What are Chords?

Chords are a couple of notes played together at once.

How do we play Chords?

There are many different ways to play chords but the first chords we should know about are called triads. "Tri"- think 3. Triads are chords with three notes. There are 4 main types, or. "qualities" of triads. They are Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented.

Let's start by looking at our C major chord. to build any major chord, we use the 1st 3rd and 5th note of the major scale. We call this shape route position. The C major scale is CDEFGABC so... the C major chord= CEG because those are the 1st 3rd and 5th notes of that scale. This is why knowing our scales is so important!

Major chord = 135 of the major scale

Minor chord= 1 b3 5 of the major scale

Diminished chord= 1 b3 b5 of the major scale

Augmented= 13 #5 of the major scale.

What are Inversions?

Inversions are when we flip, or, respell a chord. Inversions are like musical synonyms and are a way of rewording or re-voicing a chord. We can spell a C major route position chord CEG. However, we could also spell it EGC (1st inversion) or GCE (second inversion). All three of those chords = C major but they sound a little bit different from one another.


Primary chords, a.k.a. cadence chords. They are the 135, 146, b125 of major scale. These chords are like the vowels of music and are used over and over again in every song. They are shortcuts to the three most used chords.

How do we use Chords?

Songs are made up of rhythm and lead parts. Chords fall under the rhythm section of the song, as they are not the lead/melody, and act as an accompaniment to the melody. Using our scale, we can figure out the chords that move through the key/scale that the song is in. We can call these our tone cycles.

Scale tone cycles are the chords that exist within a scale.

ex: G Major scale tones = GBD ACE BDF# CEG DF#A EGB F#AC

GBD= 1 chord. ACE =2 chord. BDF# = 3 chord and so forth up to 7...

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