• The Beginners’ Auxiliary Guide (B.A.G) For The GMTC Challenge 2020

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    Chapter 2 – “How To Form Diatonic Chords Off The Major Scale”

    Once you’ve learned the diatonic scale, it doesn’t end there.

    Using the diatonic scales, you can form a variety of other music concepts. Diatonic scales create diatonic intervals; diatonic intervals create diatonic chords; while diatonic chords (in turn) create diatonic chord progressions, etc.

    So, diatonic scales are just a starting point and the raw material that creates every other idea.

    In this chapter, we’re going into the formation of diatonic chords using diatonic scales.

    How To Form Diatonic Chords

    A chord is a collection of three (or more) related notes (agreeable or not), which may be played or heard together.

    From the definition of a chord, it is crystal clear that only RELATED NOTES can be used in the formation of a chord and it takes a minimum of three notes to form a chord.

    So, if we can play any collection (or aggregate of) three notes that are related, it doesn’t mater if it sounds pleasant or not, it’s a chord.

    A classic example of a chord is the C major chord:

    …and it is formed using the notes of the C major scale:

    …the first tone (which is C), the third tone (which is E), and the fifth tone (which is G):

    C:

    E:

    G:

    Keep in mind that the C major chord is a diatonic chord because it is formed off the tones of the C major scale: C, E, and G, and all diatonic (or native to the key of C major).

    Using the C major chord as a reference, I’ll show you how to form a diatonic chord using the pick-skip technique.

    “What Is The Pick-Skip Technique?”

    The pick-skip technique is an unorthodox approach to the formation of diatonic chord and all you have to do is to pick a note, skip the next one, then you repeat the same procedure until you have three notes.

    For example, using the C major scale:

    …we can form a diatonic chord off the first tone of the scale by picking C (the first tone of the scale):

    Attention: At this point, we have to skip, pick, and skip until we have the three notes we’re looking for and this is the easiest thing you’ve ever done in life.

    So, having picked C:

    …we skip D, and pick E:

    …and then we skip F and pick G:

    …and altogether, we have C-E-G:

    …and that’s the 1-chord — the diatonic chord of the first tone of the scale and it’s formed using the notes of the diatonic scale.

    It’s that easy.

    “Don’t Take My Word For It — Let’s Form The 1-Chord In The Key Of Db Major…”

    The two things we need here are namely:

    The Db major scale

    The pick-skip technique

    So, using the Db major scale:

    …we can just pick and skip until we have three notes.

    Attention: First, you have to keep the chord you want to form in mind. If it’s the 1-chord, start from the 1; if it’s the 3-chord, start from the 3, and if it’s a 6-chord, you’ll have to form it off the 6.

    We’re focusing on the 1-chord and the 1 in the key of Db major is Db:

    Db major scale:

    Db (the 1):

    If you pick Db:

    …then skip Eb and pick F:

    …then skip Gb and pick Ab:

    …you’ll have the 1-chord in the key of Db major:

    …and that’s Db major chord:

    I guarantee you that using the same process, you can form a diatonic chord in any key and if it’s true in C major and Db major, then it’s true in every other key.

    Don’t believe me? Well, I know you do, so read on.

    How To Form The Diatonic Chords In The Key Of C Major

    Using the same scale approach and the pick-skip technique, several other diatonic chords can be formed in the key and on other tones of the scale other than the 1.

    I’m talking about the formation of the 2-chord, 3-chord, 4-chord, 5-chord, 6-chord, and 7-chord. So, we can form the diatonic chord for every tone of the scale.

    “For The Second Tone Of The Scale…”

    The 2-chord can be formed off the second tone of the major scale and using the C major scale:

    …we can start on the second tone of the scale (which is D):

    …then we skip E and pick F:

    …and also skip G and pick A:

    …and that’s a total of three notes (the 2-chord):

    “For The Third Tone Of The Scale…”

    Starting on the third tone of the C major scale:

    …which is E:

    …we can form the 3-chord by picking E:

    …skipping F and picking G:

    …the skipping A and picking B:

    Boom! You have three notes and that’s the 3-chord:

    “For The Fourth Tone Of The Scale…”

    Starting from the fourth tone of the C major scale:

    …which is F:

    …we can form the 4-chord by picking F:

    …then skipping G and picking A:

    …and lastly, skipping B and picking C:

    Altogether, F, A, and C:

    …is the 4-chord.

    “For The Fifth Tone Of The Scale…”

    Starting from G:

    …which is the fifth tone of the C major scale:

    …we can pick G:

    …skip A and pick B:

    …then skip C and pick D:

    …and that produces the 5-chord:

    Now, we have two more chords to go: the 6-chord and the 7-chord.

