General Question

rentluva5256's avatar

What notes of a scale make up a chord?

Asked by rentluva5256 (555points) March 18th, 2010

I just need to know what scale degrees make up a chord. Such as, tonic, supertonic, etc.

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13 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

Major chord is one, three and five . . .

nope's avatar

Is that the exact question? What kind of chord are you talking about? The scale degrees that make up a chord depend on which chord, and what key you are in, and whether the chord is inverted, etc.

rentluva5256's avatar

Well, if you’re in the key of G, would the notes be G, B, D, and G.

nope's avatar

For the tonic major chord, yes…normally chords are expressed as a triad though, so it would be G, B & D (1, 3 & 5) in its root position, B, D & G in its first inversion, etc. Is that what you’re looking for?

rentluva5256's avatar

Yes! Thank you @nope :)

charliecompany34's avatar

i’m a music sheet reading drop-out. i play by ear. i know how to play all sorts of chords on piano. jazz chords, gospel chords, classical. i just make it happen. couldnt begin to tell you what the chord is. good question though…

thriftymaid's avatar

Any two or more; you choose.

wundayatta's avatar

There so many chords. Chords with 7ths and diminished sevenths. The minor chord with a diminished fifth and seventh (the blue note, I believe), ninths, elevenths, seconds. You can make all kinds of chords—some make us uncomfortable and some make us wait and some resolve everything (boring, boring, boring). Of course, all of these chordal arrangements can happen in what? 11 versions of sharps and 11 versions of flats?

But I agree with @charliecompany34. Do it by ear, if you’re playing. Intellectual understanding helps, but it’s your ear that really makes the difference. You don’t need to know what your doing if you can just do it.

If this is a purely intellectual exercise for a theory class, then by all means, discuss a major chord. Listen to Mozart. In many ways, that’s all you need to know.

gailcalled's avatar

The most straightforward chords are in Christian Hymns. 1, 4, 5.(In the key of C, that would be C-E-G, F-A-C. G-B-D).

28lorelei's avatar

As is already said, major chord is scale degrees 1,3,5
minor chord is also 1,3,5, but the 1st interval is a minor third and the 2nd a major 3rd.
dominant 7th chord: 1,3,5,7 but 7 is a minor 7th
sorry if this is too technical

gailcalled's avatar

The simplest major (1) chord, if you are at the piano, is C_E_G.

28lorelei's avatar

In any key,
1st scale degree is the tonic,
2nd scale degree is the supertonic
3rd scale degree is the mediant
4th scale degree is the subdominant,
5th scale degree is the dominant,
6th scale degree is the submediant
7th scale degree is the leading tone (unless you are in natural minor, then it is called the subtonic)

Before we get to chords, just a few things to keep in mind:
-Chords are named by roman numerals (e.g. an i chord is a minor one chord (meaning the main note of the chord (the root) is a 6th above the tonic), a VI chord is a major 6 chord)
-M stands for major, m stands for minor, little circle above the right hand side like º means diminished, plus sign in front of chord stands for augmented, little circle with a slash through like ø means half-diminished

I don’t know which chord you are specifically referring to, but:
a one chord is made up of scale degrees 1, 3, 5, in M key chord is I, in m key it is i
a two chord is made up of scale degrees 2, 4, 6, in M keys chord is ii, in m keys it is iiº or just plain ii
a three chord is made up of scale degrees 3, 5, 7, in M keys chord is iii, in m keys it is III or +III
a four chord is made up of scale degrees 4, 6, 1, in M keys chord is IV, in m keys it is iv
a five chord is made up of scale degrees 5, 7, 2, it is nearly always major (although it can be minor if you are in harmonic minor)
and so on…

To get 7th chords, you add a 7th to the chord (e.g. if you have a triad w/scale degrees 1,3,5 you just add scale degree 7 to the top), and the quality of a 7th chord is obtained by looking both at the quality of the underlying triad and the quality of the 7th above the chord, eg. if a chord has an underlying major triad and major 7th on top, it would be called a MM 7th chord.

Here are the types of 7th chords:

MM (major triad, major 7th)
mM (minor triad, major 7th)
Mm (major triad, minor 7th, also know as dominant 7th chord)
mm (minor triad, minor 7th
ø (diminished triad, minor 7th, half-diminished 7th chord)
º (diminished triad, diminished 7th, fully diminished 7th chord)

Sorry this was so long. I hope this answered your question.

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