The Theory of Major and Minor Chords-Part 2

Ok, so you’ve finished reading The Theory Of Major And Minor Chords and presumably you understood it.

If you didn’t understand everything, please go back to:

The Theory Of Major And Minor Chords

before moving on.

By now, you have a good understanding of:

  • Intervals of a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th.
  • The notes of basic, root position major and minor chords
  • The difference between major and minor chords
  • The 3 notes contained in a basic chord (triad)


Let’s discuss the next aspect of chords: Keyboard voicings. If you are more interested in guitar, please read and understand this FIRST before moving to the The Theory of Basic Guitar Chords.


Changing the order of the notes:

The G chord is made of the three notes, G-B-D.

If we take the same notes and change the order: (image of staff with inversions and keyboard with inversions and short video),  we are left with the same basic chord. There will of course be subtle differences in the sound, but nonetheless, it’s still a G Chord.


Double Some Notes:

Again, the notes in a G chord are G-B-D and from the example above we now know that they can be in any order (G-B-D, B-D-G or D-G-B).  Besides changing the order, we can also add more of the same notes. We might do this to make the chord sound more full or to get a very specific sound that we might want, or for another reason.

Let’s take some of the inversions from above and add additional chord tones.  (image of 4 note closed position triads with letters underneath, kbd pic and vid)

Notice that even though we have 2 G’s, 2 B’s or 2 D’s, or 2 of each, the sound is still more or less the same. Of course there are subtle difference, but for our purposes, any of these chords are still a G chord.


Space out the notes:

Let’s go back to our root position G chord

  • Remove the middle note (B) and insert it one octave higher.
  • Notice how the spacing changed the sound slightly but not enough to call the chord by a different name.

(picture of staff and kbd)

  • Back to our root position g chord. Now take the bottom note (G), and drop it down one or two octaves.
  • this adds some bass to the sound.
(picture of staff and kbd)
  • Combine theses ideas
Try writing or playing chords where the 3 notes (G-B-D) are spaced differently, ordered differently and doubled or even tripled. If you find some that you like, keep them. They’re yours to use!

The only time it doesn’t work:

You’ll notice that when you play chords in the lower register of the piano, or the lowest strings on the guitar that the sound can become muddy.  If you have a note other than the root on the bottom, or if the notes are too close together. These chords can still work, but they generally only will in specific situations.







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