it goes for power chords too. E and Em would be substituted with the same power chord: E5. Since we're interested in power chords, we ignore the embellishments we can add (i.e. Em7)

So, for C major (the example Andrew gave above):

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim

C => C5
Dm => D5
Em => E5
F => F5
G => G5
Am => A5

We can't build a power chord on the 7th scale degree of major, because the fifth we need - f# - isn't part of the C major scale. In other words, since the 7th scale degree chord is a diminished chord (Bdim), it's neither the major chord nor the minor chord, so we can't replace it with B5. We could play a "modified power chord", where we lower the 5th half a step (1 fret) just as it is in Bdim (except that it wouldn't be a power chord then wink.gif). Or we could ignore the rules and try out B5 for effect anyway smile.gif Or leave it out.

C5, D5, E5, F5, G5, A5, (n/a)

For E natural minor, the basic chord list is:

Em, F#dim, G, Am, Bm, C, D

The power chords would then be:

E5, (n/a), G5, A5, B5, C5, D5

Once again, since this second chord is a diminished chord, we can't substitute it with a power chord and stay within the scale.

Basically, to find the power chords usable for a scale, you simply use each note in the scale as root note. If the scale is major, you have to leave out the 7th scale degree chord. If it's minor, you have to leave out the 2nd scale degree chord.


oh, i see

thanks for the clearing up, i think i get it now
Saoirse O'Shea
As ever a great piece Andrew and Kaneda.

For those who might be interested have a look at this just for the curious.

Placed elsewhere as I don't want o detract and/or confuse.

Cheers,
Tony
FretDancer69
a question Andrew, lets say im writing a song in Guitar Pro in the key of D

does that mean that i should change the Key Signature in GP to D Major and then use the chords you mentioned or should i just use the chords right away without changing anything in the time signature?
Andrew Cockburn
That really comes down to notation -

In GP if you give it the wrong time sig, the notes will still be correct (assuming you enter them on the tab section) but in the music section you will end up with many more sharps and flats than if you put in the correct key signature.
FretDancer69
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Dec 30 2007, 07:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That really comes down to notation -

In GP if you give it the wrong time sig, the notes will still be correct (assuming you enter them on the tab section) but in the music section you will end up with many more sharps and flats than if you put in the correct key signature.



but the chords will sound different right?.. im so confused... arent tehy supposed to sound just like when you grab your guitar and play themm..??
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Dec 30 2007, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
but the chords will sound different right?.. im so confused... arent tehy supposed to sound just like when you grab your guitar and play themm..??


If you put them in on the tab as you play them, they will sound the same yes, they will just be written differently.

If you are in the key of C, but play a chord of A major, it is the notes A, C#, E.

On the Stave, you would put the notes A, C, E, but you would have to add an accidental sharp for the C to show that it is really a C#.

Now, if you put in the key signature for A (3 sharps), the C would automatically be sharpened by the key signature, so you wouldn't need to include the accidental.

In both cases you are playing the same notes, but writing them differently.

Now, in the above I am not making any assumptions that we are staying within the key for the notes we are using - perhaps that is what you were getting at?
FretDancer69
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Dec 30 2007, 02:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you put them in on the tab as you play them, they will sound the same yes, they will just be written differently.

If you are in the key of C, but play a chord of A major, it is the notes A, C#, E.

On the Stave, you would put the notes A, C, E, but you would have to add an accidental sharp for the C to show that it is really a C#.

Now, if you put in the key signature for A (3 sharps), the C would automatically be sharpened by the key signature, so you wouldn't need to include the accidental.

In both cases you are playing the same notes, but writing them differently.

Now, in the above I am not making any assumptions that we are staying within the key for the notes we are using - perhaps that is what you were getting at?



well, since you're adding flats/sharps when using different keys, i thought that the chords should and would sound differently when played in different keys, the problem now, is that that sounds like a tuning, and its not like that. If you grab the guitar, the chord can only sound 1 way unless its tuned differently. But if notes are altered (sharps/flats) then i think the notes affected have to change of sound.. is that right?... unsure.gif unsure.gif unsure.gif unsure.gif
Hisham Al-Sanea
good work and explanation for GMC,ers Andrew
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Dec 30 2007, 03:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
well, since you're adding flats/sharps when using different keys, i thought that the chords should and would sound differently when played in different keys, the problem now, is that that sounds like a tuning, and its not like that. If you grab the guitar, the chord can only sound 1 way unless its tuned differently. But if notes are altered (sharps/flats) then i think the notes affected have to change of sound.. is that right?... unsure.gif unsure.gif unsure.gif unsure.gif


