What Classifies A Chord As Major Or Minor

Learn Guitar, 1 Glass at a time

What Classifies A Chord As Major Or Minor

June 1, 2016 Simple Theory 2

Answer: There is just 1 note difference between a Major and Minor chord. The 3rd.

Question: The 3rd what? 

Answer: “The 3rd note from the scale that the chord comes from. All major and minor chords are only made of 3 notes. These notes are taken from a scale” – Anonymous


A Longer Explanation.

A Major Chord

The A Major Scale has the following notes (why? I’ll explain in a different post)

A B C# D E F# G#

Chords are made of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale.

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

Those 3 notes when played on a guitar look like this

A

And it sounds happy.

A Minor Chord

The A Minor Scale has the following notes (why? I’ll explain in a different post)

A B C D E F G

As we know, chords are made of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale.

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

Those 3 notes when played on a guitar look like this

Am

And it sounds sad. Incredible how 1 teeny notes difference can affect the whole feeling behind a chord!

Question: Do I need to know all my scales to learn my chords?

Answer: Hell no, you don’t need to know any of them. Just learn all the major and minor chords, 1 or two at a time, within the context of learning a song.

Learning theory always opens more questions to more theory! And all of it is incredibly interesting.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, me again. Just a friendly suggestion to update the short answer to something like this:

    “The 3rd note from the scale that the chord comes from. All major and minor chords are only made of 3 notes. These notes are taken from a scale”.

    A beginner who doesn’t read past the short answer to where you explain full might get confused!

    Great site btw :)

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