“What Is ‘Chord Quality’ All About?”

There are so many definitions of the term “chord” out there, however according to emmakeyzginstrumentalz, “A chord is a collection of related notes [pleasant or unpleasant] that are played or heard at the same time.”

To the layman, a chord can either sound pleasant or unpleasant. But to the music and musicians, there are certain properties that chords have beyond sounding pleasant or unpleasant.

One of the properties that distinguishes one chord from another chord is quality. Although the quality of a chord depends on several factors, here are two notable ones…

  • The intervals it contains (aka – “intervallic constituents”)
  • The interval between its first and third tones

Let’s look at these two factors.

Factor #1 – Intervallic Constituents

There are five classes of intervals – perfect, major, minor, augmented, and diminished intervals. The class of intervals a chord is made up of (aka – “intervallic constituents”) determines the overall quality of a chord.

Example #1 – “Take a look at the C major triad…”

The C major triad:

…has the following intervallic constituents…

C and E:

…a major third interval.

C and G:

…a perfect fifth interval.

The quality of the C major triad is majorbecause of the major third interval (which is its intervallic constituent.)

Attention: Don’t let the perfect fifth interval bother you. In terms of chord quality determination, only four classes of intervals are used as benchmarks and they are major, minor, augmented, and diminished.

Example #2 – “The C minor triad…”

The C minor triad:

…has the following intervallic constituents…

C and Eb:

…a minor third interval.

C and G:

…a perfect fifth interval.

The quality of the C minor triad is minorbecause of the minor third interval (which is its intervallic constituent.)

Example #3 – “The C augmented triad…”

The C augmented triad:

…has the following intervallic constituents…

C and E:

…a major third interval.

C and G#:

…an augmented fifth interval.

The quality of the C augmented triad is augmented because of the augmented fifth interval (which is its intervallic constituent.)

Example #4 – “The C diminished triad…”

The C diminished triad:

…has the following intervallic constituents…

C and Eb:

…a minor third interval.

C and Gb:

…a diminished fifth interval.

The quality of the C diminished triad is diminished because of the diminished fifth interval (which is its intervallic constituent.)

Factor #2 – The Interval Between Its First And Third Tones

The quality of a chord can also be determined by the interval between its first and third tones.

In the C major triad:

…for example, the interval between the first and the third tones (C and E):

…is a major third interval and that’s why the C major triad is considered a major triad.

However, there are occasions where you’ll need to go beyond the third [to other tones] to determine the quality of a chord.

“Here’s one of those occasions…”

If you’re given C-E-G#:

You shouldn’t Conclude that C-E-G# is a major triad simply because the interval between C and E:

…is a major third. The chord given (C-E-G#):

…has an augmented fifth, consequently, it’s an augmented chord.

Although the quality of a chord can be determined by the interval between the root and the third, however, it’s advisable to always look beyond the root and third, to the fifth and seventh.

In a nutshell, chord qualities are described using the following terms:

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Diminished
  • Augmented
  • Dominant

Take note that the term dominant is used to describe chords that are formed on the fifth degree of the key (whether major or minor.)

Three Chord Qualities You Should Pay Attention To And Why

In the classification of chords according to quality, there are major chords, minor chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, and dominant chords. However, there are three chord qualities that are an everyday option for you and I.

Here they are…

  • Major chords
  • Minor chords
  • Dominant chords

Submission: I’m not saying all chord qualities are not important; far from that. All chord qualities have their place in music, however, we singled out these three because of a variety of reasons. But in this lesson, I’ll be giving you just two reasons why you need to pay attention to these three chord qualities.

Reason #1 – Tonality

One of the reasons why these three chord qualities are important is because of tonality. In the concept of tonality, the idea is to make a particular tone a key (aka – “tonal center”.) The note C:

…becomes a key if made a tonal center. Due to the fact that there are two types of tonality (aka – “key”), the note C:

….can either be a major or a minor key.

For a tonality to be established or contradicted, it requires the harmonic force of the fifth degree (aka – “dominant”) of the scale. In the key of C major:


…and C minor:

…the fifth degree (aka – “dominant”) is G:

…and is the harmonic force that establishes the keys of C major and C minor.

At this point, let me highlight the three most important terms in the concept of tonality – major, minor, and dominant. The terms major and minor are the two types of tonality, while the dominant is the harmonic force that establishes them.

“Here’s the relationship between these three terms and our subject”

The chord of the first degree (aka – “tonic chord“) in the major key is a major chord, while the tonic chord in the minor key is a minor chord. There are no diminished and augmented keys right? Therefore, major and minor chords function as the tonic chords of the major and minor keys.

