Basic Theory of a Chord in as Short and Simple as possible

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by Vader, Nov 1, 2011.


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  1. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Ok so here goes
    in as short and as simple as possible with references to intervals and counting notes

    i've written this in as simple language as possible in hopes that even a beginner would be able to understand it

    Chord theory:
    There are two types of chords dyads and triads
    Lets take the C Major scale for example
    C D E F G A B C (lets say our C is at 100 Hz)
    Since its a major scale all notes are referenced to as diatonic notes
    D=M2 (major second)
    E=M3 (major third)
    and so on
    however F G and high C (200Hz) will be denoted by P4 P5 and P8 called perfect notes cause they do not require a third note to complete the chord
    now comes the fun part

    to make a dyad all you have to do is play the root note C (since its the scale of C) and any ONE of these three notes
    (dyad means two note chord)
    your standard power chords like A5 C5 are made using this.. they are just the root note with the P5 in that scale

    now moving on to triads
    for this you will have to know your notes

    Counting notes:
    when I move from C to C# its called a half step or semi tone and denoted by h (one fret on the guitar)
    and from C to D is called wholetone or wholestep (two frets on the guitar)
    [quarter is what we drink :p]

    in music there is no E# or B# so distance between E and F or B and C would be a halfstep whereas for any other diatonic note it would be a wholestep(w)

    There are four types of triads

    Triad means three notes
    So the following formulae apply to make a chord

    Maj- 1+2w+1.5w
    1 is your root note
    So your CMaj chord would have the notes C,(C+2w),(C+3.5w)
    Which is C E G

    Min- 1+1.5w+2w
    Therefore Cm will have the notes C D# G

    Dim- 1+1.5w+1.5w
    Therefore Cdim will have the notes C D# F#

    Aug- 1+2w+2w
    Therefore Caug will have the notes C E G#

    Now you can play power,major,minor,aug and diminished chords without having to refer a chord chart!
    raga2303 likes this.
  2. komal29

    komal29 New Member

    what an awsome lesson..i almost understood..though not entirely..i will read it again n again till i a bit detail oriented but always start off with summaries like this to understand something..summaries ignites questions in me..thats my brains wierd way of thinking/learning..he he he

    anyways thanks a lot..
    :) Komal
  3. raga2303

    raga2303 Member

    Cool.. Appreciate the hard work.. I will add reps for you..
  4. Vader

    Vader New Member

    To all...

    you can pm me to ask your doubts (but preferably just reply to this thread cause i dont check my msgs too often)

    you are also welcome to post anything here that i may have missed out about basic chord theory

    Keep Rocking :)
  5. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Like I said …you are more than welcome to ask questions :)

    Anytime :)
    I didnt overload the thread with details cause it would cause a lot of confusion for beginners
    And this thread was requested by a person just starting guitar so I didn’t wanna put him off
  6. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Cheers dude :)
    (even though a don’t know what a rep is or does :p)

    I appreciate your appreciation :)
  7. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Feedback is appreciated too
    I made it easier for you'll to give feedback via the poll if you dont wish to post
    will give me a reference point for any future lessond :)
  8. komal29

    komal29 New Member

    okey dokey
  9. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    well let my try hope you get this...

    a chord is nothing but playing more than 1 note together...

    there are 3 types of chords diads,triads and 4 note chord...for guitar for piano there are 7note chords also...

    i will start with triads...
    For chords you need to have a strong scale theory

    Here's a formula for major scales
    w=whole note
    h=half note.
    (a to b= whole note)
    (a to a#=half note)
    (b to c#=whole note coz 'c' doesnt have a flat)(in whole note there should be a gap of 1 note whereas in half note there should nt be any gap between the notes.,as in the note nxt to it) and so on and so forth
    for eg if you want to know the chord 'c major'
    then first write the 'c' major scale notes
    first start writing the scale with that particular note only .over here 'c'
    by applying the formula
    c- d-e- f-g-a- b|c
    1-2-3-4-5-6-7 |c

    c to c is one octave
    here according to the formula


    so take the alternate notes from the 'c major scale i.e (c-e-g)(1-3-5) this is nothing bt c major chord (triad or 3 note chord) if a add the 6 note i.e(c-e-g-a)it will become cmaj6 or c major 6th chord,...
    same with all the other notes

    coming to minor scales
    same as major scale just flattened the 3 rd ,6th and 7th note
    then cminor would be
    c-eb-gb,...and cmin6 c-eb-gb-a
    Vader likes this.
  10. komal29

