Major and Minor Piano Chords

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slopez
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Major and Minor Piano Chords

Post by slopez » 22 Feb 2016, 11:28

What the difference between a major and minor chords is? Of course you should know that major chord sounds happy and a minor chord sounds sad. But, there is more to it than that. Take a minute and learn about the method to creating a minor chord.

In music there is a system of organization called musical keys. These keys are defined by intervals in order from smallest to largest:

unison = the same note or c
minor 2nd = c#
major 2nd = d
minor 3rd = d#
major 3rd = e
perfect 4th = f
tri-tone = f#
perfect 5th = g
minor 6th =g#
major 6th = a
minor 7th = a#
major 7th = b
octave = c

Major and Minor Chords
Major and minor are words used to describe the quality of a triad or series of two thirds. Major chords have a a major third above the root of the chord, and a perfect 5th above the root. But, the distance between the major third and perfect fifth is a minor third, therefore creating a series of two thirds. The minor chord has a minor third above the root, with a perfect fifth as well. however, the creates a major third between the minor third and perfect fifth, once again creating a series of two 3rds.

Take a C major chord for example: start with c as a root, then go a major third up, or e. Then from the e fo up a minor third or g. This creates a major chord.

Now take c minor: Start on c, go up a minor third, or e-flat. Then go up a major third or g. This is a minor third.

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Major and Minor Piano Chords

Post by Colin Nicholson » 26 Feb 2016, 02:16

I'm not quite sure if tutorials written in this format will help any novice?
Parts of it are very confusing.... even by my standards!

Also, please take care to get everything right when you propose to write a tutorial and lists of intervals.
Presuming each interval is taken from 'C'....? C to G# is not a minor 6th, C to D# is not a minor 3rd, and C to A# is not a minor 7th. You need to name the enharmonic equivalents, for example C to A flat IS a minor 6th.

So C to any form of a G (whether G, G# or Gb) will always be a 5th of some sort.

C to G# is an augmented 5th (often used in augmented chords to replace V7)
C to A# is an augmented 6th - rarely used in music. C to B flat is a minor 7th.

Hope that helps
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Mikako
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Major and Minor Piano Chords

Post by Mikako » 13 Mar 2016, 11:35

What are the most common Major/minors that work together well, for instance, a song I listen to goes like this Em, C, A, Am, Em. all in all 16 beats long. are there any other common ones like this. And what is the best approach at getting them to work together well?

Edit
I read this back and think it doesnt clearly state what am asking. The thing am asking is what other Chords like A,Am work together well. as in the same chord but Major/minor

Thanks

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Re: Major and Minor Piano Chords

Post by gizzy » 06 May 2016, 12:05

Mikako wrote:What are the most common Major/minors that work together well, for instance, a song I listen to goes like this Em, C, A, Am, Em. all in all 16 beats long. are there any other common ones like this. And what is the best approach at getting them to work together well?

Edit
I read this back and think it doesnt clearly state what am asking. The thing am asking is what other Chords like A,Am work together well. as in the same chord but Major/minor

Thanks
Actually I'm still not quite clear what you are asking, as you say "work together" but you seem really to mean "follow one another" - and there it completely depends on the musical context. If you follow X major with X minor, or the other way round, you are effectively using the same chord but changing its "colour" as they both have the same root, so you are using one harmony and "brightening" or "darkening" it (there are other ways of describing the effect) depending on whether you go from minor to major or vice versa.

In reply to the OP (sorry, only just caught up with this thread) although doing it by intervals in semitones is correct in musical theory (except, as Colin pointed out, you have spelled some of yours incorrectly) I would say that's the yuk way (tr: the hard way round) to work out chords.

For all root position triads you need a perfect fifth to make the "shell" - it's an acoustic quality, not just something we've got used to. It's tonic to dominant, and here's a neat little trick. If you play a chromatic scale in perfect 5ths, use one hand or two, you'll find C-G, two white keys. Db-Ab, two black keys, D-A two white keys, and so on all the way up the scale, two keys the same colour (no, it does not work on a clarinet LOL) until you get to Bb and B, the "silly Bs", where the dominant is the opposite colour key. My kids love playing this one and doing that little "shimmy" at the top end where the wrist does the twist. Then you need to work out the middle note. It should be the alphabetical middle, so the middle note of F minor is Ab and not G#* and you can learn this either by trial and error, or by counting up the semitones to a major 3rd (OK semitones might be necessary there) but you can often do it by knowing the scale or the key-signature so you still don't have to count.

I teach most of my scales and chords and keys from the tonic major/minor and not the relative major/minor. I find it makes far more sense. C major to C minor you can instantly hear the difference and can understand what minor is about. C major to A minor... take the sixth note of the scale, play an octave with the same key-signature (nowt in this case) and that's the minor. If I were completely untutored I would be asking why the sixth, why isn't it the minor by starting on the 2nd or the 3rd or the 7th, they also contain the same notes. Constant arguments over on t'other place (the AB forum) with Kodaly devotees.

*my piano tuner (recommended by feg, thank you!) says piano tuners don't generally bother with flats, every black key is a sharp to him.

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Re: Major and Minor Piano Chords

Post by Gill the Piano » 07 May 2016, 17:49

gizzy wrote:*my piano tuner (recommended by feg, thank you!) says piano tuners don't generally bother with flats, every black key is a sharp to him.
I once tuned for a very elderly chap in his nineties who could hardly see who told me not to bother with the white 'uns as he only played the black 'uns...

The more guitarists I meet the more amused I am by their terror of flats...they're quite happy to play in a sharp key but ask them to play in F major....!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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