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Theory 04: Chord Construction

Carlos Eduardo Seo (900) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3

In this lesson we'll cover the chord formation rules. In order to do this, you'll have to know every aspect of my previous lesson about modes. Not for now, because I'll just introduce some chord formation rules; but in my next lesson, I'll cover the relations between modes and chords. First of all, let's introduce a new concept:

Triad: a group of three tones consisting of a root, a 3rd and a 5th note.

We have four basic triads: Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished:

- Major triad: root - 3 - 5
- Minor triad: root - 3b - 5
- Augmented triad: root - 3 - 5#
- Diminished triad: root - 3b - 5b

The Major, Minor and Augmented triads generate their own chords: Major, Minor and Augmented. In the key of C, for example, we have:

C
Cm
C Aug


The Diminished Triad is a little different. The Diminished Triad plus a 6th creates the Diminished chord and if you add a flat 7th instead, it created a Half-Diminished (SemiDim or m7/5b) chord. Again, in the key of C, we have:

C Dim
Cm7/5b


If you know these basic triads and the chords that are derived from them, you can create any chord.