Chord Construction – Variations of Major and Minor Chords

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Following on from last week's article where we looked at basic triads and some extended chords, this week we are going to look at some variants to these.

Major Chords

A 6th chord builds upon the basic major triad by adding the 6th note of the scale. You can also add a 9th to this chord to make the unusual 6/9 chord. A 9th is obtained by continuing the scale into the next octave, but we will come back to this in the future. An Add9 chord is a major triad with a 9th added.

Minor Chords

The Min 6th is obtained by adding the 6th to the basic minor triad. It may seem slightly counterintuitive but it is the MAJOR 6th that is added, not the b6.

The Minor7b5 chord is sometimes referred to as the half-diminished chord. It is the chord that is built upon the 7th scale degree of the major scale. It is most often used as the II chord in a ii – V – i chord progression.

Sus Chords

Sus chords are an abbreviation of Suspended. This means you don’t play the 3rd and you replace it with the note stated. Because of the lack of a 3rd of any type, it means they have the strange quality of being neither Major nor Minor!

Augmented Chords

To augment means to ‘sharpen’ a note, and is the proper term for sharpening a 4th or 5th. So an augment chord is a major chord but with a #5.

I hope you enjoyed this chord review and found it helpful!!

Check back next week where we'll take it even further. Work hard and most importantly, have fun!!

-Duncan Richardson - MU Columnist

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