Finding the Chords in the Patterns

So far I have given you the scale shape patterns for both the Minor and the Major. Now we are going to look more closely at what these notes in the respective scales actually are. Basically I am going to throw some theory at you.

Once we have done this I can discuss what are probably the most important scales to know. So far we have only looked at Pentatonic Shapes: this means that these are are shortened version of scales. These Scales contain only 5 notes hence Penta. Full scales usually contain 8 notes so a C major scale would have 8 notes beginning on C (Root) and ending on C an Octave higher = 8 notes. Pentatonic Scales are easier to remember because they only contain 5 notes. However it is possible to use the Pentatonic Scales either Minor or Major to develop a full scale of 8 notes or more by adding some of the missing notes depending upon which scale you want.

Typically a scale has 8 notes which we refer to as scale degrees. I , II, III,  IV , V , VI, VII the last note or 8th degree we do not mention because it is actually another Root Note the same as the starting note but a full Octave (8th note higher than where we started).

If we now look at our Major pentatonic Shape we can see it contains the Scale Degrees of I , II,  III ,  V and VI only. So we miss out the degrees of IV and VII.  The Minor Pentatonic has the  I , flattened III note which we write as bIII, it then has a IV , V and a VII degree again flattened by a semitone which we write as bVII.

I shall now present this in a form of a diagram for both the Major Pentatonic and the Minor Pentatonic. This is important because if we wish to create a Chord of 3 notes or more from either of these scale shapes we have to know what notes to put into the Chord as there are rules relating to chord construction. The most basic rule is to determine if the chord is a Major Chord or a sadder Minor Chord. The only difference is that a Minor Chord will use a flattened 3rd III (bIII) note whereas a Major Chord will use a naturally occurring Major 3rd note which comes from a Major Scale. This is the only differentiating factor which determines whether a chord is major or minor or put another way if it sounds happy (major) or sad (minor). When we know the scale degrees we can find which notes need to be included in the chord.



Mainly a Chord will usually contain a Root note and a 3rd (III) either major or the flattened 3rd minor and then a fifth V scale degree and this is the recipe for a basic chord either major or minor. I don’t wish to go into more depth about this as chord construction is far more complicated as much as you want it to be really. I just want to show the basics. For more information about the subject there are many great sources available.

And now here are the basic Major and Minor Chords built from the Scale Shapes.




This covers the scale shapes how they relate to the basic chords. For more about chord construction there are alternative sources available. Other Chords include Dominant7th Chords, 9th chords and 6th Chords but this is beyond the scope of the tutorial. Consult a good Chord Dictionary there are many available.

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