Dominant chords due to their function as the harmonic force that can establish or contradict tonality, can be used as passing chords to major and minor chords.

In a nutshell, major, minor, and dominant chords are in direct relationship with the concept of tonality and any pianist who is serious must learn them.

Reason #2 – Chord Progression

The movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another is called a chord progression. In classical music and jazz music, the strongest chord progression is in fifths.

Remember that the harmonic force that establishes tonality is the fifth degree.

Due to the dominant’s affinity for the tonic, chord progressions are usually made in fifths. In the key of C major:

…where the dominant is G:

…the strongest option of what comes before G is D:

This is because D lies a fifth above G:

Altogether, from D:

…to G:

…to C:

…produces the 2-5-1 chord progression – one of the most important chord progression in jazz and popular music styles.

In the key of C major:

…here are the chords of the 2-5-1 chord progression…

Chord 2:

…the D minor seventh chord.

Chord 5:

…the G dominant seventh chord.

Chord 1:

  • C-D-E-B

…the C major seventh chord.

There are three chord qualities in the 2-5-1 chord progression to the major key, the major, minor, and dominant chord qualities and this makes them important once again.

Final Words

Although this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn other chord qualities, but the major, minor, and dominant chords are three important chord qualities that every pianist should be serious about learning.

Major and minor chords are common chords because they are the primary chords in the major and minor keys.

Thanks for your time and see you in another lesson


Introduction to cadences

A cadence is a chord progression of at least 2 chords that ends a phrase or section of a piece of music. The easiest way to understand cadences in music is to think of the punctuation you find at pauses and breaks in spoken speech. Take the following spoken rhyme:

Music Cadences Rhyme

Notice how there are different pauses at the end of each line. The 2nd and 4th line have a period (full stop) at the end – this is because the rhyme could end there and still make sense – it is a definite pausing point.
The 3rd line has a comma at the end of it because this shows that the rhyme is going to continue. The rhyme pauses, but is clearly going to continue because it wouldn’t make sense if it stopped at the end of the 3rd line.
These pauses are weak/strong depending on how much of a sense of completion is created. In a similar way, music is divided up into phrases/sections. When you listen to the end of a phrase in music it either sounds like it is finished or unfinished. Whether it sounds finished or unfinished depends on which cadence is used.

Types of Cadences

There are 4 main types of cadence you will come across – 2 of them sound finished, whilst the other 2 sound unfinished:

Finished Cadences

Both of the finished cadences sound finished because they end on chord I. For example, in C major a finished cadence would end on the chord C. In G major, it would finish on a G chord, etc…

Authentic Cadence/Perfect Cadence
This goes from chord V to chord I (this is written V-I). It is the cadence that sounds the “most finished”.
Here is an example of a finished cadence in C major. Notice how the chords at the end of the phrase go from V (G) – I (C) and it sounds finished.

Perfect Cadence in C major score

      Play Perfect Cadence Example

Plagal Cadence
A Plagal Cadence goes from chord IV to chord I (IV-I). It is sometimes called the “Amen Cadence” because the word “Amen” is set to it at the end of many traditional hymns.
Have a look at and listen to this example in C major:

Plagal Cadence in C major score

      Play Plagal Cadence Example

Both of these cadences sound finished because they end on chord I, but they each have their own characteristic sound. Now let’s have a look at the unfinished cadences:

Unfinished Cadences

Unfinished cadences sound unfinished because they don’t end on chord I. When you hear an unfinished cadence at the end of a phrase it sounds like the music should not stop there – it sounds like it should continue onto the next section.

Half Cadence/Imperfect Cadence
A half cadence/imperfect cadence ends on chord V. It can start on chord I, II or IV.
Have a listen to this example in G major. Notice how the last 2 chords are I (G) followed by V (D).

Imperfect Cadence in G major score

      Play Imperfect Cadence Example

The music clearly sounds like it should continue.

Interrupted Cadence (Deceptive Cadence)
An interrupted cadence ends on an unexpected chord – the music literally does sound like it has been “interrupted”. The most common chord progression you will come across is from chord V to chord VI (V-VI). So, in this example in A major below, the last 2 chords are V (E) and VI (F sharp minor). Listen to how frustrating it sounds that the music doesn’t continue:

Interrupted Cadence in A major score

      Play Interrupted Cadence Example

Again, the music sounds like it is unfinished – it sounds like it has just paused and should now continue onto a new section. in  thenext lesson more example will be sighted on cadences.