    komal29 New Member

    this thread is super-teaching! [my own word! :)]..
    experts please..some more lessons..
  11. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    hey komal ...m sorry 4 the layla thread...i will be posting some comments after completing my 2nd internal exams ...for the mean time to play a 7 note chord....its too simple ...just play a 3 note with one hand and a 4 note with the other...but then the notes should match wont be consider a 7 note ...
  12. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    half diminish is a 3note chord whereas full diminish is a 4 note ...there are advance chords also...but they are not used in regular will need them in playing jazz....for eg Bm7b5...which is called Bminor 7 flat 5...this means in Bminor7 chord flat the 5th note....i know its bit tricky ...will explain you later...oye you wont get this info's everywhere...i gotta pay me fees ;)
  13. komal29

    komal29 New Member many sorry r u r gonna keep saying?..u dont know how mean are some ppl to others just coz this is an open forum not worrying about looking bad..[read some replies to my posts to know]..frankly am still trying to figure out to what exactly are u asking sorry for
  14. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Dude i cant believe you actually took the time to do this
    *Double thumbs up*
  15. Vader

    Vader New Member

    why not play all four with the same hand
    Pinky Rules!!!
  16. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    ya you can play all four with the same hand.....but atmost you can play a 7 note chord...that is playing 7 notes together in a may say that if you hold a four note with one hand and another four note with the will land up to 8 note chord...but thats not so..some of the notes will be in unison or in octaves so you cant consider the repeated note...:)...ya vader it was difficult to write so much...moreover m using my old n73 mobile and browsing thru mobile only...and after writing 4 to 5 pages..(1 page=160 character) becomes too slow..i complete typing a whole sentence and i see nothing is displayed in the screen and suddenly after 5seconds the typed characters get displayed on the screen at once ...hehe
  17. Vader

    Vader New Member

    i didnt really get this
    i've never come across chords requiring 7 notes
    its normally four notes with two notes repeated
    then again thats why i called it basic chord theory :p
    also i dont really play blues or jazz that much
  18. Vader

    Vader New Member

    I appreciate this
    reps added
  19. Vader

    Vader New Member

    Basic Theory of a Chord II

    Before i Continue...
    I will be refering to Intervals in music
    Now that you know how to count notes
    all you need to do is know this chart

    Semitones Interval
    0 Unison
    1 flat 2nd
    2 2nd
    3 minor 3rd
    4 major 3rd
    5 perfect 4th
    6 flat 5th (diminished 5th or augmented 4th)
    7 perfect 5th
    8 minor 6th (or sharp 5th/augmented 5th)
    9 major 6th
    10 minor 7th (flat 7th)
    11 major 7th
    12 octave
    13 flat 9th
    14 9th
    15 sharp 9th/minor 10th (just minor 3rd one octave higher)
    16 major 10th (just major 3rd one octave higher)
    17 11th
    18 augmented 11th
    19 perfect 12th (octave above perfect 5th)
    20 flat 13th
    21 13th

    Maj- 1+2w+1.5w
    1 is your root note
    So your CMaj chord would have the notes C,(C+2w),(C+3.5w)
    Which is C E G

    Therefore in Intervals it would be 1-3-5
    As simple as that!!!

    The minor third creates a minor chord whereas major third creates major chord :)
    Now moving on

    Suspended Chords:

    Now you know how to make a major/minor/aug/dim chord...
    But what do you do if you have to play Dsus2? or Asus4?

    The thing to remember here is that the 3rd has been replaced/suspended in your normal formula 1-3-5.

    This note is the 4th for a Xsus4 chord
    or a 2nd for a Xsus2 chord

    Note: With suspended triads you have no 3rd, so the chord is neither major nor

    A suspended 4th triad would be : 1-4-5

    A suspended 2nd triad would be : 1-2-5

    So take A Chord as our example:

    A Major : 1-3-5 = A C# E

    A minor : 1-b3-5 = A C E

    Asus4 : 1-4-5 = A D E

    Asus2 : 1-2-5 = A B E

    you have now learnt how to create major/minor/dim/aug/sus2/sus4 chords on your own!

  20. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    hey people ...i made a mistake...refer to my previous post...for Cminor scales it b3rd, b6th, b7th(flattened notes from the major scale)i.e


    and the chord tones would be C-Eb-G...and not C-Eb-Gb.....btw no one was there to point out my mistake...(maybe no one was interested to read that sh** which i wrote... :(

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