# where do minor chords go?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by danharris, Mar 15, 2013.

1. ### danharris

lets play in c major for this one.

cdefgabc

if i where to play the scale in chords, which ones are minor. (and why?)

is there and easy formula for this, and if so will it work with a minor scale or in different modes?

2. ### Ant_C

Jul 25, 2012
Tamarac, FL
A triad off of D, E, and A would be minor chords.

A minor chord is spelled out 1, b3, 5 (interval wise this is as follows between the 1 and 3 we get a minor third which is why its a b3. Between 3 and 5 we get a major third which explains why we don't have a b5, a b5 would make the chord diminished.)

for example D to F is a minor third, and then F to A is a major third thus we get the notes D-F-A in a D Minor chord. A D major chord would be D-F#-A.

The if you are wondering what the relative minor key for C major is, that would be A minor. This is due to us building the relative minor off of the 6th scale degree of the major scale (6th note). An A minor scale would be as follows A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A, compared to an A major scale which is A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A.

the order for knowing which chord you get from each note in each major scale is as follows... major, minor minor, major, major, minor, diminished, major.

I hope this helps.

4. ### ElectroVibe

Mar 2, 2013
I think that verbiage is a little off. The minor third is not a "flat" third. It is the natural third note starting from the 1st note of the chord within the scale. Am is A, C, and G. The C is not flat, it is just at a half step interval from the B. The minor chords have a shorter natural interval between the first and third.

5. ### sammyp

Aug 20, 2010
in very simple terms ....

The most popular minor chord in a major key comes from the 6th scale tone .....the A - Am .....ala "the relative minor"

The next most popular would be the 2nd scale tone ...D minor ...this is referred to as the ii m.

There is also one off the 3rd scale tone ....a little less used - E minor

When i say "popular" i'm speaking north american country, pop, rock etc

6. ### fdeckSupporting MemberCommercial User

Mar 20, 2004
HPF Technology LLC

C-E-G
D-F-A
etc.

Which triads are major, and which are minor? Are any of the triads neither major nor minor?

7. ### danharris

thanks guys, all those answers are great. that chord theory link is a really good resource. the first answer is what i was looking for
"major, minor minor, major, major, minor, diminished, major."

that last one is neat. i never looked (or listened) at it that way before. it kind of explains its self doesn't it.

thanks again everyone

-dh

8. ### Schmorgy

Jul 2, 2012
The funny thing about music theory is that at first it makes absolutely no sense on its own and you're basically making a jigsaw puzzle out of rogue pieces, but as you start to learn more of the theory, you start to see just how much of it overlaps and relies on other theory.

9. ### MalcolmAmos

Here is why those minor chords are minor.

C Major Scale stack in 3rds (every other note) = the notes and chords made from the C major scale:

Notes Degree Spelling Chord name Function
C R CEGB R-3-5-7 Cmaj7 I (tonic)
D 2 DFAC R-b3-5-b7 Dm7 ii
E 3 EGBD R-b3-5-b7 Em7 iii
F 4 FACE R-3-5-7 Fmaj7 IV (subdominant)
G 5 GBDF R-3-5-b7 G7 V (dominant)
A 6 ACEG R-b3-5-b7 Am7 vi
B 7 BDFA R-b3-b5-b7 Bm7b5 vii (diminished)

Why is the D chord minor? If you compare the DFAC to the notes in the D major scale the D major scale will have an F# and a C#. Your DFAC has the 3 and 7 flatted for a spelling of R-b3-5-b7 and that spelling makes a Dm7 chord. All minor chords will have a b3. All major chords will have a natural 3. Stacking the scale in 3rds automatically build the correct major, minor and diminished chords for that scale.

10. ### MalcolmAmos

Here is why those minor chords are minor.

