Posted by: Corey | February 1, 2012

Learn Music Theory 2 [Building Chords]

English: Chord progressions. Français : Progre...

Image via Wikipedia

Now that we’ve learned about what scales can set us up to do, let’s dive into the world of chords. Here’s how to make a basic one.

1. Pick any note from the scale. Using the D scale that we figured out in scales-the formula, we could pick D, E, F#, G, A, B, or C#. Let’s pick D to start with.

2. Now, go two notes up the scale from your starting note- that will be the next note in your chord. (Two notes up from D lands you on F#)

3. Now, go up two more notes, and that will be the final note of your chord. (from F#,  up two more notes gives us A)

4. Play those three notes at once! (D, F#, A)

It sounds complicated, but once you try it out you’ll see it’s actually REALLY easy to get the hang of.

To prove it, I’m going write out all our chords in D, and show you what it looks like:

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

(D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# etc.)

See that format? Pretty easy.

Notice I’m not building a chord off of the 7th scale note, C#. More on that later. Alright, moving on.

Since D is “Do”, or 1 (like we talked about)- the chord we built off of it is the 1 chord. We use roman numerals, though, so it’s called the “I” chord.

Now each of these chords is either major or minor. (Major if the second note is 2 whole steps from the first, minor if it’s 3 half steps away). If it’s major, it gets an uppercase roman numeral. If it’s minor, it gets a lower case roman numeral.

So our chords are.

I – D (D, F#, A)

ii – Emin (E, G, B)

iii – F#min (F#, A, C#)

IV – G (G, B, D)

V – A (A, C#, E)

vi – Bmin (B, D, F#)

Next, we need to learn what these sound like
Please leave a comment and let me know what’s on your mind!
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Responses

  1. […] learn about these chords, pick a key to plug them into, and you’re good to go! That’s where we’re heading next. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  2. […] Notice I haven’t mentioned a specific key. Once you learn about how these chords work together, they will work together in that same way no matter what key you’re in. This means you don’t have to memorize a ton of scales, or learn about key signatures, or the order of flats and sharps, etc. (even though you should). Just learn about these chords, pick a key to plug them into, and you’re good to go! That’s where we’re heading next. […]


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