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3 Chord Theory: The Primal Chords

Well now, after 4 months of astout research and mental derangement on the subject of Chord theory…. – I’ve found a way to explain it so even the most benine of peons can easily grasp the intuitave and mathmatical nature of chords. Thats right, I bought a book! HAH!

So then, with out boring you with the story of how short I had to cut my hair to acctually see the words on the paper that I read by guttering candle light in a power outage we recently had, I’ve prepared a little lesson the first of 5 lessons that will cover the gigantic and grotesque gelatinous mass we know as Chord Theory.

Primay chords. Evil. After a while of learning tabs youll eventaully come to terms with what chords are, that is to say, three or more notes sounded at the same time and for the same duration. (It is important to know that two notes together are not a chord, they are a Diatonic Harmony.) Now then, the basic forms will appearently come to you through out your crudsages on OLGA (she’s such a classy gal!) and your fingers, seemingly of their own accord will spring into action in a few basic but distinct shapes.

These common shapes are called Primary Chords, and for the moment they will provide the dichotomy of your aresenal. You can find these three chords in any key by looking at the major scale, and as always the Key of C major will be our ginuea pig, I mean shining example… Now then, we’ve covered the notes and we all know the Major scale is from C-C with no sharps or flats (also known as accidentals) so this should be relatively painless… right? We’ll see about that…

The note C itself is the Root or Tonic, and the first chord in the series as annotated by the use of the roman numeral “I” (that means “number one” for you non-roman-compliant carbon drones) – Hence it is called the Tonic Chord. Quaint, isn’t it? Now then! The other two primary chords are hte 4th and 5th degrees of the scale. So a quick lesson on our digets we count C as 1/Tonic/Root and move on through the blissfully shortened version of the alphabet as assigned by the late J.S. Bach, and we arrive at F as our 4th degree and G as our 5th degree. Now that we’ve learned how to count out scale degrees you all get a gold star on your chart, yay. Can you just hear the peasants rejoicing? …. – Stop eating the paste!!!

Now then, if the C major chord is our Tonic chord, there must be an equally attractive, if not needlessly lengthy theoretical name for the 4th and 5th degree chords. These are as follows: 4th degree is the Sub-Dominant Chord, and the 5th Degree is called the Dominant chord. In any key these three have the same relationship to one another and together comprise three chord theory.

Now then, how do we make these magnificant chords? We put our fingers on the fret board, push down really hard and strum! Having your fingers in the right place helps too! For that, you’ll want to refer to the lesson on chord construction! And it’s right here!

Now that wasn’t too bad was it?

– Tachi

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