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Lessons: 4
Karma: 5


by bodom

26 Jul 2007
Views: 38984

Hey folks Im back again with another lesson. Before you read this one, you should read my KEYS lesson first. Yep this one is on chords. Ok Im going to use the same chart I did last time but a little different. Before I had Major minor minor etc now I am just going to use roman numerals. Capital ones stand for Major and lower case stand for minor. Ok so here is the chart again.

Key I ii iii IV V vi vii b5
G G A B C D E F#
D D E F# G A B C#
A A B C# D E F# G#
E E F# G# A B C# D#
B B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# F# G# A# B C# D# E#
C# C# D# E# F# G# A# B#

F F G A Bb C D E
Bb Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Ab Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Gb Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
Cb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb

Ok so from this we can find the notes and chords in a certain Key. Now I am going to show you how the chords are formed and why the fit into certain Keys.

Chord formulas
Ok like I said before in my last lesson chords are just a group of notes played together. But what notes? Well there is a formula that tells you what notes are in the chord. You should memorize these formulas. These are the formulas for basic Major and minor chords.

Major 1 3 5
minor 1 b3 5

b stands for flat and # stands for sharp

Great now what do the numbers stand for? Look at the first chart again. Remember how there are seven distinct notes that make up the Key? Example Key of C the seven distict notes are C,D,E,F,G,A,B well the formula is telling you what notes make up the chord. For a C major chord you play the 1st 3rd and 5th note of that Key. So the notes are C,E,G. For C minor the notes are the 1st b3rd and 5th so the notes are C,D#,G.

So remember the Major minor minor Major Major minor minorb5 on the last chart well now I switched it to I ii iii IV V vi vii b5 to make it easier to see the number of the notes in the Key. And now we can see why each chord is in that Key. So lets do the key of C lets see why the first two chords fit in that Key.

First chord is C major

formula for Major? 1 3 5

Now go to the Key of C And look at the 1st 3rd and 5th notes C,E,G
So the notes are C,E,G now are these notes in the key of C?
Notes in Key of C= C,D,E,F,G,A,B Yep!!

Second chord is D minor

formula for minor? 1 b3 5

Now go to the Key of D And look at the 1st b3rd and 5th notes
notes in D = D,E,F#,G,A,B,C# make sure to flatten the 3rd

So the notes are D,F,A. Are they in the Key of C?
Notes in Key of C= C,D,E,F,G,A,B Yep!!

Now I will show you why C minor is NOT in the key of C

formula for minor? 1 b3 5

Notes are C,D,E,F,G,A,B Flatten the 3rd so the E becomes a D# note which is not in the Key of C.

Now why D Major is NOT in the key of C

formula for Major? 1 3 5

Key of D= D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#
Are they in the key of C? Nope!! the F# note is not in the key of C so D major is not in this Key.

Ok thats it, well not really there are alot more chords out there but they work the same way, just different formulas I will list a few below for you. If you have any questions or corrections just let me know.

Major 1 3 5
minor 1 b3 5
Major 7th 1 3 5 7
7th 1 3 5 b7
minor 7th 1 b3 5 b7
Augmented 1 3 #5
Diminished 1 b3 b5



this is a nice lesson that answers a lot of questions asked on the forum:D


hey man.......u r really doin a great job...........seriouzly.....for all dis time.i cund't get idea about keys and chords in it..but dese lessons are really helping out.....THANX BUDDY!!


one minor correction, I don't mean to nitpick, but it really confused me, when you first start talking about conversion from major to minor you listed c minor as C F# G, when its reaqlly C D# G, i was trying to figure out the flat third, later in the lesson, you listed correctly, all your lessons however have greatly helped me, thank you


Hey thanks, Sorry I didnt catch that on the review. I will send an email so I can have it fixed so there is no more confussion.


DO u know where i can get the potition of the notes c,d,e,g etc. I'm still a noob and i was trained classically and i'm a total 0 for the PoP.


Not too sure what you are asking? Do you just want a picture of all the notes on the fretboard? If thats the case then just go to the scales page and look at the chromatic scale. Or the C major scale would show the notes C,D,E,F,G,A,B. If this wasnt your question then yeah not sure what you asked at all :P sorry.


wow this helped a lot, i never really knew what agumented really ment but this opened my eyes


Added to my favorites. Very nice lesson.