C Major Scale stack in 3rds (every other note) = the notes and chords made from the C major scale:
Code:
```Notes	   Degree	Spelling		  Chord name      Function
C		R	CEGB        R-3-5-7 	     Cmaj7	     I  (tonic)
D		2	DFAC 	 R-b3-5-b7	     Dm7	     ii
E		3	EGBD 	 R-b3-5-b7	     Em7	    iii
F		4	FACE       R-3-5-7	    Fmaj7	     IV (subdominant)
G		5	GBDF 	 R-3-5-b7	     G7	       V  (dominant)
A		6	ACEG 	 R-b3-5-b7	     Am7	   vi
B		7	BDFA 	 R-b3-b5-b7          Bm7b5	  vii (diminished)```
Sorry it did not travel with everything lined up as it should have, but, I think you can see what I'm talking about.

Why is the D chord minor? If you compare the DFAC to the notes in the D major scale the D major scale will have an F# and a C#. Your DFAC has the 3 and 7 flatted for a spelling of R-b3-5-b7 and that spelling makes a Dm7 chord. All minor chords will have a b3. All major chords will have a natural 3. Stacking the scale in 3rds automatically build the correct major, minor and diminished chords for that scale. Little more help http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm

Once you know the scale notes you can now build the chords from that scale. Any scale....

Easy formula for this. Major scale will be M-m-m-M-M-m-mdim Natural minor scale will be m-mdim-M-m-m-M-M

11. ### PacmanLayin' Down TimeStaff MemberGold Supporting Member

Apr 1, 2000
Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

When addressing intervals, we always discuss them in relation to the tonic's major scale. In the case of A, the C is lowered in relation to the A major scale. A minor triad is always 1 b3 5.

12. ### Bainbridge

Oct 28, 2012
Minor chords in a diatonic system are minor chords for the same reason that major chords in a diatonic system are major chords: that's just the way that it works out when you start stacking diatonic intervals. You end up with this series of chords in the major mode:

I ii iii IV V vi viiÂ°

In C major, that's C Dm Em F G Am BÂ°
In D major, that's D Em F#m G A B C#Â°

Now, as per my interpretation of the title of your thread (although you may have simply been asking for the order of triad qualities in a key), this is how these things fit into a chord progression: all functional chord progressions can boil down to a certain order of the primary triads within a key, I IV V I. You'll notice these are all major quality chords. Primary triads give the primary color of the mode, so major primary triads really outline the major mode.

The remaining triads, ii iii vi and viiÂ°, are what we call secondary triads. They act as substitutions for the primary triads, giving different colors to the progression while still maintaining the functions of the primary triads. You can swap them like so: I>vi, IV>ii, V>viiÂ°. iii is an odd one, and is usually used as a substitution for I, although it might be encountered as a substitution for V. Either case is rare. Altogether, this is the order of a functional progression with mind to the substitutions: [I>(iii)>vi] [IV>ii] [viiÂ°>V] [I,vi]

Arrows indicate the order that these things occur in, parentheses are rare cases, the comma indicates where you would find vi in a deceptive cadence (such as I ii V vi).

In the minor mode, it's much the same story. Here's A minor (A B C D E F G) harmonized: Am BÂ° C Dm Em F G, i iiÂ° III iv v VI VII

We tend to use the harmonic minor in chord progressions:

A B C D E F G#
Am BÂ° C+ Dm E F G#Â°
i iiÂ° III+ iv V VI viiÂ°

But III+ is a weird quality, so we favor the natural G rather than G# there.

Am BÂ° C Dm E F G#Â°, i iiÂ° III iv V VI viiÂ°

The same principles apply to progressions and substitutions as per the major mode.

[i>(III)>VI] [iv>iiÂ°] [viiÂ°>V] [i,VI]

Mar 2, 2013

14. ### PacmanLayin' Down TimeStaff MemberGold Supporting Member

Apr 1, 2000
Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
This is for *any* instrument, not just bass guitar.

15. ### Blatz

Feb 11, 2012
If you work on the modes it makes sense. at least it did for me

16. ### JTESupporting Member

Mar 12, 2008
Central Illinois, USA
Don't need modes, they're just another level of complexity that's not needed for this. Learn about the harmonized scale as Malcolm discussed.

Do this yourself. Write out s C major scale
CDEFGABC

