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scales and chords

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by my name is me, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. my name is me

    my name is me

    Apr 4, 2002
    How do chords fit into scales? I now know and understand the major scale and would like to know how chords are created from it. In the last thread I posted you told me the notes that are in the C, F, and G chords but i dont understand how you got those notes to make up those chords. Thanks.
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Good question!

    First a new term 'Diatonic" means "in the key". The diatonic chords are chords that come from a particular key or major scale. Let's take a look at the key of C, this time. The notes are:
    C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C (no sharps or flats)

    A chord is 3 or more notes played together. Chords are built in "thirds". The term "third" refers to a musical interval or the distance between two notes. You can easily find thirds by counting 1,2,3 from each note on a major scale. For example a third up from C is E (C is 1, D is 2 and E is 3). Now we need another third to make the chord (a chord is 3 or more notes played together). The third up from E is G (following the same formula). Therefore the chord built on the C is C,E,G.

    If we do this from each note of the C scale we end up with the following chords and their quality (major, minor or diminshed)

    C maj
    D min
    E min
    F maj
    G maj
    A min
    B dim

    The quality of the chord comes from the third interval. There are 2 kind of thirds; a major third is made up of 2 whole steps; a minor third is made up of 1 1/2 steps. major chords are made by putting a minor third on top of a major third. Minor thirds are created by placing a major 3 on top of a minor third. Finally a diminshed chord is comprised of two minor thirds.

    In diatonic harmony the thirds are dictaded by the major scale that the notes come from.

    Hope this helps

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