Man of all the stuff I have been trying to learn. Of all the lessons and diagrams out there that ive seen. This is by far the easiest to understand. Simple and effective lesson. Thankyou for opening a door of perception for my learning. Well done!



It's C, Eb, G. I've explained this in a lesson before >.<


wouldn't the end result be a C minor chord anyways?


yes, but you are not following the rules of 3rds >.< A minor is root, flat 3, 5. A flat 3 is not d# >.<


okay, that's what I thought(about a flat 3rd affecting the actual transcribed note). Now I know! ha


It also affects the way notes are written on the staff. C D# G is wrong since writing the scale on staff would give you C[1] D[2] D#[3]......etc
The D & D# would be on the same line on the staff. You should try to never have 2 notes on the same line unless you have a chromatic run. That's why some times you may see B written as Cb or E as Fb. If you look at almost every scale it will be written with all notes in order C D E F G A B C with sharps and flats.


What is the formula for a suspended chord? Always bothers me that I can't find it.


Sus2 =Root-2-5 Sus4= Root-4-5. You can find this on the guitar chords generator. Just scroll to the bottom of the list. You will also find Sus2sus4=Root-2-4-5


This is one of the best lessons I have read. I feel like I can understand what a key is and now how the chords of the key fix in. It make sense. Now I need help hearing it. I have not done any ear training before and I want to. I have tried to lissen to see what key something is in and I can never figure it out. Next goals are to learn to hear the key and possible to start transcribing once I can hear better.

Does any know a good lesson for this?


I have been playing with some guys that use the weird tuning DAEAAe . Been racking my brain on making chords that sound right in this certain tuning. Anybody know of a chord chart that exist of this tuning so I can do it the easy way ?


close ... its ^^ more a TRIAD thang though ^^ I'd urge al y'all ta think of a 'chord' (Tri's = elementary chords BUT nonetheless lets pour fuel on the fire) .. some nitwit screwed thangs up eons ago and gave us this :
1 = 1 3 5
1st Inv -= 3 5 1
2nd inv = (wow ya guessed it) 5 1 3 ...y a w n
woulda saved me years of staggered explinations to students of all skillgroups ta juss make it
1 = 1 3 5 ... 2 = 3 5 1 yadda ya dda yadda BUT i do still try and avoid thinking this *(THOUGH IT MAY HELP Y O U ) ...hint

adding the 7 (or 6 etc) to the/a Tri adds Mo-Flavor and all that happy horse* BUT

Like that goofy 'lets construct a "solo" wit "modes" ' folks get way way way to wrapped up in theory rather than sound.

Heres a fun way to spend a few years

all that 1 3 5 - 1 b3 5 ...then 1 b3 5 7 etc-etc stuff is great and fun and all that when done well. (not 'correctly , ...'well')

1st learn every single position to play all inversions of say , er um G ( and G- Gaug etc) then learn the rest of those suckers ... all of em top ta bottom. leatn WHY ya wanna 'lead w/ the 3rd(or min3rd)-5th and so forth and how when and why they compliment "the chord my friend is playing in his git"
IE: Jim-bob is playing an F#m Barre why does this A TRi leading w/ 3 sound so sweet?) (low tab = 9 7 7 xxx) why does a CM6 (x3221x) work so well w/ that 2nd Inv) 5 1 b3 Bm Triad? and why does it melt into that GM7(which doth contain a 2nd inv Bmin Tri)
Its THIS stuff that will grow ya

.....riffage follows

but i digress
IF i have learned anything in the past 43 years of professional playing and the hellish 20yrs f teaching .. it is THIS

Triad = IT .... all else follows this



sorry ...
(above C6 should = DM6 5442

IE: Jim-bob is playing an F#m Barre why does this A TRi leading w/ 3 sound so sweet?) (low tab = 9 7 7 xxx) why does a DM6 (x5443x) work so well w/ that 2nd Inv) 5 1 b3 Bm Triad? and why does it melt into that GM7(which doth contain a 1st & 2nd inv Bmin Tri)
poor typing ... another reason i quit posting on these thangs

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