Chords, Triads, and Chord Progressions
Chords are any collection of notes played simultaneously. For most purposes, they are essentially triads laid out in different formations
Triads consist of three tones. The root note, the third, and the fifth (1-3-5). The distance intervallically between the root and the third (1-3) is a third, the distance between the third and the fifth (3-5) is also a third, and the distance between the root and the fifth (1-5) is a fifth.
(ww)+(wh) or Major third minor third
(wh)+(ww) or minor third Major third
(wh)+(wh) or minor third minor third
(ww)+(ww) or Major third Major Third
Chords mainly use these formulas in different dispositions and inversions to build upon. Therefore, learning what notes correspond to which full triads can assist you in figuring out what kind of chord to use.
Using the 1-3-5 formula on each note, we can ascertain these triads for each note in C
ALL triads will have these same note combinations, so it is very important to memorize them! The only differences will be where the sharps(#) and flats(b) lay in the triads in different keys.
Naturally, each triad has a Major, minor, or diminished quality in 7 note Major/minor scales. These are represented by Roman Numerals. Capital (I) means major, lowercase (ii) means minor, the superscript on minor ( viio ) means diminished.
Writing good chord progressions has a lot to do with harmonic motion, individual voice leading, personal taste, functional harmony, and a whole load of other important factors. As we work on those aspects, here are some formula that can help in the meantime
And finally - should you be interested in a video that explains much of what this post went over - we’ve got one for you!