• Major Chords vs. Minor Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Theory

    Yesterday, you learned:

    • how to construct the major Interval
    • how to construct the perfect Interval

    Major Third: Distance between root and (3) degree

    Perfect Fifth Interval: Distance between root and 5th

    The Major

    The (major chord) is created by combining the major third and perfect fifth intervals.

    For example, in (C major), a major third interval is from (C) to (E). A perfect fifth interval is from (C) to (G)

    Combining these two intervals looks like the following:

    (C) to (E) and (C) to (G).

    Since the root is used in both intervals and can only be played once, the (C major) chord is:

    (C) + (E) + (G).

    The Minor Chord

    The (minor chord) is created just like the major chord. The only difference is that it utilizes a “minor third” interval instead of a “major third” interval (the perfect fifth remains the same).

    If a major third is the difference between the root and (3) degree, what do you think a minor third is?

    Minor Third: Difference between the root and lowered (3) degree.

    The minor third is a major third interval “squeezed in” by a half step. For example, in (C major), the major third interval is from (C) to (E).

    The minor third simply lowers the (E) a half step to (E flat). Thus a minor third is: (C) – (E flat).


    Major Third = (C) – (E)
    Minor Third = (C) – (E flat)
    Perfect Fifth = (C) – (G)

    Combining a Minor third and a Perfect fifth creates a minor chord:

    (C) + (E flat) + (G)

    Here are other ways of figuring out a major or minor chord:

    Major Chord: Take the (1) (3) and (5) of the major scale and play them all together.

    Minor Chord: Take the (1) (3) and (5) of the minor scale and play them all together.

    Learning all your major and minor scales will allow you to know all of your major and minor chords!

    (In our 300-pg course, we take you step by step through each key and its major scale, major chord, minor chord, and more! Check out the 300-pg course by clicking here.)


    C Major = (C) (E) (G)
    C Minor = (C) (Eb) (G) b = notation for flat

    Try learning the major and minor chords of all 12 keys! Just use the same exact pattern.

    Good job!

    Until next time —

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