How To Create A Chord

Most newbies to music theory when asked how to create a chord will give you the answer "Who cares, I know how to play them that's all that matters, right?"

create a chordWell, although it's not essential to know how to create a chord, learning this simple technique will only help you improve your songwriting and help you in creating better chord progressions a lot faster.

And the best part about learning how to create chords is that it's not that hard to do, it's just a matter of learning some simple formulas.

So Lets take a look at these formulas.

Step 1 - Knowing The Intervals - The Foundation for Creating Chords

A chord is a combination of three or more notes sounded simultaneously. In order to construct a chord we use a formula. The formula for constructing the different types of chords is measured in intervals.

An interval is the distance between two notes and the basic unit of measuring intervals in music is a semi tone (a.k.a. Half step).

If you have a piano you can find a semi tone (half step) easily by going up or down on the keyboard to the next note, whether it is a black key or a white key.

Below is a handy table for teaching you the names and distances of the different intervals.

harmony definition

Step 2 - Chord Construction Formula

Now that you know the different intervals it's easy to start constructing your own chords. Below you will find a table that shows the different intervals needed to make a particular chord and also some examples to help you understand how to use this table a bit better.

harmony electric guitar

For Example: From the table below you will see that a major chord consists of the first, third, and fifth note of the scale.

So, if we wanted to create the C major chord, we would use the notes C, E, and G. You can also see that a minor chord is the same as a major, but with the third note flatted. So, a C minor chord would be the notes C, Eb, and G played together.

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