• Are You Finding It Difficult To Learn Major Chords? Now Here’s What To Do!

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,General Music,Piano

    Post image for Are You Finding It Difficult To Learn Major Chords? Now Here’s What To Do!

    If you’re finding it difficult to learn major chords, I have a concept that can simplify it for you and I want to share it with you.

    Major chords are very important in music and although there are other chord types, most of the songs you know can be played with major chords.

    Truth be told, most anthems, folk songs, hymns, etc., start and end on a major chord and that’s why major chords are important and cannot be ignored in music.

    So in this lesson, what I want to show you is simply how you can apply the knowledge of the major scale in the formation of the major chord.

    Now, if you’re saying, “Dr. Pokey, I don’t know major scales!” then you really don’t have a business learning major chords. In the process of learning music, scales should come first before chords.

    So, if you’re on this page, make sure you’re familiar with all the major scales on the keyboard and if you’re yet to know and master all the major scales, kindly suspend this lesson temporarily and check out this lesson on the major scales.

    A Short Note On Major Chords

    A chord is a collection of three or more related notes which may be played or heard together.

    From the definition, a chord can have more than three notes. However, for the purposes of this study, we’ll be limiting the number of the notes in a chord to three and that is called the triad:

    Three-toned chords = Triads = Chords

    So, the major chord is a three-tone chord and is also known as a triad because it consists of three notes.

    “So, What Is It About This Three-Tone Chord Called The Major Triad?”

    The major chord (aka – “major triad”) is the 1-chord in the major key.

    Attention: This is one classic way to describe the major chord in a music theory test if you really want to score high.

    From the of the major chord, we can see that it is formed off the first tone of the major scale in any key you’re in. Now, in the key of C major:

    …the major scale can be formed off the first tone of the scale (which is C):

    …and that’s the C major chord:

    Submission: Don’t worry about how we got the C, E, and G. I’ll explain that in the next segment.

    The 1-chord:

    …is the most stable chord in the major key:

    …and that’s why a lot of songs start and end on the 1-chord; especially hymns, anthems, folk songs, nursery rhymes, etc.

    Beyond the stability of the 1-chord, every other major chord in the major key is important and that’s why major chords are considered as primary chords in the major key.

    The key of C major:

    …has the following major chords:

    C major chord:

    F major chord:

    G major chord:

    …and they are all classified as primary chords in the key and that’s what makes major chords important and unique.

    Now, we’re done with an overview of the major chord, the next thing to do is to learn how it can be formed the simplest way possible.

    How To Form The Major Chord Using The Major Scale

    Although there are so many ways to approach the formation of the major chord and they vary from the most complex to the easiest, I’ll be showing you one of the easy ways you can form any major scale — just by knowing the tones of the major scale.

    Now, if you look at the C major chord and the C major scale:

    C major chord:

    C major scale:

    …you’ll observe that the tones of the C major chord are the first, third, and fifth tones of the C major scale.

    “What Does That Teach Us?”

    It teaches us that the tones of the major chord are taken from the major scale and they are specifically the first, third, and fifth tones of the major scale.

    Now, let’s check that out using the D major scale:

    …if we can form the D major chord just by using the first, third, and fifth tones of the D major scale.

    So, here are the tones:


    …is the first tone.


    …is the third tone.


    …is the fifth tone.

    …and altogether, that’s the D major chord:

    So, we can actually form the D major scale and any other major scale just by isolating the first, third, and fifth tones? Yes!

    Now, using all the major scales that you are familiar with, you can form the major chord and it’s as easy as ABC and even your 9 year old can do it — pick out the first, third, and fifth tones of the scale.

    If I give anyone the Eb major scale:

    …and ask them to pick out and isolate the first, third, and fifth tones, I bet you know they’ll easily pick out the following notes:




    …and those are the notes of the Eb major chord. It’s that easy!

    Final Words

    The formation of major chords doesn’t get any simpler than this!

    A lot of people limit their use the major scale as a warm up mechanism during their practice routine but here’s one of the numerous applications of the major scale that is even more beneficial in the learning and mastery of chords.

    I want to thank my mentor and role-model, Jermaine Griggs, for the opportunity given to me to share this with you and I do hope that the concepts shared would help you a great deal.

    See you in another lesson!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Comments on this entry are closed.

    Previous post:

    Next post: