What are Major Chords?

The Major Triad

The Major triad as we stated earlier are built from the major scale. They are the 1,4 and 5 chords of any key.

We actually follow the major chord formula to build our major chords off any major scale.

Below is the Major scale formula

Root + Major 3rd + Perfect 5th = Major chord

Explaining this using the key of C major;

The Root is the starting note of your chord and that depends on which major scale you are working with, if you want to get the C major chord then the root must be β€œC” since you will be working with the C major scale which starts and ends with the note β€œCβ€œ

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The Major 3rd from our popular intervals lesson (please revisit that lesson) is 2 tones away from the root. A major third interval away from the root β€œC” is β€œE” which is two tones away from the root C.

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The Perfect 5th interval is 3 and half tones away from the Root. G is a perfect 5th interval from C since it is 3 and half tones away from the root β€œC”.

In summary, the C major chord will be C + E + G

Because;

C is the Root

E is the Major 3rd

G is the Perfect 5th

 

Let’s get all the major chords in the key of C.

Remember that the 1, 4 and 5 chords are the only major chords in any key you are in.

From the C major scale, the 1, 4 and 5 are highlighted below

 

 

Hence we are looking for the;

C major chord

F major chord

G major chord

Since we already got the C Major chord, let’s move on to the F major chord

To get the F major chord, we must first out the F major scale since the root is F and we are looking at a Major chord here.

Root + Major 3rd + Perfect 5th = Major chord

Hence,

F is the Root (starting note)

A is the major 3rd (2 tones away from the root F)

C is the Perfect 5th (three and half tones away from the root F)

Therefore the F Major chord is a combination of these three notes F + A + C = F major chord.

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Similarly, to get the G major chord we have to spell out the G major scale since G is the root here and we are looking for a major chord.

Root + Major 3rd + Perfect 5th = Major chord

Hence,

G is the Root (starting note)

B is the major 3rd (2 tones away from the root G)

D is the Perfect 5th (three and half tones away from the root G)

Therefore the G major chord is G + B + D

 

In conclusion,

The major chords in key C are

C major chord

F major chord

G major chord

Here is summary of steps in finding major chords:

  1. Identify the key you are in and write out the Major scale of that key.
  2. Secondly, recognize the 1, 4 and 5 scale degrees.
  3. Pick each and spell out the Major scale of their respective root; if β€œB” is the 4 then write out the B major scale since you are looking for the 4 chord which is B Major Chord.
  4. Finally use the Major chord formula β€œRoot + Major 3rd + Perfect 5th = Major chord” to identify each note of that particular major chord you are looking for.
  5. Repeat same steps for every major chord you are looking for in that key you are in.

Let’s hop on to the minor chords lesson as it get’s interesting.

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