Its just notation - a chord of D major sounds the same in any key and always consists of the exact same 3 notes - D, F# and A, how you write it changes - not least because D major doesn't appear as part of the chords for a scale in every scale, only the scales that have D, F# and A in them. Of course you can play a chord of D major in any context, and it will always be the same notes.
FretDancer69
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Dec 30 2007, 04:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Its just notation - a chord of D major sounds the same in any key and always consists of the exact same 3 notes - D, F# and A, how you write it changes - not least because D major doesn't appear as part of the chords for a scale in every scale, only the scales that have D, F# and A in them. Of course you can play a chord of D major in any context, and it will always be the same notes.


i see now. Thanks Andrew smile.gif
sam47
This is gonna take me some time to grasp and learn. I just had to look.
The more I look the less I know. Think I'll just strum some random chords for awhile. My brains too full.
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (sam47 @ Dec 30 2007, 08:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is gonna take me some time to grasp and learn. I just had to look.
The more I look the less I know. Think I'll just strum some random chords for awhile. My brains too full.


Theory can do that smile.gif The trick is to start at the beginning and work through it slowly.
FretDancer69
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Dec 30 2007, 07:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Theory can do that smile.gif The trick is to start at the beginning and work through it slowly.


yeah its very confusing at first... but i have a hunger for these stuff, even if it confuses me more at start and after reading it over and over a few times...
Spiderusalem
4 months ago I knew nothing about theory. NOTHING. I didn't even know what an octave was (thought it was some kind of octopus or something). Now I know more about theory than friends that have been studying music for years and years (granted, they weren't working at it very hard). Its because I work with it every day and experiment with it all the time. It pays off I think...
FretDancer69
QUOTE
Finally B. Our notes are B, D and F. B to D is a minor 3rd, and B to D is a a diminished 5th - that relationship of notes makes our triad D diminished.


Hey Andrew.. i think that theres a mistake there.. im not sure.

B to D IS a minor third, but then again you're repeating (see underlined quote) the same interval but saying its a Diminished 5th? Dont you mean D to F? but that isnt a Diminished 5th either... its a minor 3rd as well!


Maybe the Diminished 5th that you mean is B to F perhaps..?

Can you explain please
DeepRoots
QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Feb 27 2008, 09:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe the Diminished 5th that you mean is B to F perhaps..?

Im fairly sure that is what Andrew meant as B to F is a diminished 5th interval.
FretDancer69
QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Feb 27 2008, 03:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Im fairly sure that is what Andrew meant as B to F is a diminished 5th interval.


so its a mistake by andrew? (B to D = diminished)

DeepRoots
QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Feb 27 2008, 09:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
so its a mistake by andrew? (B to D = diminished)


hey i dont want to say that out loud wink.gif

but yes you were correct B to D is a minor third, then D to F is another minor third. B to F is a dimished 5th.

Those three notes make up a diminished chord. Stack another minor third on top of the F (F->G#) and you have a dim7. So keep stacking up minor thirds on top of eachother.
FretDancer69
QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Feb 27 2008, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
hey i dont want to say that out loud wink.gif

but yes you were correct B to D is a minor third, then D to F is another minor third. B to F is a dimished 5th.

Those three notes make up a diminished chord. Stack another minor third on top of the F (F->G#) and you have a dim7. So keep stacking up minor thirds on top of eachother.


Yeah ok just making sure.

But theres something that bothers me, its the following:

At the start of the lesson, Andew said that the general chords used were:

I, IIm7, IIIm7, IVmaj7, V7, VIm, VIIdim

And we worked through the scale and figured out those chords.

Now, when he mentioned that the same rules applied to minor scales (And used A minor as an example), the list is way different:

Im, IIdim, III, IVm7, Vm7, VImaj7, VII7

Why is this?

The obvious answer would be that its because we are working with minor scales now, but can you please explain me why exactly the chords are changed?
DeepRoots
sure wink.gif

now first before reading this i want you to look back at the to formulae and see if they really are different?

......


To help explain this im going to go into relative minors okay:

C major has these notes : C-D-E-F-G-A-B

its relative minor (A minor) has these notes : A-B-C-D-E-F-G

same notes- different order smile.gif

Now look at those chord formulas- they contain the same rules but in a different order:

I, IIm7, IIIm7, IVmaj7, V7, VIm, VIIdim

Im, IIdim, III, IVm7, Vm7, VImaj7, VII7

Like the relative minors this is the same set of rules but the second starts at the 6th degree and follows the rule.
(ignore the numbers I, II III etc, just look at what type of chord the degrees turn into)

this might be a bit more clear:

major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, dim ---> repeat but start at 6th

minor, dim, major, minor, minor, major, major.

I didnt include the 7ths of the chords there for simplicity.