    “For The Sixth Tone Of The Scale…”

    Still using the C major scale:

    …the 6-chord can be played off the sixth tone of the scale and that’s A:

    So, we pick A:

    …skip B and pick C:

    …then we skip D and pick E:

    …and that’s the 6-chord:

    “For The Seventh Tone Of The Scale…”

    Now, the 7-chord can be formed off the seventh tone of the major scale and using the C major scale as a reference, we have the seventh tone as B:

    So, if we pick B:

    …skip C and pick D:

    ….and then skip E and pick F:

    …we’ll have the 7-chord:

    “Here Are All The Diatonic Chords In The Key Of C Major…”

    Now that we’ve formed all the diatonic chords in the key of C major, let’s outline these chords so we can have a concentrated view

    The chords are as follows:

    The 1-chord:

    The 2-chord:

    The 3-chord:

    The 4-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 6-chord:

    The 7-chord:

    I’m sure that you can see the notes that we skipped  and how easy it is to form each of these chords. For example, you can see that in the 1-chord:

    …we picked C and E:

    …and between those two notes we have D:

    …that we skipped.

    Also, between E and G:

    …we have F:

    …that we skipped.

    The Diatonic Chords In The Key Of C Major

    Just before we end this chapter, let’s look at the diatonic chords in the key of C major and what they are.

    For example, apart from the fact that you can call C-E-G:

    …the 1-chord, it is also important for you to know that it’s a C major chord.

    So, let’s go ahead and highlight the names of the diatonic chords in the key of C major.

    The 1-chord:

    …is the C major chord.

    The 2-chord:

    …is the D minor chord.

    The 3-chord:

    …is the E minor chord.

    The 4-chord:

    …is the F major chord.

    The 5-chord:

    …is the G major chord.

    The 6-chord:F

    …is the A minor chord.

    The 7-chord:

    …is the B diminished chord.

    So, here is a summary of the chord quality of the diatonic chords:

    The 1-chord, 4-chord, and 5-chord are major chords

    The 2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord are minor chords

    The 7 -chord is a diminished chord

    …and this is applicable in all the keys.

    The Unique Formulas For Diatonic Chords

    Every diatonic chord in the major key can be formed using the tones of the scale.

    For example, the 1-chord (which is the C major chord):

    …consists of the first, third, and fifth tones of the C major scale:

    So, instead of learning it as “C-E-G” using alphabets, we can use the number system to represent these notes and that’s “1-3-5.”

    While C-E-G can give you the 1-chord in C major:

    …the use of the 1-3-5 will give you the 1-chord in every key and all you have to do is to play the first, third, and fifth tones of the major scale in that key.

    If you’re in the key of Bb major:

    …using the 1-3-5 formula, you can isolate following notes:

    Bb (the first tone):

    D (the third tone):

    F (the fifth tone):

    …and altogether, that’s the 1-chord in the key of Bb major (the Bb major chord):

    “Just Like 1-3-5, Here Are Other Formulas For Your Diatonic Chords…”

    The formula for the 2-chord is 2-4-6. Using the major scale of the key you’re in, all you just have to do is to play the second, fourth, and sixth tones and you’ll have the 2-chord.

    In the key of D major:

    …the second, fourth, and sixth tones of the scale are E, G, and B:

    …and that’s the 2-chord.

    The formula for the 3-chord is 3-5-7. The 3-chord can be formed in any key and all you have to do is to play the third, fifth, and seventh tones of the major scale in the key you’re in.

    In the key of G major:

    …the third, fifth, and seventh tones of the scale are B, D, and F#:

    …and that’s the 3-chord.

    The formula for the 4-chord is 4-6-1. Using the major scale of the key you’re in, all you just have to do is to play the fourth, sixth, and first tones and you’ll have the 4-chord.

    The fourth, sixth, and first tones of the E major scale:

    …are A, C#, and E:

    …and those are the notes of the 4-chord.

    The formula for the 5-chord is 5-7-2. The 5-chord can be formed in any key and all you have to do is to play the fifth, seventh, and second tones of the major scale in the key you’re in.

    In the key of Eb major:

    …the fifth, seventh, and second tones of the scale are Bb, D, and F:

    …and that’s the 5-chord.

    The formula for the 6-chord is 6-1-3. Using the major scale of the key you’re in, all you just have to do is to play the sixth, first, and third tones and you’ll have the 6-chord.

    In the key of F major:

    …the sixth, first, and third tones of the scale are D, F, and A:

    …and that’s the 6-chord.

    The formula for the 2-chord is 7-2-4. Using the major scale of the key you’re in, all you just have to do is to play the seventh, second, and fourth tones and you’ll have the 7-chord.

    In the key of Ab major:

    …the seventh, second, and fourth tones of the scale are G, Bb, and Db:

    …and that’s the 7-chord.

    Chapter 3 – “Application Of Some Of The Diatonic Chords We Learned”

    The 1-5-6-4 Chord Progression

    How To Play Way Maker By Sinach

    Transposing It To Every Other Key

    Chapter 4 – “Final Words And Encouragement”

     

     

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") 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.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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