Monday, October 30, 2006


Lesson - 57 : Comparison of Chords of Major Vs Harmonic Minor Scales

Having understood the different chords/triads available in both Major Scale and in Harmonic Minor Scale, let us compare them.

The following table is made to have a comprehensive idea of triads of both the Major and Harmonic Minor Scales..!

You can notice from the above table that, only in cases of the Dominant traids and the Leading Note triads, both the chords type matches..!

Remember this point!

Because in case of modulations from a Major Scale to Minor Scale or vice versa, this is one chord, like a railway junction, where both can merge or both can separate after joining...!

All these may look baffling a little bit…for the first timer….!

But, you can appreciate its basically a simple mathematics and simple logics to arrive at them…!

What I am expecting from you initially, is to appreciate the various names of chords of Major scale and Minor scale and their relative characteristics etc.

Also, Try to play these chords in a broken sequence of notes and feel the difference of the major, minor, diminished and augmented chords.

Broken sequence, I mean playing the notes of the chord individually;

for example, play the Chord of C-Major as C, E, and G separately in sequence (we call it broken chords in WCM) and also play them together as C-E-G as a normal chord is played.

When you play a chord, unless you have very sharp ears, the sound of certain notes may get drowned also.

So practice in both way to appreciate the notes and Chord formed by the notes..!

We have made a reasonable starting with our brief encounters with chords like name and their nature etc.

This itself can give you a lot of proud moment since you have known a lot of jargons by now…!

You can be genuinely happy about that …!

But our searches and researches for the knowledge have to go on….!


Lesson - 56 : Chords of a Harmonic Minor Scale

In the previous lesson we saw the formation of chords/triads on various notes of a typical Major Scale.

Applying the same method, let us tabulate the triads that can be formed on a Harmonic Minor Scale.

In our case we will talk about the A-Harmonic Minor scale as our reference.

The notes forming the scale of A-Harmonic Minor are A-B-C-D-E-F-G# - A

(remember the leading note is sharpened in harmonic Minor).

The table of triads formation for A-Harmonic Minor scale will be as follows :

So, we can generalize from this table that, in a Harmonic Minor scale,

· the triads on Tonic and Sub-Dominant are Minor Chords,

· the triads on Dominant and Sub-Mediant are Major Chords,

· triads on Supertonic and Leading note are Diminished Chords

· and finally the triad on the Mediant is Augmented Chord.

Totally, we have 2 Minor chords, 2 Major chords, 2 Diminished chords and 1 Augmented chord in a Harmonic Minor scale.

The above is applicable to any Harmonic Minor scales formed on Sharps or Flats also.


Lesson - 55 : Chords of a Major Scale - Quick Start

Let us proceed with the study of different chords, (the triads as we normally know them for a three notes chords), that are coming on any Major Scale.

As decided earlier we will take C-Major as our example scale for our study.

The triads are formed by the adding of 1st , 3rd, and 5th notes together on any given note.

The notes of C-Major are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

So the 7 triads that can be formed on the notes of C-Major are as follows :

Triad on C – the Tonic ------------------ C-E-G
Triad on D – the Super Tonic ---------- D-F-A
Triad on E – the Mediant --------------- E-G-B
Triad on F – the Sub-Dominant ------- F-A-C
Triad on G – the Dominant ------------- G-B-D
Triad on A – the Sub-Mediant --------- A-C-E
Triad on B – the Leading note --------- B-D-F

Now in order to name these chords, we should know the nature of intervals in between 1st & 3rd as well as 3rd & 5th .

Let us tabulate these intervals and hence the name of Chords derived as follows:

From the above table, we can summarise, for our easy remembering that, in a Major scale,

· the triads (chords of 3 notes) on the Tonic , Sub-Dominant and Dominant are Major Chords;

· the triads on Supertonic, Mediant, Sub-Mediant etc are Minor Chords;

· the triad formed on leading note is a Diminished Chord.

