• Rod Herbert BigSoundMusic

EMERGENCY MUSIC CHORD SCALE THEORY - HOW DO SCALES AND CHORDS WORK?www.rodherbertbigsoundmusic.com

Updated: May 20

My Senior High Daughter vocalist, has been given an audition for Music College!

We are so happy with seeing her hard work reap its positive rewards………….

She is a great vocalist but struggles with mysterious music theory!!!!!

Help Dad!!!!

How does this all work??????????????????????


Here is my take on the mysterious music theory!

This is the approach I take when teaching my own classroom students.

I hope it may help!!!!

If something does not make sense think about it and read again.

Eventually, all the pieces fall into place.

Everyone does it differently.

If you dislike like my order of material a fiery hell awaits!


1- Chromatic scales: Musical building blocks


I have an ongoing chromatic scale flowing in my mind which I use to work out intervals and chords from ANY starting note.

These are the black and white piano keys or the frets on a guitar.

The bold notes are called ENHARMONIC notes.

Same sound flat name or sharp name depending on the key. Some scales only use Flats b or Sharps #


Chromatic Scale - Can start on any note


C (C# / Db) D ( D# / Eb) E F (F#/ Gb) G (G# / Ab) A (A# / Bb ) B C


Space between each note is a SEMITONE or HALFTONE.

Two semitones make a TONE or WHOLE-TONE.


Always count the note you start with as ONE.


2- Major intervals and Minor intervals.


In chords, the 3rd interval from the bass note gives the chord type. These notes are played at the same time. Harmonic intervals


Major 3rd intervals are 2 tones or 5 semitones apart.

Major: Happy tonality or key.

Example: CE, DF#, DbF, AC#


Minor 3rd intervals are 1.5 tones or 4 semitones apart.

Minor: Sad tonality or key.

Example: C Eb, F Ab, F# A, G Bb


3 - Major Scale Formula. TTSTTTS


All scales have a formula

Major Scale Formula

Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone.


C Major Scale Parent Scale

C D E F G A B C

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C



OR STARTING ON DIFFERENT NOTES


Db Major Scale Parent Scale

Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8



4- CHORDS or TRIADS.


Chords or TRIADS consist of 1st 3rd 5th often 7th scale degree. Read up from the lowest TONIC note first.

Find chord notes by counting up three notes from each note of the chord.


C D E F G A B C


5- Chords on Major Scales

Note5 G A B C D E F G

Note3 E F G A B C D E

Note1 C D E F G A B C

Chord number I ii iii IV V vi vii I or viii

ChordType Major minor minor Major Major minor diminished Major



6 - Chord Progressions


When we mix up the order of chords from a parent scale we create chord progressions used in songs.


Chord name C major B diminished C major F major A minor D minor G major C

Example: I vii I IV vi ii V I


7- Why are Chords Major or Minor or Diminished


Chords are created by two or three sets of THIRDs INTERVALS sitting on top of each other - C D E F G A B C

We use our CHROMATIC scale to check the sets of thirds sitting above each note


Chromatic Scale - Can start on any note

C (C# / Db) D ( D# / Eb) E F (F#/ Gb) G (G# / Ab) A (A# / Bb ) B C



Examples:

Chord C E G - Major Chord: Major bottom / minor top

Interval between 2 tones 1 half tone

ChordType Major 3rd minor 3rd



Chord A C E - minor Chord: minor bottom / Major top

Interval between 1 half tone 2 tones

ChordType minor 3rd major 3rd



Chord B D F - Diminished Chord: minor bottom / minor top

Interval between 1 half tone 1half tone Double Minor Chord

ChordType minor 3rd minor 3rd



NOW EXAMPLES FROM DIFFERENT PARENT MAJOR SCALE

Db Major Scale (check from chromatic)


Chord Db F Ab - Major Chord: Major bottom / minor top

Interval between 2 tones 1 half tone

ChordType Major 3rd minor 3rd



Chord F Ab C - minor Chord: minor bottom / Major top

Interval between 1 half tone 2 tones

ChordType minor 3rd major 3rd



Chord C Eb Gb - Diminished Chord: minor bottom / minor top

Interval between 1 halftone 1half tone Double Minor Chord

ChordType minor 3rd minor 3rd



NOW EXAMPLES FROM DIFFERENT PARENT MAJOR SCALE -


E Major Scale (check from chromatic). Use Major Scale Formula TTSTTTS

Create


E___ F# __ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___



Chord E G# B - Major Chord: Major bottom / minor top

Interval between 2 tones 1 half tone

ChordType Major 3rd minor 3rd



Chord G# B D# - minor Chord: minor bottom / Major top

Interval between 1 half tone 2 tones

ChordType minor 3rd major 3rd



Chord D# F# A - Diminished Chord: minor bottom / minor top

Interval between 1 halftone 1half tone Double Minor Chord

ChordType minor 3rd minor 3rd


8 - WILD CARD

AUGMENTED CHORDS - TWO MAJOR THIRDS OR DOUBLE MAJOR


Chord C E G# - Major Chord: Major bottom / major top

Interval between 2 tones 1 half tone

ChordType Major 3rd minor 3rd


These are mostly used in chords created from minor parent scales.


9- DIATONIC CHORDS IN MAJOR AND MINOR KEYS

This means the chords are created from one Major or Minor parent scale.



More To Come

READ THIS A NUMBER OF TIMES.

EVENTUALLY, ALL THE PIECES WILL MAKE SENSE.


Keep an eye open for my upcoming

“ Brass Practice Buddies” available on my website.


Relax and stay cool!


Rod Herbert

www.rodherbertbigsoundmusic.com


Please join my mailing list to receive your complimentary set up useful theory and band warm-up exercises!



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