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A couple of my biggest aha moments

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A couple of my biggest aha moments

Postby markrocka » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:49 am

This will probably be old hat for a lot of people, but I wanted to share a couple of things that really helped me understand chord theory better. Both of these things hit me as a "Well DUH, dummy! Why didn't I know that?" inspiration.

The first was that the circle of 5ths, played counter-clockwise is a circle of 4ths. It just seems so obvious, but I knew about the circle of 5ths for years and never made that connection. So, the brilliance of the circle is that you can pick any note on it, look to the left, then to the right, and you have your 1, 4, 5 progression.

That lead to my next DUH moment soon after. Let's say G is your 1 (root) chord in the song. So, you normally see a C and D in there as your 4 and 5 somewhere. If the song moves to an A, I had always called that a 2 chord, but one of my friends pointed out that the A natural has a note that's not in the G major scale (the C#) so it's not an actual 2 chord. The 2 chord is an Am. Here's the DUH part. The A chord in this case is the 5th of the 5th. So, if you look at the circle of 5ths, you see that the A is 2 spaces to the right of G, so it goes G -> D -> A. That means that the A showing up in the song draws your ear in and wants to hear that 5th of a 5th resolve to the D, and finally back to G.

Those are probably my 2 biggest AHA moments in my self-taught music study. Hopefully they can help someone else get where they're going faster than it took me. :)
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Re: A couple of my biggest aha moments

Postby Harv » Mon May 08, 2017 9:22 am

Hi MarkRocka,
Thank you for sharing!
I'm using the Circle of Fifths every time I pick up my guitar. A few things that are useful...
If you play along with a keyboard player... And ask them what key they are playing in, they often will give an answer like... 3 flats, or 4 sharps.
At the top of the Circle... You have C and Am. Those 2 chords are neutral. (No sharps or flats)
Moving to the left (Counter clockwise) you have flats..
F, Dm is one flat. Bb, Gm is 2 flats. And so on.

Sharps are to the Right of C ... 1 sharp.. G, Am ... 2 sharps. D, Bm... Etc.


I recently discovered the formula for every major and minor chord.
Look at the circle of fifths...

A C major chord is defined by 3 notes.
C, G and A.
Find those 3 notes on the Circle of Fifths.

The C chord has C... And G to the Right. Then count 2 spaces to locate A.
You can figure out every major chord with that formula.
A minor chord.... Cm is C... And the G to the Right...
Go to C and count 2 spaces to the left... Ab.
That is the formula for every minor chord.

All the best,

Harv
All things work together for good.
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Re: A couple of my biggest aha moments

Postby mreisz » Mon May 08, 2017 2:43 pm

Harv wrote: I recently discovered the formula for every major and minor chord.
Look at the circle of fifths...

A C major chord is defined by 3 notes.
C, G and A.
Find those 3 notes on the Circle of Fifths.

The C chord has C... And G to the Right. Then count 2 spaces to locate A.
You can figure out every major chord with that formula.
A minor chord.... Cm is C... And the G to the Right...
Go to C and count 2 spaces to the left... Ab.
That is the formula for every minor chord.


I think something might have gotten lost in translation. The C major chord would be C E G (or did I pick a bad day to quit sniffing glue?)
Mike

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Re: A couple of my biggest aha moments

Postby 5stringpreacher » Mon May 08, 2017 10:04 pm

mreisz wrote:... The C major chord would be C E G (or did I pick a bad day to quit sniffing glue?)


I sure hope you're right, or my banjolele is WAY out of tune.
I pick, therefore I grin.
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Re: A couple of my biggest aha moments

Postby mreisz » Mon May 08, 2017 11:46 pm

I went and looked at the circle, and I think I see what was intended. If you modified the process a little bit it works for finding a major chord's notes. The 5th will be the one adjacent clockwise to the root. The third would be the fourth one clockwise from the root.
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