So, you’ve now learnt how to make every major and minor chord using semitones:
major = 4+3
Now we are going to learn how to play chords in any minor key / scale, and why this is the key to composing, particularly pop, folk, and edm for example.
Let’s start with the key of A minor.
Notes for A minor:
A B C D E F G
Quite easy no? : )
Number each note:
Make a simple 3 note chord (triad) on each note of the scale. To do this play one note, miss a note, play a note etc. e.g.
A C E
is chord 1.
When you play the simplest 3 note chord on each note of the scale you get:
1 ACE = A minor
2 BDF = B diminished*
3 CEG = C major
4 DFA = D minor
5 EGB = E minor
6 FAC = F major
7 GBD = G major
(*the diminished chord formula is 3+3, as you will see it’s different to major and minor).
Look at the order of major and minor chords in a scale. I remember it like this:
minor, diminished, major
Maybe you can come up with a brilliant way of remembering it which sticks in your head.
This order is always the same for any minor key. Let’s try a key with more sharps, B minor:
1 BDF# = B minor
2 C#EG = C diminished
3 DF#A = D major
4 EGB = E minor
5 F#AC# = F# minor
6 GBD = G major
7 AC#E = A major
As you can see it's the same order of major and minor chords with the diminished one as chord 2.
Once you've memorised this order, and are able to quickly make all the major, minor and diminished chords, then you can play all the chords in any minor key. Start with the first 3 sharp minor keys, Am, Em, and Bm, nail these before moving on.
Now you can do chord progressions using numbers, and learn which chord progressions are used in songs and tracks which you like.
Reducing it to numbers means it's the same system across keys - instead of saying Am C G and Bm D A for example, it's reduced to a 1 3 7 progression in Am or Bm.
Then you start to learn what a particular set of numbers sounds like and you can identify them in songs and tracks you like. You will start to see the same numbers coming up again and again.
Experiment with playing a set of 3 numbers, find a combination you like, e.g. 1 3 7, and play, or if you don't play an instrument, program in.
Keep playing and listening to its effect, and the feel of jumping from 1 to 3, 3 to 7, and 7 back to 1, and the feel of the whole progression.
Then you can start adding melodies using the notes already in the chords.
*Note, if you can play barre chords on the guitar, you can learn the fingering for major, minor, diminished and other chord types, and slide up fret by fret and play all the possible versions.
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