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Manuel Marino Music Composer

Before discussing the difference between major and minor chords, it’s important to understand what a chord is.

A chord is a combination of three notes that creates a specific musical impression. In this article, we will delve into the theoretical difference between major and minor chords and explore the sound they produce.

Major and Minor Chords

To define a major chord, we need to be familiar with the names of two intervals. An interval represents the distance between two notes in a chord.

If the distance between the lowest note and the highest note in the interval is two whole tones, it is called a major third.

If the distance between the lowest note and the highest note in the interval is one and a half tones, it is called a minor third.

We will use these intervals to construct major and minor chords.

Chords can be played in various positions, but in this piano lesson, we will focus The Importance of Having a Goal in Life and Why Music is a Harmonious Objective - Having a goal in life is essential for many reasons. It provides a sense of direction, drives motivation, enhances focus, and contributes to personal satisfaction. An aim or target in life helps one to streamline their energy, thoughts, and efforts towards achieving something specific. Without an objective, life can feel aimless and unsatisfying, and individuals… on playing major and minor chords in root position. What does that mean? It means that the note indicating the chord name should be the lowest note in the chord.

For example, when playing a C major chord, we already know that C is the first of the three notes in the chord.

What about the next two notes? It’s quite simple. You can follow the following formulas:

Major Chord = Major Third + Minor Third

Minor Chord = Minor Third + Major Third

Now here’s something interesting: It’s the first interval of the chord that defines its character. If a chord begins with a major third, it will always be some form of a major chord (even if it has more than three notes).

The same principle applies to minor chords.

So, if we take C as the root note and want to create a C major chord, we would get: C-E-G. The distance between C and E is two whole tones, and then 1.5 tones between E and G.

C minor would be C-Eb-G. We changed the order of the intervals by lowering the middle note by half a tone. Then we have 1.5 tones between C and Eb, and 2 tones between Eb and G.

You can find a free piano chord chart for all major chords here, and a free piano chord chart for minor chords here.

And how do they sound? Major chords are typically interpreted as happy or optimistic, while their melancholic counterparts come in the form of minor triads. It’s not set in stone, but understanding that a major chord originates from a major scale (which is often used in bright and cheerful compositions) helps distinguish the difference between these two chords.

Wondering how they relate to scales? Well, a C major scale consists of the following notes: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. If you build the first chord degree from C major in thirds, you play the C note, skip the D to E, then skip the F note to G. Altogether, you get C-E-G.

Perform the same process with C minor, which has the following notes: C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C, and you’ll get the notes C-Eb-G. Play both of these scales to understand their character, and you’ll see how the chord is connected to its scale.

In conclusion, both major and minor chords share the same intervals. The only difference is that a major chord begins with a major third, while a minor chord begins with a minor third. Major chords are generally perceived as more optimistic, while minor chords are often interpreted as melancholic.

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