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Basic Chord Primer A basic chord contains 3 notes, which is also known as a triad.

On a guitar though the notes of the chord are sometimes doubled up. For now I will deal with the main 3 notes needed. There are 5 main chord families......Major, Minor, Dominant, Augmented and Diminished. For now I will deal with the Major and Minor families, as they lend themselves quite well to triads as well as big chords. The Major Family A Major chord ( or triad ) contains 3 notes; the Root, or Tonic, which tells you which key the chord is in, the Major Third and the Perfect Fifth. There are 2 ways of finding these notes; one is to refer to the Interval Chart in the Interval Primer lesson, the other is to use what I like to call the 'leapfrog' method. For both examples I am going to use the note C as the Root. Using The Interval Chart To start with you need the Root note, which in this case is C. The next note you need is the Major 3rd ( a major chord always contains a Major 3rd ). Look down the chart and you will find how many steps away from the root the Major Third is. Next you need the Perfect Fifth. Again look down the interval chart and you will find out how many steps away from the Root note the Perfect Fifth is. The Leapfrog Method For this method you will need to write out the notes of the key that you will be playing the chord in. As the key is C major the notes will be..... CDEFGAB You already know that the Root note is C, so to find the other 2 notes ( Third and Fifth ) simply miss a note then use the next note like this.... CDEFGAB The notes in bold ( C, E and G ) form the basic triad for the C Major chord. The Minor Family A Minor Chord ( or triad ) contains 3 notes; the Root, or Tonic, which tells you what key you are in, the Minor Third and the Perfect Fifth. You will notice one important difference between a Major and Minor chord; Major contains a Major third, Minor contains a Minor Third. A Minor Third is only a half step down from a Major Third, so for a C Minor chord you need the notes C, Eb and G.