Learning Guitar Chord Structure

Simple Instructions to Learn Chord Structure Easily

Harmony in Guitar Playing

Harmony is something that must be considered at least to some capacity even as a beginner guitar player. It can take quite some time to understand harmony and how it works at the expert level, but a working knowledge of what harmony is, its basic principles and properties will undoubtedly aid you in your guitar-learning journey.

Harmony is something that has developed in relatively recently in the history of music. Primitive cultures rarely exhibit any intentional kind of harmony in their music. Harmony is certainly something that has taken root and spread like wildfire in western civilization as it is a bit more sophisticated in comparison with melody and rhythm.

So, what is harmony exactly? Harmony takes a combination of sounds and plays them at the same time or it adds accompaniment of chords to the melody.

What are Chords in Guitar Playing?

A chord is a series of three or more tones played at the same time. When played simultaneously, and when sounding as a whole, you’ve created a chord.

Chord construction follows a few basic principles. Perhaps the most classic, and certainly the simplest of chords is call the major triad. The major triad is made up of three tones. In order to construct this major triad you must choose a tone from a certain major scale and then add two or more other tones on both sides of the scale.

The chord may be composed differently. A variety of chord arrangement are possible. Variables like being able to play an octave higher or lower add to the variations possible and sheer number of possibilities that exist in chord selection and arrangement.

History of Chords in Guitar Playing

Throughout the 18th, 19th and beginning of 20th centuries, creating chords in thirds was the most popular from of making harmony.

Starting in the 1900s, mastery music composers got more creative about the production of harmony. They created a more colorful tapestry of sounds and effects. Still, conventional harmony used in modern music utilizes chord construction in thirds.

Major Chords

As you may have noticed, there are a variety of fingering positions for the major chords. Considering that there are twelve frets on the guitar, it makes sense that the options are varied and many. The twelve frets represent twelve different octaves but all octaves contain the potential to play the same notes just at a different level or tone.

D: 3rd fret at B, 5th fret at A, 7th at G and 10th at E;

E: 2nd at D, 5th at B, 7th at A, 9th at G and 12th at E;

F: 1st at E, 3rd at D, 6th sy B, 8th sy S snf 10th at G;

G: 3rd at E, 5th at D, 8th at B, 10th at A and 12th at G;

A: 2nd at G, 5th at E, 7th at D, 10th at B and 12th at A;

and B: 2nd at A, 4th at G, 7th at E, 9th at D and 12th at B.

Depending on the song and how you want the melody to sound and be arranged, the chord production can use any fingering position as long as you’ve created the triad and the play-ability is feasible.

Guitar chords

Minor Chords

We’ve now discussed the major chord at length, let’s dive into the minor chord. In order to create the minor chord, take the major chord, alter the third by lowering it one fret on the guitar or one semitone. This example is a C-Eflat-G triad which is in fact, a minor triad.

Take a look at your fret board to check out all the possible fingering positions of the minor chord. You’ll notice that only one string is lowered when creating this chord from the major triad.

Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned! Here we’ve outlined the C-chord combinations. Why don’t you chart the major and minor chord triads for the rest of the notes? From here you can start and continue on your way to playing like a pro!

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