He turned it tye tribette(progression)

AbM7 Dm7(b5) Bb7 Eb Fm Bb7 Cm Bb AbM7 Fm Gm Fm Fm7 Dm(b5) AbM7 Fm7 Gm Cm Cm AbM7 Gm7 EbM7 Bb Fm
Verse 1

Gm Cm Eb Ab Cm7 EbM7 Dm(b5) Bb Fm Dm7(b5)
Verse 2

Bb7 EbM7 EbM7 Bb7 Cm Gm Dm(b5) Gm Bb Bb7 Fm7 Fm Bb7 Bb7
Verse 3

Cm Cm7 Dm(b5) Cm Eb Dm(b5) Eb Eb Cm Cm7 Gm7 Fm Gm7 Cm Fm7 Fm Gm7 Dm7(b5)

Dm(b5) Eb Cm7 Fm7 Ab EbM7 Bb7 Cm Dm(b5) EbM7 Eb Cm7 Dm(b5)

Ab EbM7 Eb Fm7 Ab Fm7 Gm7 EbM7 AbM7 EbM7 Eb

Jazz chord progression for beginners

A jazz chord mostly uses the Chord 2-5-1.There are various scales on which it can be played. i will be listing the scales with at least one progressions.
Scales                             progressions

Harmonic minor           2-5-1

Harmonic major           5-4-1

melodic minor              4-5-1

melodic major            b7-4-1

They can be inverted.More lesson will be coming on my next lesson.


The term ‘fifth’ defines an interval or mathematical ratio which is the closest and most consonant non-octave interval. The circle of fifths is a sequence of pitches or key tonalities, represented as a circle, in which the next pitch is found seven semitones higher than the last. Musicians and composers use the circle of fifths to understand and describe the musical relationships among some selection of those pitches. The circle’s design is helpful in composing and harmonizing melodies, building chords, and modulating to different keys within a composition.[1]

At the top of the circle, the key of C Major has no sharps or flats. Starting from the apex and proceeding clockwise by ascending fifths, the key of G has one sharp, the key of D has 2 sharps, and so on. Similarly, proceeding counterclockwise from the apex by descending fifths, the key of F has one flat, the key of B♭ has 2 flats, and so on. At the bottom of the circle, the sharp and flat keys overlap, showing pairs of enharmonically equivalent key signatures.

Starting at any pitch, ascending by the interval of an equal tempered fifth, one passes all twelve tones clockwise, to return to the beginning pitch class. To pass the twelve tones counterclockwise, it is necessary to ascend by perfect fourths, rather than fifths. (To the ear, the sequence of fourths gives an impression of settling, or resolution. (see cadence)

 Play circle of fifths clockwise within one octave

 Play circle of fifths counterclockwise within one octave

Introduction to chord progressions


                                                HOW TO PLAY SONGS ON MAJOR KEYS

The pattern of chords for major keys are major minor minor major major minor diminished. For the 1st, 4th,and 5th notes of the major scale, the chords used are major chords, for the 2nd, 3rd and 6th notes, you use minor chords and for the 7th note, you play diminished chord.

For instance, let’s play on this song using Cmajor triad chord.

       Cm   Fm        Cm                 Gm                    Cm

        Oh lord my God how excellent is your name

            Fm           Cm               Gm                      Cm

        In all the earth how excellent is your name.
After playing this song, try to tune your ears to music and play on other songs.

NOTE: Playing the right chord progression is very important in music.

           *70% of major songs start on doh(C  E  G)

             When a song starts normal, you play on doh(C  E  G), when it goes higher, play on      fah(F  A  C),when it goes lower, play on soh(G  B  D), and end it on doh(C  E  G)
Becoming a standard musician requires hardwork, dedication and determination. Most musicians are devoted to a certain musical style but many musicians blend multiple styles together to create a unique sound.




Intervals are a fundamental part of musical structures,and therefore a central part of ear training. All harmonies or melodies can be considered as a sequence or layering of intervals. As a beginner you should therefore begin with intervals and later continue with, for example melody dictation to identify a sequence of intervals or chord identification to identify harmonies with more than two tones.

An interval is the distance in pitch between two tones. It is labeled by its numerical value and its quality. The numerical value indicates the number of tones of the diatonic scale it includes.


Intervals are the distances between two notes. Each interval will have a number – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. These numbers are the distance between two notes, based upon counting the lines and spaces on the staff.

For example, if count lines and spaces, starting from C and ending on G, we count: C,D,E,F,G =1,2,3,4,5, therefore, the interval from C to G is a fifth(5th).

