Beginner Guitar Lesson OnLine
Chord Theory 104
Triads - What They Are and How They Work
There are two intervals that we will discuss here:
The reason you should know this is because many chord names are derived from these two intervals.
We discussed how to locate the chords in each Major and Minor Key in the previous lesson. Now we will discuss how EACH chord is structured, in other words how each chord is built.
Again let's start with the key of "C" or C Major. Remember our chords are: C, F, G7. The First Chord or Major Chord is built up of the Root, 3rd and 5th of the C Scale.
This would be the notes C, E and G. That is all that comprises a C Major Chord. Refer to the illustration showing this structure and the chord diagram that's also related to these notes.
Notice that there are (4) 1/2 Steps or (2) whole steps between the C and E and there is (3) 1/2 Steps or (1-1/2) whole Steps between the E and G.
Looking at the diagram above notice that these notes are the Root, Third and Fifth.0
C - Count up (4) 1/2 Steps (Which is a Major Interval)
E - Count up (3) 1/2 Steps (Which is a Minor Interval)
F - Count up (4) 1/2 Steps (Which is a Major Interval)
A - Count up (3) 1/2 Steps (Which is a Minor Interval
The interval of steps between notes will be the same for every Major Chord, (4) and (3) 1/2 steps.
In the construction of a Seventh Chord, You add another Minor Interval ABOVE the last note. In other words the notes for a G Major Chord would be G, B, D.
To turn this into a G7 Chord another Minor Interval would be added above the "D" Note, which would be an "F". So all (4) notes would be G, B, D and F, because F is (3) 1/2 Steps above "D".
We already explained how to read the diagram in Chord Theory 101, so I won't rehash that. Here are some additional explanations of the above diagrams though:
The Green Circles indicate the string is to be played "Open" (Without and fingers on the strings).
Each circle with a number indicates the left hand finger that is press the fret. 1 is index, 2 is middle, 3 is ring and 4 is pinky.
When you see an Arc spanning more than one string, connected by the same finger on either end, that is a Bar Chord. You see one of these associated with the "F Major" chord above.
You would lay your index finger down over all the strings and press them all at once. This can be a very difficult chord to play if your guitar has high action or if you are a young guitar player.
The colored notes listed beneath each diagram indicates what note each fingered fret or open string is being played.
The Labels beneath each chord are their full and proper names. You can shorten Major chord names to just a C, F or whatever.
The three chords illustrated in the diagram above are the (3) basic chords in the Key of "C Major", or Key of C. Each of the Major Keys and each of the Minor Keys have 3 chords as well.
All of these chords are construction based on the Major Intervals and the Minor Intervals as explained above.
Chord diagrams help us to graphically show fingering patterns for all of our chords on the guitar.
This is much easier than reading the notes off the musical staff, and it also allows guitar players that don't read music the ability to quickly and easily form the chords.