## Building Chords Part I, The Major Chord

### Building Chords Part I, The Major Chord

What is a chord?

Well, we know what a note is, right?

A chord is 3 or more notes played together. On the piano, they are commonly referred to as triads.

Just like the circle of fifths and determining the key of a song, the "magic" of it all goes away with just a bit of understanding.

We know that the notes of the C Major scale are as follows:

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

Let's number them.

1)C
2)D
3)E
4)F
5)G
6)A
7)B
8 )C

The major chord is achieved by playing the 1st, 3rd, & 5th notes of the major scale together; in this case, C-E-G.

Let's put this theory to the test with a couple of tangible examples. The C chord is formed as follows:

<String> @ <Fret> = <Note>

E @ 0 = E
B @ 1 = C
G @ 0 = G
D @ 2 = E
A @ 3 = C
E @ 0 = E *

Many folks, myself included, choose to fret the lower E on the third. That would = G, and while it is often referred to as C/G or C (G Bass), you can see why it still works.

How about another. F. I'll even go barred.

1) F
2) G
3) A
4) Bb
5) C
6) D
7) E
8 ) F

E @ 1 = F
B @ 1 = C
G @ 2 = A
D @ 3 = F
A @ 3 = C
E @ 1 = F

There are really three basic forms of the major chords on the guitar. And when I refer to these, I'm referring to the root version. There is the E form. An open E is the same chord form as the barred F shown above. What you are in effect doing when you barre a chord is moving the nut up the neck. Think of the nut as a barre at fret 0. The other two forms are the A and the C. Many folks don't realize that the D is actually the C form. The open notes allow us to cheat on having to fill out that form. Try this to prove it. Play the D like this.

E @ 2
B @ 3
G @ 2 Tip: Use your first finger to barre the 2nd fret.
D @ 4
A @ 5

That's a D chord, now looking a lot more like the C form.

Here's where I'm going. If you take some time to study the above thoughts on building a major chord to the three forms of the same chord going up the neck, you'll see that you can find inventive ways to play chords. These different approaches are often referred to as voicings.

Now, I deal with this a lot on the site. An F is an F......or is it. If you're told to play an F, whatever position you choose to play it in will be technically correct. However, the voicing of the position you play may produce a slightly different sound that suggests that one is better than another. Maybe the best example I can give you of this is Jack Straw. Go to that tab on the web site and look at the intro chords E & Esus4. You could play them in the first position, and it would be technically correct. But if you play it using the voicing shown there, it produces a hollower sound, one you'd have to agree sounds a lot better......much like the Europe 72 versions.

ebick
Senior Member

Posts: 1245
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:34 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Could you please explain suspended chords and slash chords. When you
get a chance. Thank you.
kid

I'm trying to take it slow to build a good foundation for beginners to music theory and fill in the gaps for the self-taughts who might know some of this, but not necsessarily how it all fits together. Part II will focus on some of the more common departures from the Major chord, then perhaps, we can talk about some more advanced chords.

ebick
Senior Member

Posts: 1245
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:34 am
Location: Orlando, FL

### hey

allright so this stuff is useful for me, but my real question is a little more basic

C is C D E F G A B C

but other than that i dont know any other one by heart

what are easy ways to remember the notes in every major scale?

whole whole half whole whole whole half?

any way you can make me understand exactly why F has a Bb in it would help me so much. I am one of the self taught learners and i have many cracks to fill

ryan
guestguestthe11

Did you read the posting "Circle Of 5ths?" That explains why an F has a Bb.

ebick
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:34 am
Location: Orlando, FL

yup i did that just after posting and it does make sense. it's just because of the whole and half steps combined with where we start on the scale no?

so let me try and do some stuff here, im gunna attempt to teach myself and others some basic things that i am just learning as I type. W and H below stands for whole or half step. am i right in what follows? please correct as needed

C= C D E F G A B C
W W H W W W H

G= G A B C D E F# G
W W H W W W H

D= D E F# G A B C# D
W W H W W W H

A= A B C# D E F# G# A
W W H W W W H

E= E F# G# A B C# D# E
W W H W W W H

the way i did this was simply to put all the letters of the scale there without any sharps, then put WWH WWWH in and added sharps based on the way it lined up. maybe i should have put this in the circle of 5th thread. oh well.

if I am mistaken let me know and if I am not mistaken letting me know would help too:)

ryan

edited to say i checked and yes i appear to be correct. I am the type of learner who just blindly reading it isnt enough, typing it out like this really helps me. sorry for being selfish with your bandwidth
"wonder who will water all the children of the garden when they sigh about the barren lack of rain and droop so hungry 'neath the sky, ahhhh -ayyyy"
the11
Wall of Sound

Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 11:40 am

Looks like you've got it.

ebick
Senior Member

Posts: 1245
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 7:34 am
Location: Orlando, FL