                                     List of interval types

• Unison – 1

• Second – 2nd

• Third – 3rd

• Fourth – 4th

• Fifth – 5th

• Sixth – 6th

• Seventh – 7th

• Octave – 8th

• Ninth – 9th

• Tenth – 10th

• Eleventh – 11th

• Twelfth – 12th

• Thirteenth – 13th

Interval quality

Intervals also have another identifier in addition to number called the interval quality. Intervals can be called major (M), minor (m), perfect (P), augmented (A), or diminished (d).

                                                           Major Intervals:

                                                            Minor Intervals:


                                                             Perfect Intervals:                                      
                                                           Augmented Intervals:      

                                                           Diminished Intervals:


Chord family


                                               HOW TO FORM A MAJOR CHORD

A chord is the combination of musical note to give a reasonable sound.


                                                    Types of chord

    Major chord

    Minor chord

    Augmented chord

    Diminished chord

                                       Kinds of major chords

        Triad chord: A triad chord is made up of three notes, we have the major triad chord and the minor triad chord, the minor chord is determined by the major third, the minor chord is determined by the flatted chord.

         Chords are notes played simultaneously. The most commonly used chords are constructed from seconds, fourths or fifths but these types of chords are less common.
                                                                   Basic chords


                                               How to form major triad chords.

         To form a major triad chord, you need the 1st,3rd and 5th note in a scale.

For example:  1          3           5

                  C    D     E     F    G    A    B    C   =C E G – C major.

The most basic keyboard chords are the major and minor triads. Every pianist will benefit from knowing all 24 of these triads and mastering them on the piano. The major triads and their most basic position on the keys, called “Root Position”, should be as solid and dependable in the mind of the pianist as the alphabet is for readers.

Seventh chord: if we stack another third onto any of the basic chords, we now have ‘seventh chords’.



This chord tone chart organizes the tones of all major scales in the order needed for the construction of major chords. Reading up from the chord root 
Once you have the image and feel for all 12 major chords and all 12 minors in their root positions, you will want to begin learning to invert them and also how to play patterns with them. This procedure will help you build your knowledge and your technique to a level that will make you a proficient pianist in all areas of piano study. Your mastery of chords will add great strength to your overall piano skills foundation.


                                           How to play triad chords

This depends on how efficient you are willing to play with your fingers.

LEFT HAND                                                                            RIGHT HAND

  5    3    1                                                                                   1    3    5

  C    E    G                                                                                   C    E    G

                              C       D      E     F        G      A      B      C           


Inversion could be defined as the rearrangement of chords from its normal position. In          music, rearrangement of the top-to-bottom elements in an interval, a chord, a melody, or a group of contrapuntal lines of music. The inversion of chords and intervals is utilized for various purposes.

Example:- C Major chord

               C   E   G – Normal

               E   G   C -1st Inversion

               G  C   E – 2nd Inversion

   C     D     E     F    G    A     B     C

   E      F     G    A    B    C     D     E  

   G     A     B    C    D     E     F     G

If the root of a chord is not in the bass (the lowest note in a chord voicing) then that   chord is said to be an Inverted Chord. For example, starting from lowest to highest, if you have the notes E, G and C, you have an inverted C Major chord. It is inverted because the root of the chord is not in the bass.

A    C    E – Normal             F    A    C – Normal                G    B    D – Normal                   

C     E   A – 1st I.N                A    C    F – 1st I.N                   B    D    G – 1st I.N

E     A   C – 2nd I.N               C    F    A –  2nd I.N                 D   G    B – 2nd I.N                      



TONE: A tone is the distance between two or more musical note. It is also known as ‘whole step’

                                     \ /        

                                    C – D Makes up a tone
   SEMITONE: A semitone is the closest distance between two or more musical note. It is also known as ‘Half step’




                                     C – C# Makes up a semitone

      A specific scale is defined by its characteristic interval pattern and by a special note known as its first degree(or tonic). The tonic of a scale is the note selected as the beginning of the octave and therefore as the beginning of the adopted interval pattern. Typically, the name of the scale specifies both its tonic and its interval pattern. For example, C-major indicates a major scale in which C is the tonic.

      Each note of a scale has a special name, called a scale degree.


      •The first (and last) note is called the Tonic

      •The second note is called Supertonic.

      •The third note is called the Median since it is in the middle of the tonic and              dominant.

      •The fourth note is called the Subdominant.

      •The fifth note is called Dominant

      •The sixth note is called Submediant

      •The seventh note is called Leading tone.