If you need some help with Sequence of notes or Interval naming – naming the sequence of notes in terms of minor 3rd, perfect 4th, major 6th etc, please watch this video : Note sequence and Interval names . Understand and master chords using The chord code

If you are not familiar with naming of chords or how to form them from the sequence of notes, this series of posts will help you.
 
Maybe you have tried to look at the web before and found that different people treat the subject in different ways. Tell me if these posts help you.

4 basic chord types – the 4 Triads

Major chord, minor chord, augmented chord and diminished chord each are played with just three notes – hence called triads.

Major chord : Root – major 3rd – 5th

Suppose we want the C major chord.

Start with C as the root. Find the major 3rd of C (E). Find the fifth of C (G)

C major chord = C E G

If we look at the sequence of notes : C C# D D # E F F# G… etc,

Major scale is made of Root – 5th note of the sequence – 8th note of the sequence

Minor chord : Root – minor 3rd – 5th

Suppose we want the C minor chord.

Start with C as the root. Find the minor 3rd of C (Eb). Find the fifth of C (G)

C minor scale = C Eb G

If we look at the sequence of notes : C C# D D # E F F# G… etc,

Major scale is made of Root – 4th note of the sequence – 8th note of the sequence

Major and minor – Chord or scale – the One Note

A scale or chord is minor if the third note in the associated scale is a minor 3rd.

A scale or chord is major if the third note in the associated scale is a major 3rd.

Changing a minor chord to major and vice versa

Any major chord is formed of : root, major third and fifth (the interval names with respect to the root)

C major chord has the notes : C E G

C is the root, E is major third, G is fifth

Any minor chord is formed of : root, minor 3rd, fifth

So to get a C minor chord, all we have to do is change the major third note to minor third note

Minor third note is the note just lower in frequency to the major third note. Use the sequence of notes to find the note that comes one before the major third – that will be the minor third note.

In C major chord, E is the major third note. One note before E is Eb (or D#).

So C minor chord has the notes : C Eb G (same as C D# G)

To get a minor chord from a major chord :

  1. identify the root, major third and fifth of the chord
  2. change the major third note to minor third note

To get a major chord from a minor chord :

  1. identify the root, minor third and fifth
  2. change the minor third note to major third. major third is the note that comes just after the minor chord note in the sequence of notes.

Augmented and Diminished

Augmented chord : Root – major 3rd – sharp 5th (minor 6th note)

Diminished chord : Root – minor 3rd – flat 5th (sharp 4th note)

Augmented chord

root – major 3rd – sharp 5th

Augmented chord is a major chord with the fifth sharpened

e.g. C Augmented chord

We know that the C Major chord has the notes : C – E – G (root – major3rd – fifth)

Sharpen the fifth of a major chord and we have the corresponding augmented chord.

Fifth of C major chord is G. Sharp of G is G#.

So C Augmented has the notes : C E G#

Diminished chord

root – minor 3rd – flat fifth

Diminished chord is a minor chord with the fifth flattened.

e.g. C Diminished chord

To get a diminished chord, take the corresponding minor chord and flatten the fifth note.

C Minor chord has the notes C Eb G (root – minor 3rd – fifth)

Flatten the fifth; flatten the G to get Gb

So C Diminished chord has the notes : C Eb Gb

Practice

Make a note of the relationship between the four chords. Practice them on your guitar, piano or whatever your instrument be.

 

Finding the augmented or diminished from the major or minor is one easy way.

Instead you could remember the positions for the chords on the guitar, remember where the root is and keep shifting the pattern.

Or you can just directly find the notes each time from the interval name and note sequence.

Find what works for you and learn them contextually, in relation with other elements in the bigger picture of your musical needs.

Thanks to Aswani Kumar Kancherla for some valuable suggestions and feedback.

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