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Lesson: 4
Title: Scale Harmonization and Chord Construction
Level: Intermediate
Style : Application of music theory
Instructor: Dave Good

In this lesson, I want to look at building chords through scale harmonizing.
I am asked over and over questions like "How do you make this chord?" and
"What chord is this?"  Well, I would like to present the idea of chord
construction, first from a theoretical point of view, and then how to relate
this to the guitar.  If you already know basic music theory, you can skip
this first section, if not, please read and understand the following before
jumping into part 2.

Part One.

First of all, I would like to define and clarify a few terms 
that we will use:

     The distance between two notes.  The following is a chart of
intervals, followed by their distances in half-steps and an example.

Name             Distance         Example
Unison           0 half steps     C to C
Minor Second     1 half step      C to Db
Major Second     2 half steps     C to D
Minor Third      3 half steps     C to Eb
Major Third      4 half steps     C to E
Perfect Fourth   5 half steps     C to F
Augmented Fourth/
Diminished Fifth 6 half steps     C to F#
Perfect Fifth    7 half steps     C to G
Augmented Fifth/
Minor Sixth      8 half steps     C to G#
Major Sixth/
Diminished Seventh 9 half steps   C to A
Minor Seventh    10 half steps    C to Bb
Major Seventh    11 half steps    C to B
Octave           12 half steps    C to C

    A specific set of intervals contained within one octave.  In this lesson 
we will deal only with the Major scale, but will utilize the Minor and others
soon.  The interval formula for the major scale is as such (in C Major):

root   major    major  perfect  perfect  major    major    
       second   third  fourth   fifth    sixth    seventh   octave
^        ^       ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^  
C        D       E        F        G        A        B        C

I        ii      iii      IV       V        vi       vii*     I

The Roman numerals underneath the note name indicate the type of chord
that is formed when the scale is harmonized, which is what we will look
at in this lesson.

Capital letter (I) indicates a major chord
Lower case letter (i) indicates a minor chord
An asterisk (*) next to it indicates a diminished chord

A plus sign (+) indicates an augmented chord; there is no augmented
chord in the example above since the augmented chord does not occur
naturally in the major scale.  example: III+

That about does it as far as basic information you will need for this
lesson.  The best thing to do would be to commit the previous
information to memory, and that will make putting it into practice much

Part Two.
On to the fun stuff.   First off, pick a key.  Any key.  For the sake
of clarity and simplicity,  we'll pick C Major.  Once you have these
ideas down, you can go back and apply them to any scale,  including
minor,  synthetic, and any others you wish to mention.  Now, spell out
the scale and number it as above,  so that you have:

C 	D	E	F	G	A	B	C
I 	ii	iii	IV	V	vi	vii*	octave

Now, harmonize the scale in thirds, i.e. take a note, and put the second note
from it on top, such as C-E.  This is called harmonizing in DIATONIC thirds, 
where the third is either major or minor, depending on which note is contained
within the key signature.

So, once you have done this, you should have the following pairs:

C-E	Maj
F-A	Maj
G-B	Maj

(There is no need to repeat the octave here)

Notice that pairs 1,4,and 5 are major thirds, and that pairs 2,3,6 and
7 are minor thirds.  This is the pattern you will ALWAYS get when
harmonizing a major scale.

Now go back and add a fifth above the root of each third, i.e. take the
fourth note over from the root, such as C-G.  You should end up with
the following:

C-E-G	Maj
F-A-C	Maj
G-B-D	Maj

Now, look at the resulting triads.  You will notice that the 1st, 4th
and 5th triads are major chords, the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th triads are minor
chords, and the 7th triad is a diminished chord.  This is the pattern
for all major keys.

So, looking at the results we get the following formulas:

Major chord:      Root note, Major third, Perfect fifth (from root)
Minor chord:      Root note, Minor third, Perfect fifth
Diminished chord: Root note, Minor third, Diminished fifth

Now that you know the theory involved, memorize all the above, and
apply it to all 12 keys.  You will end up with double sharps and double
flats in some of the keys, so don't be alarmed when it happens-just
check and make sure that you have the correct intervals from the root

That Was Interesting, But How Do I Apply It To The Guitar??

Simple!  First thing you do is get a fret board chart, such as the one
at the end of this lesson.  Then, build your triads as above.  Next,
pick a position on the neck and build the chord in that position,

In Eighth Position
C Major chord : C E G
     8      9        10     11

Chord Notes:
     G       E

This is called a Chord Inversion, where the root note of the chord is
not the lowest sounding note.  In this case, it is a first inversion
chord, because the third of the chord (E) is on the bottom.  If the
fifth of the chord (G)  were on the bottom, it would be referred to as
a second inversion chord.

Well, that's about all for this lesson.  Next time we will examine more
chords obtained by adding to the basic triads, and will begin
harmonizing the minor scale.  If you have any questions, feel free to
write me at either E-Mail address below, and I will happily answer
anything you have to ask.

			Dave Good


Fingerboard by Frank Palcat, taken from Usenet:

Musical note equivalencies:
 A# = Bb     B# = C
 C# = Db     Cb = B
 D# = Eb     E# = F
 F# = Gb     Fb = E
 G# = Ab

  0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11   12
E||-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--| thin
B||-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|  ||
G||-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|  ||
D||-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|  ||
A||-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|  \/
E||-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--| thick

 12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24
E |-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|
B |-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|
G |-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|
D |-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|
A |-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|
E |-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|

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