Is that clearer?
FretDancer69
yes it is clear. Excellent smile.gif , thanks for taking your time man, smile.gif
DeepRoots
QUOTE (FretDancer69 @ Feb 27 2008, 10:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yes it is clear. Excellent smile.gif , thanks for taking your time man, smile.gif

you know i dont mind man. any time wink.gif
Andrew Cockburn
All I can say is, well done fretdancer for spotting a mistake, and well done Deep Roots for explaining it all smile.gif
mattacuk
Well I must say that this lesson is just fantastic smile.gif

Extrememly well prepared and presented in an easy to understand format - Very well done Andrew wink.gif
skennington
Well I just spent the last 45 min. reading this thread and I can say, I'm ready to read it again. Alot said here guys. Questions are answered befor they arise! Well put together once again Andrew. By no means is it clear to me at this point but I can now start to understand. I want to know all I can now about the theory behind playing guitar. I've learned ton's here at GMC the last 6 mo. but theory has been my shortcoming. Not anymore! Thanks guys! smile.gif

Steve
Andrew Cockburn
As Obi Wan Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker - "You've just taken your first step into a larger universe" smile.gif

Take it slowly and it will all make sense eventually, and of course ask questions!
Pi38
I'm very confused, but I'm sure that I'll catch on after reading it a few more times.
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (Pi38 @ May 28 2008, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm very confused, but I'm sure that I'll catch on after reading it a few more times.


Be my guest - then make sure you ask about anything you are comfused about smile.gif
kjutte
Diminished : 1,b3,dim5
Augmented : 1,3,aug5

Shouldn't this be half aug and half dim, due to the fact that it has a maj 3 for aug, and min3 for dim? smile.gif
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (kjutte @ Aug 26 2008, 11:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Diminished : 1,b3,dim5
Augmented : 1,3,aug5

Shouldn't this be half aug and half dim, due to the fact that it has a maj 3 for aug, and min3 for dim? smile.gif


Sorry, not sure what you mean - that's 2 different chord types you pulled out there, one is Diminished the other is augmented ...
kjutte
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Aug 27 2008, 01:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, not sure what you mean - that's 2 different chord types you pulled out there, one is Diminished the other is augmented ...


I ment that a fully diminished chord would be R dim3 dim5, and a fully augmented be R aug3 aug5, no?

Beacuse I know that R b3 dim5 = half diminished.
Tolek
No, kjutte. The fully augmented chord is like this: root Maj3 Aug5. What you said (R aug3 aug5) would sound like an inversion of the minor chord from the 3rd aug. Example: C | E aug | G aug = C | F | Ab = F | Ab | C. You see?
The same for the diminished ones. Chords are fully diminished when their 5th is dimished. Not the third which has to be minor in a diminished chord.
Emir Hot
Root, b3, b5 = diminished (dim)
Root, b3, b5, bb7 = diminished 7 (dim7)
Root, b3, b5, b7 = half diminished or half diminished 7 (m7-5 or m7b5 - locrian)

kjutte
QUOTE (Emir Hot @ Aug 30 2008, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Root, b3, b5 = diminished (dim)
Root, b3, b5, bb7 = diminished 7 (dim7)
Root, b3, b5, b7 = half diminished or half diminished 7 (m7-5 or m7b5 - locrian)


yes, but whwat about the augmented ones?
Emir Hot
Augmented chords:

1, b3, #5 (m+5)
1, b3, #5, b7 (min7+5 or min7#5)
1, b3, #5, 7 (min/maj7+5)
1, 3, #5 (+5 or just aug)
1, 3, #5, 7 (maj7+5)
1, 3, #5, b7 (7+5)
Andrew Cockburn
QUOTE (kjutte @ Aug 30 2008, 08:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yes, but whwat about the augmented ones?


Actually he's right - a basic augmented triad is always R, maj3, Aug5

If you play with the 3rd you will end up with something different. It will still be a triad of some sort but we only have names for 5 different basic types - Major, Minor, Diminished, Augmented, and Suspended (SUS2 & SUS4)

With diminished, there is only one type of basic diminished chord - R, min3, dim5. With diominished, you can add notes to get different flavours that are named as Emir said, but are always based on that triad. It is the 3 notes of the triad that determine the basic chord type.
kjutte
QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Aug 30 2008, 03:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually he's right - a basic augmented triad is always R, maj3, Aug5

If you play with the 3rd you will end up with something different. It will still be a triad of some sort but we only have names for 5 different basic types - Major, Minor, Diminished, Augmented, and Suspended (SUS2 & SUS4)

With diminished, there is only one type of basic diminished chord - R, min3, dim5. With diominished, you can add notes to get different flavours that are named as Emir said, but are always based on that triad. It is the 3 notes of the triad that determine the basic chord type.


Ok. I was really confused about the dim / half dim thing.
I thought:

Half dim: R b3 dim5
Dim: R dim3 dim5

But we cleared that up. biggrin.gif
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