• Do You Know The Three Most Important Chord Types In The Major Key And Why?

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

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    Our focus in this lesson is to highlight the three most important chords in the major key.

    Beyond highlighting the chords, I’ll also go ahead and tell you why these chords are important and also state their function in the major key.

    Let’s get started by refreshing our minds on the scale tone chords in the major key.

    A Quick Review On The Scale Tone Chords In The Major Key

    There are 12 major keys on the keyboard and the chords associated with any major key are simply known as scale tone chords.

    For example, the key of C major:

    …has the following scale tone chords:

    The 1-chord (C major seventh):

    The 2-chord (D minor seventh):

    The 3-chord (E minor seventh):

    The 4-chord (F major seventh):

    The 5-chord (G dominant seventh):

    The 6-chord (A minor seventh):

    The 7-chord (B half-diminished seventh):

    The following chord types are found in the major key (using the key of C major as a reference):

    The Major Chord (1-chord and 4-chord)

    The Minor Chord (2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord)

    The Dominant Chord (5-chord)

    The Diminished Chord (7-chord)

    However, we’ll be looking at the three most important chords in the major key.

    The Three Most Important Chord Types In The Major Key

    The most important chord in the major key is the major chord, followed by the dominant chord, then the minor chord.

    So, here are the three most important chord types in the major key in the order of increasing importance:

    The Major Chord

    The Dominant Chord

    The Minor Chord

    …and I’ll tell you why.

    “And Here’s Why…”

    We’ll be using the 2-5-1 chord progression (which is arguably the most important progression in the major key) as a reference.

    In the 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of C major, the following chords are used:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 2-5-1 chord progression provides us with the important chord types in the major key from the third in importance (which is the 2-chord) to the second in importance (which is the 5-chord), then to the most important chord in the key — the 1-chord.

    “Check It Out…”

    Note #1.  The 2-chord is a minor chord representing MINOR chords which are the third most important chords in the major key.

    Note #2.  The 5-chord is a dominant chord representing DOMINANT chords which are the second most important chords in the key.

    Note #3.  The 1-chord is a major chord representing MAJOR chords which are the most important chords in the key.

    It’s universally accepted that the 1-chord is the most important chord in the key and this is because it is acoustically the most stable chord, theoretically the chord of the most important tone of the key, and practically the first and/or last chord in most songs.

    So, the 1-chord is the most important chord in the key and there are acoustic, theoretical, and practical basis for that.

     

    “So, What’s The Second Chord In Importance?”

    “Finally…What’s The Third Chord In Importance?”

     

    Final Words

    Although major, dominant, and minor chords are top three in importance, that’s NOT to say that other chords like the diminished, etc., are not important.

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll discuss other chord types other than these top three that you MUST not be without.

    Meanwhile, I am glad you read this blog post today and I’m doubly sure you learned a couple of things. If you have a suggestion, contribution, or comment, please feel free to enter it in the comment box below.

    See you next time!

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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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Allysia

    Interesting as always, Chuku! I’ve long considered the most important chords in a key I-IV-V – and if I had to pick a fourth, vi – partly because that covers all the main cadences, but also because they tend to be the most popular chords in pop music. But it’s always good to hear other ideas and opinions!

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