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Jolly McJollyson
Chick Magnet
Joined: 09/07/03
Posts: 5,457
11/10/2005 8:47 pm
Originally Posted by: binfordtoolsThanks for the help so far.

I think I understand the c major chord thing. It's made up from a C, E, G.
C = root
E = third
G = fifth

I believe that it comes from this:

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Is this correct?
Thanks

Absolutely! What you have there is a triad built from the major scale starting at C. A seventh chord will include that 7th scale tone, a ninth will include the 1, 3, 5, 7, and 2, an 11th will include 1, 3, 5, 7, 2, and 4, and a 13th is just a chord made of all the scale tones. A major scale (like any scale) is simply a series of notes that have a certain pattern to the harmonic intervals between them. From 1 (C) to two (D) it is one "whole step" (two frets up on the guitar), from D to E is another whole step, etc. In the end, the order of steps in a major scale is

whole whole half whole whole whole whole half

C to D to E to F to G to A to B back to C

Which is why the third in a Dmajor chord is an "F#."
See, it's a whole step from D to E, but it's only a half step from E to F (one fret). Because you need a second whole step interval, you move the F up a half step, making it F#. There's an easier way of determining the notes of a key called the circle of fifths, and I'll spell it out for you here.

Remember this, first, the order of sharps is "F-C-G-D-A-E-B"
(Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Birds), which means that whenever a key has ONE sharp, that sharp is F. If the key signature has TWO sharps, it's F and C, etc.

C major has no sharps. Now we'll use the circle of fifths to determine what major key signature has one sharp.

Basically, just go up a fifth from C, and you'll have it. Well, let's go up a fifth from C... C-D-E-F-G, ok, so the fifth is G. Now we'll spell out the G major scale:

G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G

Ah HA! One sharp!

Now we'll continue along, up a fifth from G: G-A-B-C-D, ok, Dmajor has two sharps.

Anyhow, long story short, the major keys go like this:

C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-C#

and the minor keys go like this:

A-E-B-F#-C#-G#-D#

On to flats. The order of flats is the opposite of sharps, so just reverse it

B-E-A-D-G-C-F

Cmajor has no flats, and we'll go DOWN a fifth (not up) to determine the next key. C-B-A-G-F, ok, Fmajor has one flat. (oh, also, if you don't want to think about going down a fifth, just go up a fourth, it will bring you to the same note name: C-D-E-F, so sharps go up a fifth, flats go up a fourth).

Anyhow, the process continues and eventually it looks like this:

C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb