Chords 101 - The Major Triad | Elvire Boelee | Skillshare

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Chords 101 - The Major Triad

teacher avatar Elvire Boelee, Pianist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1: Chord Structure

    • 3. Lesson 2: The D & E Major Chord

    • 4. Lesson 3: The F, G, A & B Major Chord

    • 5. Chords 101 : Your Project

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About This Class

In this course I'm going to teach you how to find any major triad. The major triad is one of the most used chords in music. Once you know the structure of a major triad, you can find all the major triads, because no matter if you're playing G, E, or F major, the structure of the chords is always the same.

Being able to play chords is a very useful skill, it will help you play almost any pop song easily. The most used chords are the major and minor triads. In this course we're discussing the major triad.

After watching this course you will be able to find and play all major triads. I do recommend a minimum of 15 minutes of practice every day. Chords are most useful to you if you don't have to think about them, but if you've practiced them so much that they come natural and easy to you.  

Meet Your Teacher

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Elvire Boelee



I started playing piano at the age of 6 and basically I've never stopped. I started winning prizes in competitions at just 11 years old, and at 19 I started studying at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen (the Netherlands). I received my Bachelor degree in Classical Piano, and I've been teaching at the Music School Kunst&Coo (Art&Co) since January 2014. There I'm teaching piano to a little over 30 students of all ages and levels. It's from my students that most of my ideas for my Skillshare courses come. 

I've been drawing since I can remember. After choosing the Conservatory over Art school, art has been a little on hold, but I've recently started up my dream of trying to improve my art skills so that I'm able to depict all the stories and images music gives me.&... See full profile

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1. Introduction: hi and welcome to Cords 101 The major triad. My name is l feel a bullet. I'm a Dutch concert pianist and teacher. I studied classical Cano in the Prince Claus Conservatory in Cloning of the Netherlands, and after that I started teaching in a music school in Friesland, which is in the north of the Netherlands. I've been teaching over 10 years, and I have seen a lot of different students of all kinds of different levels. In this course, I'm going to talk about the major Triad. I think recognizing and being able to play courts is an incredibly useful skill to have. It's also very versatile. If you know the basic chords, you can pretty much learn to play any pop song. In this course, I'm going to teach you how to recognize and play major triads. Major triads are one of the most used chords. I will be teaching you how to count out the distances between all three notes of the triad . The distances off the major triads between all the notes are always the same. No matter if you're playing, see Major d major E major etcetera. After watching this course, you will be able to find and play all major triads. This does require, of course, that you practice. I would recommend a daily practice of at least 15 minutes. I wish you a lot of fun watching this course. And, of course, if any questions come up while you're watching, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'd be very happy to help you out. 2. Lesson 1: Chord Structure: welcome to the first lesson in this lesson. We're going to take a look at the structure of our court. The court that we're going to take a look at in this course is the major try, and it's one of the most simple and one of the most used chords in music. Let's take a look at our first court. This is the C major Triad, as you'll notice we have the sea. Have a note. In between have e have a known in between again and we have a G. Now all triads are of a similar structure. But there's one more very important thing that you need to know in order to be able to find all of the major triads. And that is the distance between the notes. Let's take a look at our 1st 2 notes. Those are the sea in the whenever you have two notes, we call this an interval, and this Interpol specifically, we call 1/3 because it's a distance of three c. We count as one. The D is, too, and the East three. That's why we call it 1/3 and a triad is 2/3 on top of each other. We have the sea in the which is 1/3 and then we have the energy, which is also 1/3. So 2/3 on top of each other make a triad. Let's take a look at that one more time. So whenever you play two notes, we call them an interval and this injure fall specifically, we call 1/3. That's because the distance between the sea and the is counted as 3123 a third. All triads are a combination of 2/3. We have the sea and the end, and we have the energy. Together they make R C Major. Try it. Let's go one step further. There are two kinds of thirds. There's the major third, but there's also the minor third. Okay, so how does that work? We still have as a distance. It's still 1/3 because we have 123 still the same interval. But in this case, it's a minor. We have the major. We have the minor. Probably you're here a big difference in sound. This sounds happy and open, and this sounds rather sad. That's usually the way you can hear the difference between major and minor. We're happy and Oldham more sad if you don't hear the difference so well, that's absolutely OK, because there's another, much more practical way to know the difference between a major third and a minor third. In order to do that, we need to count the distances exactly between the notes. But before we do that, let's for a quick second review The distances of the piano keyboard. As you might know, the distances of a piano keyboard are consisting of whole tones and half tones. For example, this is 1/2 tone, as you see there right next to each other, and this is a whole tone. We know that because there's actually one tone in the middle. There's 1/2 tone, one more half tone. Together, they make a whole toe now that one a bit fast. So I'm going to do that one more time for you. If you take a look and we're starting at the see, the note closest to the right is actually not the D, but the C sharp, because that's 1/2 tone difference. Now we have the distance from the sea sharp to the G's, also 1/2 tone as you see together, 1/2 down, one more half tone makes one whole tone. That means the distance between the sea and the G is one whole tone. Now the same goes for the D under the Sharp. This is 1/2 tone again, and if you immediately want to train your ears, just get used to the way a halftime sounds. Well, this is another half tone from the D sharp to the E, and that means that the D and E that's a whole tone with one tone in the middle. One black, he in the middle. So you're seeing that the piano consists of white keys with black in the middle. That means that the distance from white key toe white King is a whole tone with a black E in the middle with this half tone in the middle, so we have half, half half, and that together makes one home at one hole. Now, the exception comes as we're seeing between the me and the F. There's no black key. That means that the E and the F is 1/2 tone because there's nothing in the middle. Okay, so we have 1/2 tone another half tone, which makes up a whole tone. We have half tone, another half tone, which makes it the whole tone. And then we have 1/2 tone because there is no Blackie in the middle. That means that this is 1/2 tone. Let's move on. And I think you got it by now. So I'm gonna do it quick. We have another half tone because we're having a black key from the bookie to the White Keys. Another half tone. And that means that this one is Ah, exactly ah, whole tone. So we're going another half tone over here from the white to the Blackie, another half done over here, from the black to the White King, from the white to the white. Here is a whole tone because we're having a Blackie in the middle. The same goes for this white. Keep Leckie 1/2 tone again, the key to white key half tone again and you guessed it the A and the B. That's a whole tone difference. But now we come again to the exception, just like we saw here between the E and the F where there's no black, he remember that was 1/2 tone with the same situation is here between the bay and the sea. That's 1/2 tone. So you're probably wondering why this deviation? Why are we looking suddenly at half a whole tones? Well, we're looking at that because it's the easiest way to distinguish a major third from a minor third. Now that we've refreshed our memory of whole and half tones, let's take a look at those thirds. A major third. Always without exception, is two whole tones next to each other. Let's take a look at that. We have seen the D. That's a whole tone. We have the D and the E. That's also a bowl tone, which means that the sea and the is a major third. That's always without any exception. Now let's take a look at a minor third that is always a distance of 1.5 key, which means CND is one whole tone but an E flat next to it. The D and the E that are 1/2 tone as you're seeing 1.5 tone makes up our minor third. Let's take a look at that one more time. Our major third is always a distance of two whole tones. The C and A D are one tone and the d and the E R. One whole tone. Together they make our major third. A minor Third is always a distance of 1.5. We have the C and A D. That's one whole tone. We have the D and the E flat. That's 1/2 tone. One on 1/2 tones is our minor third. So there's one more thing you need to know until we can easily find our cord. Our major triad consists always first of a major third and then off a minor third. This might not sound to your ears like a minor third, but if we look at the distance, we'll actually see. This is a minor third, the E and the F is 1/2 tone. The M and the G is one whole tone. 1.5 tones. This is our minor third. That's why you can't always trust your ears but distances you could always trust. We have a distance of 1.5. We have our minor third, and we have a distance of two whole tones. our major third. Together, we have a major triad. So what if you actually do the wrong order? What if you first start with a minor third and then continue with a major third? Well, then you get a minor try out. That's the exact opposite order. So finally, enough, there's actually always a minor third in our major chords. It just doesn't come first. It comes 2nd 1st It's our major third, then is our minor third. Together we have major court, so don't accidentally reverse them. Because if you first would are minor third and then our major third, you get a minor course. So that was a lot of information. But I promise, once we get to practicing on the cords, is going to sink in a lot better. So continue on to our next lesson where we're going to learn our d major and r e major chord 3. Lesson 2: The D & E Major Chord: Welcome to lesson number two. In this lesson, we're going to learn our d major and r e major chord with the knowledge that we've learned in our first lesson. Okay, let's review it. Just for a minute. We've learned that our triads consists of 2/3 on top of each other. We have 2/3 1 3rd on a 2nd 3rd 1/3 was a distance of three from the note that you're counting. So the scene is 123 nuts are 1st 3rd and our 2nd 3rd 123 always a distance of three 2/3 on top of each other. Make a major triad. Now there's two different types of thirds. You have a major third, and you also have a minor third. The difference can be heard, but it's more easy and more reliable to check always the distance in order to find your major or minor. Third, a major third half the distance of two whole tones, one whole tone. A second hole tone makes up our major third. A minor third always has the distance of 1.5 tone, which is one and half. This is her minor third, now a major Triad starts first with a major third Remember a distance of one to hold, owns a major third and ends with a minor third. You see 1/2 tone. There's no Blackie in between. Remember, this is 1/2 tone and one full tone. 1.5 tone are minor. Third starts with a major third and ends with a minor third together or major Triad. That was a quick little reminder of Lesson one. Let's now apply our knowledge to find RG major chord. Okay, well, obviously we're going to start on the No Deep from here on, Remember, our 1st 3rd is going to be a major third. And in order to find a major third, we're going to find a distance of two whole Key. The 1st 1 is easily found the D and the E. R. A whole tone together. So the 1st 1 we found. But now if we go to the f, you'll see that's only half a tone. We need to go half a tone more to get our second whole tone. Yeah, let's try it again. So the first hole tone we can easily find that's a whole tone difference between D and E. But D and F is only 1/2 tones. We have to travel a little further to find our first major third. There we go. That's our first major third, the first major third to find our d major triad. Now remember the 2nd 1? The 2nd 3rd has to be a minor third, because otherwise we're going to get a very strange sounding chord. So from the F sharp that we were let's find our 2nd 3rd from the F sharp to the G is half a tone. So now we need only one more tone in order to find our minor third. There we go. That's our minor third. So we combine. Those two are major third and are minor third to get our d major crying. So what actually does happen if you accidentally put two major triumphs on top of each other? You get a weird sounding chord. It is actually used. We even have a name for it is called an augmented court. It issues, but obviously not has often as the D major. Try it. So let's stick to the D major. Try it for now, Make sure to always start with the major third, but after that, remember comes a minor third. So we're doing a distance of two whole tones. Onda. After that 1.5 tone together, we have our D major court now. Obviously, this trick that I'm teaching you now is in order to find all these chords on the keyboard, you can imagine. I don't sit down every day to count out my chords before I play them off. Course not. It's only a message of finding them before you learn them by heart. You're probably not. Unless you have some kind of amazing memory. You're probably not going to learn them by heart in one day, so this trick is just to find them before you learn them all by heart. And that's why I would advise after this lesson when you know already see Major D major and E major practice does every day for a couple of days to learn them by heart. All the thing that mainly you have to remember because it's a pretty easy cord to remember . You're using your first finger, your third finger, your fifth finger. You put all your your fingers on the correct keys, but everyone hasn't note in between. So you're using your 1st 3rd and fifth finger. You do have to, of course, remember the Sharps. So you have to remember that it's no this. That's a minor Triad D major is this so? Obviously, my trick is just for figuring them out the first few weeks before you learn them by heart. But if you practice hard, you'll know them by heart in a jiffy. And you'll never need to know this trick again. Unless, of course, you're looking for other chords like the augmented chord we just discussed. There's lots of more cords out there, so it's very handy to get to know the distance is really well. And accords, by the way, are very often a collection of thirds. For example, you might have heard the term of a dominant chord is their famous. You might have just heard it in passing, even if you didn't know what it meant. Dominant chord, for example. It is also a collection of thirds. We have a major third, a minor third and another minor third on top way have three thirds on top of each other to make the dominant chord. So even though we're not gonna take a look at that today, just getting handy with these distances just getting handy with finding the major and the minor thirds will help you in the future as well. If courts are something you're interested in to pursue further. Okay, let's take a look at our final court of this lesson, which is going to be the e major chord, so I think you're able to already find it by yourself by now. If you want to try and check yourself, feel free to pause the video to figure it out by yourself and after that check to see if you had it correct. I would definitely advise doing that because finding things yourself is always more tricky than just listening to the video. Okay, so if you pause it, you can come and check to see if you had of correct. We're going to find all this year on the easiest is the first note because of a e major. Triad it. We're going to start, of course, on the after that, we're going to start with our major third. Now I have to admit that this one might be a bit tricky to find by yourself, but I'm actually very curious to see which one. If you found it out by themselves. The first distance that we see is 1/2 tone, which means we're going to go one more half. That's a whole tone. Now, from here to here's another half tone would remember we need two whole tones for the major third. So we're going to have to go half a tone more. Did you keep counts? I'll do it again for you. So we have 1/2 tone, right? Another half, Joan. Now we have one whole tone. We're not there yet because one we need one whole tone more for our major third. This is 1/2 tone, Mr It is. We need half more to get to work. Whole tone, our second whole tone. This is our major third. Okay, now the minor third is going to be really easy to find. Here we have 1/2 1/2 tone and we only need one whole tone more. Which means that this is our minor Third. Here we go, E major. Okay. I hope that you got it right. And I'll see you in the next lesson in which we're going to find F Major G major a major and finally be major. 4. Lesson 3: The F, G, A & B Major Chord: welcome to lessen three in this lesson. We're going to find the f g A and B major. Try it. Lesson number one. I explained a lot of theory to you. I explained how to find these cords. Theoretically, In the second lesson, we had a short recap of lesson one and we found two Mawr triads. Now, what I want you to do in this lesson, I want you to find all of the major triads first yourself. So, before I'm going to show you f major, I want you to pause the video and I want you to find it yourself because it's one thing to theoretically understand something, but it's another entirely to actually put your knowledge into practice. So I would absolutely encourage you to try yourself to find all of the cords, just to check yourself to see if you understood everything. And, of course, if you're making a mistake somewhere and you don't understand it, even after watching the video feel free absolutely, to ask the question in the common section, I'd be very happy to help you out. So I'm going to start with F major. Feel free to pause it on, find it yourself. Write it down and ah, a NPAs it to check to see if you had your answer correctly. Okay, so we're gonna start with the easiest node. Obviously, for F major, we're going to start on the f. No, remember, we're going to find our major 3rd 1st because we start always with a major third. That's a distance of two whole tones. So to the F and the G is one tone from the gene to the A's Another tone in total two whole tones. This is the first part of our major triad For the 2nd 3rd we need to find a minor third because the major tried is always the major 3rd 1st and followed by the minor third, we're gonna find our minor third by going one on 1/2 tones up. So a to the B is one tone on the B to the sea is half a tone because there is no lucky in between. That means our F major triad is the FDA in the sea. Now, let me know if you had it correct. And let me know if you have any questions we're going to continue on with G major, and I'd like you to pause it again. Find it yourself before you continue, We're going to start on the G. We're gonna go. Two whole tones up from the G to the A is a whole tone from the age of the B is another whole tone. That means that's our first, third our first diction of our triad. For the 2nd 3rd we're going to go 1.5 tones up from the B to the seas half a tone just like we saw with our f major Triad beat in the seas Half a tone then from the sea to the D is one whole tone in total That's 1.5 tones for our minor 3rd 1st are major than are minor Together we have the G major triumph. Okay, I hope you're getting the hang of this and we're going to continue on to a major. You're gonna pause the video again. You're gonna find it on the piano and you're going to a NPAs it to check to see if you had it correct. Here we are. We're starting with the A. Now this one is a little tricky. It's actually very similar to the e major chord we saw and listened to from the age of the bees. Easy is one whole tone, but from the B to the sea, as we've seen with our courts before, is actually half a tone. That means we need to go one more half up and we don't pay a C but a c sharp. That's our major third, the first part of our A major triad. Then for the minor, that one is easier. We go half a tone up to the D. That's half a tone and one whole tone up to the E. That's our 1.5 tone that we need in order to form are minor. Third, we have a major third. We have our minor third and together we have are a major triad. Now, this one was a little trick here, so I'm actually very curious to see if you had it correct. And if you do have any questions, don't have state to reach out. We're going to end with be major. Make sure to pause the video again because this one is actually the most challenging. We save the most challenging for last So we're gonna start with our being for a B major try and we're going to start on be that one You can't get wrong and we need to have two whole tones in order to make our 1st 3rd this one as it promises the most challenging. But I'm hoping that you will have it correct from the first time. If not, just follow along with me, from the B to the sea, as we have seen is 1/2 tones. We need one more half tone in order to make her first whole tone from the B to this C Sharp is our first whole tone. And as you know, we need one whole tone more in order to complete Our 1st 3rd from the seizures to the D is half a tone. So we need half a tone more, which means that we need to play the d sharp. Our 1st 3rd is the B in the D shark. Okay, So in order to find our 2nd 3rd which is our minor third, we need to go 1.5 tones. So going from the D shirt to the E is half a tone. We need one more tone in order to make one whole tone. So we're going from the each of the F. That's our first whole tone. Now we need half a tone mawr in order to make our 1.5 tones to make up our minor third. So we're going to the F Sharp d Sharp f sharp. That's our minor. Third, the be major triad is B D Sharp and F shark. Let me know if you have any questions. Let me also know if you had all them correct, because that's really awesome. So what you need to do now is you need to practice them, learn them by heart and get really comfortable in these cores because, as I explained in lesson to, you're not going to count them out. That doesn't work. They need to really become part of your system. 5. Chords 101 : Your Project: for your project. I want you to find any of the remaining major chords that we haven't discussed in our course. I made a list of thes chords in the project section, and you can write these cords in a music notation program. For example, Muse Score is a free music notation program. You can write them by hand on some music paper. You can even create your own music paper by just drawing five parallel lines and then writing your notes in them. You can also upload a picture of yourself playing one of the cords. Make sure to include which notes you're playing. Just write that down and make sure that you right on which cord you're trying to play. For example, if you're trying to pay B flat major, make sure to mention that you're trying to play beef that major and also make sure to mention the notes that you're playing by name. Lastly, of course, you can always upload a video of yourself playing the court. Make sure again to mention which court you're playing and which notes you're playing. However you can to blow the video directly to the project section, so you'll have to upload a link That can be, for example, from YouTube or Vimeo. And if you're shy, you can always post a private link. I'm looking forward to seeing your projects.