Major and Minor Intervals Are The Building Blocks Of Chords
This video demonstrates how major and minor intervals are stacked to form major chords and minor chords.
Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRXYRhhcoQ&feature=youtu.be
Good morning, this is Duane. We’ve been doing a series on good stuff you really ought to know about music, and one thing you ought to know about music is that chords are built out of major and minor intervals. Major and minor thirds, to be specific. An interval, as you know, is the distance between any two notes. For example, if I play that note, and then that note, that’s called second. One, two. If I play that note, and that note, that’s a third.
That note and that note is a fourth, and you see why. One, two, three, four. That’s a what? Fifth, of course. Sixth, seventh, and eighth. Okay, that’s very simple, isn’t it? In addition to the number names of intervals, there’s also types of intervals. For example, there’s a major second, and a minor second. Okay? A major second is a whole step, and a minor second is only a half step.
Today we’re going to be dealing with thirds, so we’re dealing with two kinds of intervals, a third and a minor third. A major third and a minor third, so let’s see what they’re made out of. A major third is made out of two whole steps. In other words, if I go up a whole step from the bottom note, and then another whole step, that’s a major third. That’s the definition of a major third, two whole steps away from each other.
A minor third, on the other hand, is a step and a half. One whole step, and then a half step, so that’s a minor third, right there. Major third, minor third, okay? Now, that’s really easy to see when you’re on C. Maybe not as easy to see when you’re on some other note. Okay, what’s a major third above Db, or C#? A whole step would be where? There, because that would be a half step, right? That’s a whole step, and another whole step is there, isn’t it, because you’ve got to skip that half step. That’s a major third, so what would a minor third be?
That’s right, you’d lower the F to Fb. It looks like E, but you couldn’t call it E. If you were writing notation on sheet music, you would have to call that an Fb. You could call it an E, but musicians wouldn’t really understand that. You’ve got to be consistent and call it was it is, and it’s really an Fb, isn’t it, because the F is being lowered a half step.
Flats and sharps can be white keys as well as black keys, all right? We’ve established what a major third is, and what a minor third is. Now, all kinds of triads are built out of three note chords. No matter what kind of triad, they’re built out of either a major third, or a minor third, a stack of them. For example, a major triad, a major chord in any key, is always made out of a major third with a minor third on top. What would a major third be?
It would be that, wouldn’t it? So, if we had a major third and a major third, that would not be a major triad. That’s called an augmented triad, by the way. Okay, so remember this. A major triad is made out of a major third with a minor third on top. A minor triad is just the opposite. It’s a minor third on the bottom with a major third on top. A major triad, a major chord, is a major third on the bottom with a minor third on top. A minor chord, is a minor third on the bottom with a major third on top.
An augmented chord is a major third on the bottom and a major third on top. Two major thirds in other words. A diminished triad would be a minor third on the bottom, and a minor third on top. Two minor thirds, in other words. Augmented is two major thirds, diminished is two minor thirds. Whereas a major chord is balanced, it has a major third and a minor third. A minor chord is balanced, too. It has a minor third and a major third.
Now, tomorrow I think we’ll go into four note chords, and see how minor and major thirds are combined to build a four note chord, four note chords of various types. I’ll say goodbye for now, and then we’ll look forward to that tomorrow. If you enjoy this kind of series on piano chords and good stuff you ought to know about music, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our entire series. I think you’ll enjoy it. Till then, I’ll say goodbye for now.
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Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn