Constructing Chords from Scales

Using a Capo
September 19, 2015
Triads: A Closer Look
September 22, 2015

Constructing Chords from Scales


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Triads are chords made of three separate notes. These notes are chosen from the scale of whatever key you’re writing in.

Select any note in the scale to act as your chords root note. Now continue up the scale selecting every other note until the root note repeats itself. In the example below we can see how this would work.

Making a Chord from an A Major Scale


  • I’ve taken an A major scale and selected the first note “A” to be our chords root note.
  • I then skipped over B and chose C# to be our chords second note (which is an interval of a Major Third away from the root note).
  • Then I repeated this formula all the way through the scale until I reached our root note “A” again.

Each note selected is named after it’s interval distance from the root note of the chord.

Notes chosen past the octave are also named after their distance from the original root note, so a Second becomes a Ninth, a Fourth becomes an Eleventh and a Sixth becomes a Thirteenth. These notes are called Tensions and they are used to add flavor to a chords sound.

The first three notes (root thru fifth) make up the meat and potatoes of our chord. They are called the Triad.