## Building Major & Minor Chords

In Western Music, basic chords are comprised of three notes known as the

The next consideration is to apply a formula which will determine the

Major: ROOT - 2 steps - THIRD - 1 1/2 steps - FIFTH

Minor: ROOT - 1 1/2 steps - THIRD - 2 steps - FIFTH

Diminished: ROOT - 1 1/2 steps - THIRD - 1 1/2 steps - FIFTH

Augmented: ROOT - 2 steps - THIRD - 2 steps - FIFTH

There are three steps in building a triad;

STEP 1: Establish the ROOT

STEP 2: Find the letter name of the THIRD and FIFTH

STEP 3: Adjust the THIRD and/or FIFTH, if necessary, to fit the formula

Example 1:

Build a D Major

STEP 1:

STEP 2: D

STEP 3: D to F is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the F must be raised a 1/2 step to F#. F# to A is already 1 1/2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary.

Final Answer:

Example 2:

Build a B Minor

Build a D Major

STEP 1:

STEP 2: B

STEP 3: B to D is already 1 1/2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary. D to F is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the F must be raised a 1/2 step to F#

Final Answer:

Example 3:

Build a G Diminished

STEP 1:

STEP 2: G

STEP 3: G to B is 2 steps, but must be 1 1/2 steps to fit the formula and therefore the B must be lowered to Bb. Bb to D is 2 steps, but must be 1 1/2 steps to fit the formula and therefore the D must be lowered to Db.

Final Answer:

Example 4:

Build a C Augmented

STEP 1:

STEP 2: C

STEP 3: C to E is already 2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary. E to G is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the G must be raised a 1/2 step to G#.

Final Answer:

A: While B# and C are exactly the same pitch (that relationship is known as enharmonic), it would be incorrect to call it C because B# is the third and C would be the fourth. Triads are always spelled with a root, third, and fifth.

A: Roots are never altered because they are the notes for which chords are named.

A: Yes, as long as your answer contains an alphabetical root, third, and fifth.

*ROOT*,*THIRD,*and*FIFTH*. These three notes together are known as a*TRIAD*. The root is the note for which the chord is named. For example; the root of a G7 is G, the root of C#m9 is C#, and so forth. The alphabetical third and the fifth are acquired by skipping a note and taking the next. For example, to build a chord on a root of D, skip the E, take the F as the third, skip the G, and take the A as the fifth.The next consideration is to apply a formula which will determine the

*QUALITY*of the chord. The four qualities are*MAJOR, MINOR, DIMINISHED*, and*AUGMENTED*. Each has its own distinctive sound and mood. Each formula describes the distance between the root and third and the distance between the third and fifth. Here are the formulae for the four qualities of triads:Major: ROOT - 2 steps - THIRD - 1 1/2 steps - FIFTH

Minor: ROOT - 1 1/2 steps - THIRD - 2 steps - FIFTH

Diminished: ROOT - 1 1/2 steps - THIRD - 1 1/2 steps - FIFTH

Augmented: ROOT - 2 steps - THIRD - 2 steps - FIFTH

There are three steps in building a triad;

STEP 1: Establish the ROOT

STEP 2: Find the letter name of the THIRD and FIFTH

STEP 3: Adjust the THIRD and/or FIFTH, if necessary, to fit the formula

Example 1:

Build a D Major

STEP 1:

**D**STEP 2: D

**F A**STEP 3: D to F is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the F must be raised a 1/2 step to F#. F# to A is already 1 1/2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary.

Final Answer:

**D F# A**Example 2:

Build a B Minor

Build a D Major

STEP 1:

**B**STEP 2: B

**D F**STEP 3: B to D is already 1 1/2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary. D to F is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the F must be raised a 1/2 step to F#

Final Answer:

**B D F#**Example 3:

Build a G Diminished

STEP 1:

**G**STEP 2: G

**B D**STEP 3: G to B is 2 steps, but must be 1 1/2 steps to fit the formula and therefore the B must be lowered to Bb. Bb to D is 2 steps, but must be 1 1/2 steps to fit the formula and therefore the D must be lowered to Db.

Final Answer:

**G Bb Db**Example 4:

Build a C Augmented

STEP 1:

**C**STEP 2: C

**E G**STEP 3: C to E is already 2 steps, so no adjustment is necessary. E to G is only 1 1/2 steps, but must be 2 steps to fit the formula and, therefore, the G must be raised a 1/2 step to G#.

Final Answer:

**C E G#****Chord Building FAQ's:****Q: G# Major is spelled G# B# D#. Can I call the B# a C to make it simpler?**A: While B# and C are exactly the same pitch (that relationship is known as enharmonic), it would be incorrect to call it C because B# is the third and C would be the fourth. Triads are always spelled with a root, third, and fifth.

**Q: Instead of raising the third, couldn't you just lower the root?**A: Roots are never altered because they are the notes for which chords are named.

**Q: Can I reverse Steps 2 & 3?**A: Yes, as long as your answer contains an alphabetical root, third, and fifth.