• How To Apply Perfect Fifth Intervals In The Formation Of Scale Degree Chords

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    You arrived at this page because you’re interested in learning the formation of scale degree chords.

    In this lesson, we’ll be forming seventh chords:

    Major seventh chords

    Minor seventh chords

    …using perfect fifth intervals on both hands.

    But before we do so, let’s quickly refresh our minds on perfect fifth intervals.

    “What Are Perfect Fifth Intervals?”

    According to Jermaine Griggs, an interval is a product of the relationship between two notes and the distance between them.

    For example, the relationship between C and A (on the piano):

    …and the distance between the notes (C and A) is considered to be an interval.

    In this segment, we’re focusing on perfect fifth intervals.

    A Short Note On Perfect Fifth Intervals

    A perfect fifth interval is a product of the relationship between the first and fifth tones of the scale. For example, in the key of A major:

    The interval between the first and fifth tones (which are A and E):

    …is a perfect fifth interval.

    The term perfect fifth can be broken down into two words:

    Perfect. A term used to describe intervals that don’t change when inverted.

    Fifth. A term used to describe the number of letter names or notes the interval encompasses.

    An Outline Of All Perfect Fifth Intervals On The Keyboard

    The perfect fifth interval can be formed on any of the 12 notes on the piano. Consequently, there are 12 perfect fifth intervals.

    “Check Them Out…”

    C perfect fifth:

    Db perfect fifth:

    D perfect fifth:

    Eb perfect fifth:

    E perfect fifth:

    F perfect fifth:

    Gb perfect fifth:

    G perfect fifth:

    Ab perfect fifth:

    A perfect fifth:

    Bb perfect fifth:

    B perfect fifth:

    A Short Note On Scale Degree Chords

    There are eight tones in every major or minor key.

    These scale tones are also known as scale degrees. In the key of C major:

    C is the first scale degree

    D is the second scale degree

    E is the third scale degree

    F is the fourth scale degree

    G is the fifth scale degree

    A is the sixth scale degree

    B is the seventh scale degree

    C is the eighth scale degree

    Chords can be formed on each of these scale degrees and these chords are generally referred to as scale degree chords.

    The chords of the first, second, and third scale degrees are chord 1, chord 2, and chord 3 respectively.

    In the key of C major:

    …the chord of the first tone (which is C):

    …is the C major triad:

    …while the chord of the second tone (which is D):

    …is the D minor triad:

    How To Apply Perfect Fifth Intervals In The Formation Of Scale Degree Chords

    Perfect fifth intervals can be applied in the formation of scale degree chords and we’ll be covering how this done in this segment.

    “Give Me Your Undivided Attention…”

    The seventh chord of the first degree in the key of C major:

    …is the C major seventh chord:

    …and can be formed using the following perfect fifth intervals:

    C perfect fifth:

    E perfect fifth:

    When the E perfect fifth interval:

    …is played on the right hand over C perfect fifth interval:

    …on the left hand, this produces the C major seventh chord:

    In the same vein, other scale degree chords can be formed. For example, the seventh chord of the second degree in the key of C major is the D minor seventh chord:

    The D minor seventh chord can be formed using the following perfect fifth intervals:

    D perfect fifth:

    F perfect fifth:

    When the F perfect fifth interval:

    …is played on the right hand over D perfect fifth interval:

    …on the left hand, this produces the D minor seventh chord:

    “Here Are Formulas That Would Help You Form Any Scale Degree Chord Using Perfect Fifth Intervals…”

    1 + 3 = Chord 1

    2 + 4 = Chord 2

    3 + 5 = Chord 3

    4 + 6 = Chord 4

    6 + 1 = Chord 6

    Let’s put the formulars to work.

    6 + 1 = Chord 6

    Perfect fifth interval of the first tone:

    …played over the perfect fifth interval of the sixth tone:

    …produces chord 6 (the A minor seventh chord):

    Final Words

    Check out these scale degree chords in the key of C major:

    Chord 1:

    Chord 2:

    Chord 3:

    Chord 4:

    Chord 6

    See you in the next lesson!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 mistellah

    Hi guys! I would like to say keep up with good work for it shall follow ya’ll like ya shadows, blessed. Have a good evening.

    Reply

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