I'm really confused about music theory, specifically chord structure. I'm getting conflicting information and it's frustrating?

I've been studying music theory recently and I've been getting seemingly conflicting information. One lesson is saying that the major chord is made up of 1st 3rd and 5th and minor chord is 1st 3rd(flat) and 5th. The other is saying that the major chord is made up of 1st 4th and 5th and minor 2nd 3rd and 6th.

Am I missing something or is someone giving the wrong information. I'm really confused and I can't seem to find any answers.

3 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    1st, 4th, and 5th is not a IV chord.  C, F, and G in C major.  I think it would be a "suspended" chord.

  • 1 month ago

    The first one is correct. To simplify, a triad (chord with 3 notes) is always made up of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the corresponding scale. So in a C major scale (CDEFGABC), the chord would be C,E, and G. In a C minor scale (CDEbFGAbBbC), the chord would be C, Eb, and G. 

    Next we have augmented triads. Those are made up of a major 3rd and an augmented 5th. Basically, a major triad but the 5th note is raised a semitone.  (G becomes G#)

    We can also have diminished triads. Those are made up of a minor 3rd and a diminished 5th. Basically, a minor triad but the 5th note is lowered a semitone. (G becomes F#)

    For some 7th chords, its basically your base chords but with an added 7th note. They are: Dominant 7th (major chord plus a minor 7th, so C E G Bb)

    Diminished 7th (minor chord plus a diminished 7th, so C Eb G B double flat)Major Major 7th (major chord plus a major 7th. so C E G B)

    Minor Minor 7th (minor chord plus a minor 7th. so C Eb G Bb)That's basically all the base chords you need to know! All other chords are just transposed versions of these ones, (or with a 9th, 11th, or 13th note).

  • 1 month ago

    I have multiple conservatory degrees in theory, and taught it in the schools of NY for 30 years.  The FIRST example is correct - the second is actually NOT built from notes that would come from a triad (sorry I read this fast and made an error previously; the second - that your source says was minor, is the ii chord in root position - in C  major, that would be dfa - and yes, it is a minor chord.    In any a major scales you can construct triads ( and then other types of chords - just not yet, for you . . ) of 1 3 5 - 2 4 6  - 3 5 7  -. 4 6 8 (1, just an octave higher)-5 7 9 (2).  6 8-10, and 7 9 11.  The MAJOR chords are I, IV, and V - written above the notes 1, 4, 5. (We use the Roman numerals for chords - clearer that way). ii  iii  vi are minor - again, Roman numerals, but lower case for minor.  vii is a diminished chord.  Now, HOW these work, and when to use them to write a progression (sensible pattern of chords creating your overall plan for harmony), or even what chords to use to harmonize your melody - well, that is a question for another day.  If you can write out the major scales - as many as you know -  and then stack the triads above them, you will get those chords I explained above, and then you will know how the major, minor, and diminished chords show up - just not how they all WORK yet.  Tell us your instrument, and we can also apply this to playing - your brain, ears, eyes, and fingers need to learn to work together, eventually.  Might be "any two" then "any three" of those senses at first - and then when all FOUR click in - YYYEEESSSS!!!!!!

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