Above that, write out the same scale, starting on the third, so you get this...
EFGABCDE
CDEFGABC

then repeat it, up another third...
GABCDEFG
EFGABCDEF
CDEFGABC

Then one more time for the seventh chords..
BCDEFGAB
GABCDEFG
EFGABCDEF
CDEFGABC

Now, study those four note chords so you understand three things:
A. Which two are major sevenths, which three are minor sevenths, which one is a dominant seventh, and which one is a minor seventh with a flat seventh.
B. WHY each chord is what it is
C. How to recreate it in all 12 keys.

John

17. ### danharris

bumped for study reference. this was/is a great thread

18. ### Reddog01

Nov 3, 2013
Georgetown, TX
As you can see by now, you have opened up a big can of worms. Music theory (which includes spelling of chords [major, minor, diminished, and augmented]), chord progressions, modulations, melody lines, part writing, and a whole host of other things is very much like a study in math. In fact, some of the very best theory students are very good in math. Music can be very complexed, but it all follows very logical patterns. The more theory you know, the more all this stuff makes sense. So, if someone is talking about a walking bass line that is made up of triads with passing tones in between (just an example), it follows a distinct pattern. The answers you have received so far are all trying to explain logical music theory.

19. ### faulknersjSupporting Member

Apr 4, 2008
Scottsdale Az
I like to use this short cut.

In any major (Ionian) key, the 1,4,and 5 (1,4,5 =basic blues progression)are major, the 7 is diminished, and the rest (2,3,6) are minor.

In any minor (aeolian) key, the 1,4, and 5 are...you guessed it, minor, the 2 is diminished, and the rest (3, 6, 7) are major.

The 1, 4, & 5 will have the same triad shape as the key.

20. ### xabichoSupporting Member

Jan 9, 2009
Long Beach, California
Roger Guitars
First of all there is a generic Roman numbers that are use in Classical and Commercial Music to label the grades of the major Scale.

Let us say C major scale ....... C, D, E, F, G, A, B

So we will label the Grades as follow:

I ii iii IV V vi vii

Did you notice the I, IV and V? In any major Scale the I, IV and V will be a major chords.

In any major scale the ii, iii and vi will be a minor chords.

And the particular and unique vii will be a Diminished Chord.

There will be three notes that will form the chord in each grade of the scale, and the tree notes are label as follow:
Root, third (because it refers to the interval that is produce from the root to the first note above the root) and fifth (because it refers to the interval that is produce from the root to the second note above the root)

Interval is the distance between to notes....so a major chord has the following construction:

A major third for example from the root C to E is an interval of a major third ( Two whole steps from the root)

A minor third for example from E to G is an interval of a minor third ( 1 1/2 steps from the third or a perfect fifth from the root 3 1/2 steps)

So the first degree of a major scale is a major chord C, E, G

The same applies to the ii, iii and vi but now the minor third will be from the root to the third and then a major third above it. That is going to give the quality of the chord for example the second degree, third or sixth on a major scale.

ii = D, F, A
iii = E, G, B
vi = A, C, E

The exemption will be the vii which will have two minor thirds....
B, D, F. And if we see it from the root will have a diminished 5th from B to F.

On the minor or major chords the fifth will be always a perfect fifth.

Hope this will help you. The best will be to sit down on a piano an play the triads because is more visual. For us bass players is important to know more about theory in particular harmony which will give us more knowledge to know what notes to play and what notes to be avoid.

For seven chords it would be the adding of another third above the 5th of each one of the chords. The label for these chords will result in a major scale on the following commercial symbols for a C major scale

I = Cmaj7
ii = Dmin7
iii = Emin7
IV = Fmaj7
V = G7
vi = Amin7
vii = Bmin7(b5)

I will write another reply this week to explain the chords with the addition of the 7th.

Javi