So 3 Major Chords, 3 Minor Chords, 1 Diminished chord are there in any Major Scale.

The above is applicable to any Major scale, be it on Sharps or on Flats…!

For example,

the triad on Dominant of G Major scale will be D - F# - A which is a Major chord…

(….must be major chord as per our generalisation above…!)

Another example, the triad on leading note of E-Major will be D# - F# - A , which is a Diminished Chord

(…yes….must be diminished chord… )

So, remembering the notes sequence of a Major Scale, we can easily write the chords formation and specify the characteristics of such triads based on the location of base note from Tonic.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Lesson - 54 : Chords - The Gateway to Harmony

Let us start with our first encounter with Chords!

As I promised, I always want to make the matter simpler….!

One step in that direction is to use only the scale of C-Major or A-Minor in our preliminary discussions …. !

For simplicity sake….. because……… as you know, these scales use only pure white notes and do not involve “accidentals” such as sharps and flats…!(of course you know, A-minor Scale anyhow will use the sharp in leading note ….!)

Once the basics are understood, you can apply the same principle to any Major scales or Minor scales with flats or sharps…!

Another problem is of our internet posting which has constraints of tabulating and picture embedding…etc.

So, I may adopt the method of explaining the vertical chords with horizontal writing and you have to bear with that…! You can re-write them in a scoresheet and study further…!

For example the Chord of C which is C, E, G which are coming one over another, I may write as C-E-G and so on. …!

(Of course, I will use the tabulation of rows and columns also to give better effect, wherever possible)

What is a Chord …?

Many of you who have heard that terms from various musical discussions or otherwise, immediately associate the Guitar and strumming of its strings with the name Chords …!

OK…. You have some idea…!

But I want to explain the definition of Chords in general term as “Playing more than one note at a time in any instrument ........ or......... Singing more than one note at a time! “

In general, as per WCM, Considering a particular scale, taking any note as the first note, basic Chords are formed when the notes of First, Third and Fifth are played together.

For example, in case of C-Major, considering the note D, the chords are formed when we play the notes D-F-A together.

The point to be noted is, these notes shall be the part of the scale we are considering…! (for example in case of G-Major, it will be D-F#-A, since G-Major is using F#, as we know)

Such Chord formed by 3 notes of ( 1st+3rd+5th ) is called a Triad….!

Hereafter, we will continue our discussions on Chords formed by three notes only, which are all triads..!

Now, as usual, naming conventions is what we shall know about….!

Similar to the interval names, the name of Chords also have two important ingredients…!

First one is the letter….( like C, D etc)…! This is selected as the letter on which the Chord construction starts. …! For example, in case of Chord formed by notes D-F-A, we select the letter D, which is the note on which the other two notes F and A are added to form the chord !

Second one is title, which expresses its quality … like, major, minor, augmented, diminished etc…. (which are similar to the name of the intervals)…!

But, you might have already noticed, a triad is formed with two intervals built one over another

ie…interval between 1st and 3rd notes and the interval between 3rd and 5th notes!

So both the intervals put together determine the name of the chord…!

For naming of traids, the following conventions are followed :

In case of our Triad example D-F-A,

the interval between D and F is .....Minor..
and the interval between F and A is .....Major…!

So the chord is to be named as D-Minor…!

(The above example itself gives the hint to you, that a Major scale can have certain Minor Chords also and vice versa….)

So, now onwards be careful in realizing the terms like Major Scale, Major Interval and Major Chords etc…

we are talking about three entirely different entities…!

The collection of three notes together forming chord…can be done on any note taking that as starting note…!

So naturally, any scale which has 7 notes can have corresponding 7 chords/ triads also…! Isn’t it..!

We can name those seven Triads of Major scale as well as Minor Scale… In our next session…!

In the meanwhile, you can also have a try on that…. taking the C-Major and A-Minor as our model scales…! And as usual my request to you is, to play and feel those chords…!

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