If you study piano with me, you learn and practice chords. Chords are the foundation of all music (except for atonal or very modern pieces). If you were to analyze your music you would find chords in every measure. Therefore, knowing your chords helps you to understand the music which in turn helps you to learn it better and faster. Today I’d like to start with the four basic triads (3-note chords): MAJOR, MINOR, DIMINISHED and AUGMENTED.
They say that music is mathematical and I’d like to show you why. All chords are formed according to specific patterns or formulas.
Click here to watch my demonstration of chord formulas.
Here are the formulas for the four basic triads:
MAJOR: 4 half steps from root to middle note (3rd) , 3 half steps from middle note (3rd) to top note (5th). In C: C E G
MINOR: 3 half steps from root to middle note (flatted 3rd) , 4 half steps from middle note (flatted 3rd) to top note (5th). In C: C E-flat G
DIMINISHED: 3 half steps from root to middle note (flatted 3rd) , 3 half steps from middle note (flatted 3rd) to top note (flatted 5th). In C: C E-flat G-flat
AUGMENTED: 4 half steps from root to middle note (3rd) , 4 half steps from middle note (3rd) to top note (sharp 5th). In C: C E G-sharp
You can use each formula for each of the 12 keys – for example, you can figure out that an A-flat Major chord is A-flat C E-flat by counting the half steps. Try this starting from a few different keys. Watch the video again if it’s not quite making sense yet. Thanks for watching!
With love and music, Gaili
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3 Replies to “Chords”
Nice refresher course, thank you Aimee
hi – I’m struggling with reading the music but now that I’ve purchased the Adults + 50 book I think I’ll get somewhere. ; )
Thanks so much for your kind words William! I hope you find my book helpful. Keep going back to review the pages. Learning to read music is very difficult. Your brain has to get used to a whole new orientation. Be patient and persistent and keep reviewing. Keep us posted on your progress!