A basic Chords harmonic analysis

We will try here to understand how chords are constructed. We have seen in the Intervals section the name of those distances. Now we have those intervals played simultaneously. Pick two or more string at the same time and you will have a chord.

The purpose here is not to try to know by heart the name of all chords but rather to understand how to manipulate them.

When improvising, you think more about how to play with chords than using a specific name.You will understand now why it is useful to know well those intervals. You can take any scale you want but let's start off with C major natural scale. We will take all the notes from the C scale and build up the chords. So, we take the first degree (C) the third (E) the fifth (G) and the seventh (B). You have now a chord that has a M3, m3, M7 intervals and it is named C Maj7. Read C major with a major seventh. In this group , you have two chords CM7 and FM7. (All chords from the first and sixth degree are constructed like this)

It is now the A note that represents the first degree, C the third, E the fifth and G the seventh. Have you seen the intervals from A and C ? We have a m3. What does that mean? When we have a m3 intervals from the first and the third degree, it means that the chord is minor. (A min) or (A-). How about adding now a seventh to this chord. The seventh of Amin chord is G. Which is a m7 from its tonic A. We have now Amin7. Read, A minor with a minor seventh. In this example we have a group of three chords, D-7, E-7, A-7 and here too, all the chords from the II, III, and IV degrees are constructed the same way and are minor and have a minor seventh.

We take now the G note.

As formerly, we take the I, III, V and the VII degree. What we have is G7 (Dominate chord). Read, Gmajor with a minor seventh. If we compare it with the first exemple we can see that we have almost the same intervals M3, m3, m7. All dominante chords are built the same way and G is the only one in this group.

The last example is with B note.

Again we take the I, III, V and VII degree. However, we are not very fortunate, we get some m3 all the way and an interval with two m3 gives a 5° (diminished fifth). This chord is called B-7(b5). B minor with a minor seventh and has its fifth diminished.