skip to Main Content

2.2. Chord Basics

Every song you hear on the radio is built on blocks that are called Chords. So finally, from abstractions we get to the real music 🤣.

Chord is a combination of 3 or more notes, often sounded simultaneously (can sound sequentially).

Chords will always have the main note that is called root (it can be different from scale root), which is the harmonic anchor of the structure, but it won’t necessarily be the lowest note in the combination of notes being played 😅.

Three-note chords are called triads. Let’s look at 4 essential chord triads:

1.Major:
The formula = Root note, Major Third and Perfect Fifth (M3 + P5).

First chord that we will learn is C (also known as CM or Cmaj) – pronounced as C Major:

Chord name is C because of the root note and intervals that are built from that note – Major Third  and Perfect Fifth (M3 + P5). Let’s look at the intervals.

Major Third from C:

Perfect Fifth from C:

2.Minor:
The formula = Root note, Minor Third and Perfect Fifth (m3 + P5).

Again, root note is our brother C. But this time the chord is called Cm  – pronounced as C Minor:

Chord name is Cm (also known as Cmin) because of the Minor Third and Perfect Fifth (m3 + P5) . The difference between C (C Major) and Cm(C Minor) is Third 🤔. Let’s compare Major Third and  Minor Third.

Major Third from C (M3):

Minor Third from C (m3):

Actually, Third interval defines the chord qualityMajor or Minor (Happy or Sad). But there are 2 more chord qualities: Diminished andAugmented 😱.

3.Diminished:
The formula = Root note, Minor Third and Diminished Fifth (m3 + d5).

Cdim (also known as C°) – pronounced as C Diminished:

4.Augmented:
The formula = Root note, Major Third and Augmented Fifth (M3 + A5).

Caug (also known as C+) – pronounced as C Augmented:

Basically, any chord by itself is a bunch of notes picked by some rules.

To consolidate our knowledge – let’s build Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented chords but from the note D.
Don’t forget to look at the formulas that we used for C previously 😎.

1.D (also known as DM or Dmaj):

2.Dm (also known as Dmin):

3.Ddim (also known as D°):

4.Daug (also known as D+):

Ooh. That’s it for simple chords.

I’m glad 😈 to introduce you the inversions.

Previously we played with chords where root was the first note. But it can be in any other possible position.
When the chord structure changes, but notes are the same, it is called inversion.

Let’s look at C Major chord and its inversions.

C chord:

C(E) (E describes the first note but root is still C):

C(G) (G describes the first note but root is still C):

Inversions sound a bit differently from the original chord. They are used for creating various shades of the same chord 😏.

Important: To continue to the chord progressions you should learn all basic Major and Minor chords (C D E F G A B Cm Dm Em Fm Gm Am Bm *Use  Tools->Chords).

It was just a brief explanation of basic chords and inversions 😅. We will dive deeper in the Ultimate Chords Guide section.

Thanks for going so far with me😍.

Don’t stop learning 🔥🔥🔥.

Back To Top