Suspended Chords

There are two types of suspended chords, the sus4 and the sus2. As the name suggests, these chords imply a sense of suspension of the sound, and tend to want to be resolved. These are useful preceding a resolution in the progression to create a suspended feel. In both cases, the 4th or 2nd note replaces the 3rd note of the triads, so really they are neither … Read More

Sixth Chords

Sixth chords add the 6th note of the scale to a major or minor triad. We can therefore have a major 6 and a minor 6 chord. These chords can be substituted for the major or minor chord itself, to add more colour, and are usually used in conjunction with the major and minor 7th chords. Here are some examples of major 6 and minor 6 chords on … Read More

Extended Chords

Extended chords are basic major 7, minor 7 or dominant 7 chords which have other notes added to create a more colourful sound. If we keep stacking thirds onto our 7 chords, we end up with some more notes to include in the chord. These notes are the 9th‘s, 11th‘s and 13th‘s. NINTH CHORDS 9th chords will add the 2nd note of the scale … Read More

Altered Chords

In some instances we can flatten or sharpen certain notes in the chords to create even more ‘colour’. A typical use of altered chords is where we want to create a chromatic (or melodic) progression through the harmony. This is used a lot in jazz where altered chords are voiced so that a chromatic melody line will appear through the … Read More

Harmonising the Major Scale

We can make chords out of every note of the major scale by adding triads on to each note in the scale, using only the notes in that scale. For example, if we take the A major scale: We know that the root note (A) becomes an A major chord when we add the 3rd (C#) and 5th (E) notes to it and play them simultaneously. If we … Read More

Harmonising the Minor Scale

So what happens if we want to harmonize the (harmonic) minor scale? Lets have a look (the harmonic minor scale is the basis for harmonies in a minor key). As an example we will use the A harmonic minor scale: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A B C D E F G# A (root) (octave) Notes of … Read More

Four Part Harmonies

We can extend the idea of harmonizing the major and (harmonic) minor scales with triads to include four part harmonies. This means each note of the scale will produce a chord consisting of the triad plus a seventh. In any Major key, we get the following 7th chords: The chord built on the 1st note of the major scale is a MAJOR 7thThe chord built on the 2nd note of the major … Read More

Chord Progressions

To discuss chord progressions, we label each note of a scale with a roman numeral, for example: I II III IV V VI VII VIII A B C D E F G# A (root) (octave) Notes of the A Major Scale I-IV-V PROGRESSIONS By far the most common chord progression in blues, pop and rock music is the I-IV-V progression. This means … Read More

Chord Progressions (continued)

II-V-I PROGRESSIONS II-V-I progressions are commonly used in jazz music, but also can be found in many pop and rock songs. If the progression appears in a jazz context, the chords are often played as seventh chords with extensions and alterations. The II, V and I chords of a key are very good at helping our ears identify the key … Read More