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Jazz Guitar Chord Theory (part 4)


In jazz guitar chord theory part 3 we had a look at chord tensions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In part 4 we'll summarize the chord formulas and have a look at some examples.

 

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Chord Formulas

Here's a summary of the chord formulas we covered until now + some additional chord types :

Chord Type Chord Formula
Major Triad 1  3  5
Minor Triad 1 b3  5
Diminished Triad 1 b3 b5
Augmented Triad 1  3 #5
Major 7 1  3  5   7
Minor 7 1 b3  5  b7
Dominant 7 1  3  5  b7
Half Diminished 7 1 b3 b5  b7
Diminished 7 1 b3 b5 bb7
Augmented 7 1  3 #5  b7
Suspended 4 1  4  5  b7
minor/major 7 1 b3  5   7


In Chord Theory Part 1 we saw the first way to construct chords.

Chord Construction the Quick Way

Here's a quicker way:

  1. The first step is memorizing the chords and chord tones of the C major scale and their chord formulas:

    Cmaj7 C E G B     (1  3  5  7)
    Dm7 D F A C     (1 b3  5 b7)
    Em7 E G B D     (1 b3  5 b7)
    Fmaj7 F A C E     (1  3  5  7)
    G7 G B D F     (1  3  5 b7)
    Am7 A C E G     (1 b3  5 b7)
    Bm7b5 B D F A     (1 b3 b5 b7)

    You must be able to picture the chord types and chord tones of C major without thinking.

    Chord Building Examples

  2. Now that you know the chords of C major, it's easy to find chords of other keys.


    Example 1: to find the chord tones of Cm7:

    1. You know the chord tones of Cmaj7: C E G B
    2. You know the chord formula of Cmaj7: 1 3 5 7
    3. You know the chord formula of minor 7: 1 b3 5 b7
    4. Adapt the chord tones of Cmaj7 to the formula of minor 7: bring the 3 and the 7 a half step down.
    5. Conclusion: the chord tones of Cm7 are: C Eb G Bb

    Example 2: the chord tones of Ddim7:

    1. You know the chord tones of Dm7: D F A C
    2. You know the formula of Dm7: 1 b3 5 b7
    3. You know the formula of diminished 7: 1 b3 b5 bb7
    4. Adapt the chord tones of Dm7 to the formula of diminished 7: bring the 5 and the 7 a half step down
    5. Conclusion: the chord tones of Ddim7 are: D F Ab B

    Example 3: the chord tones of F#7:

    1. You know the chord tones of Fmaj7: F A C E
    2. To find the chord tones of F#maj7 you just have to raise each chord tone a half step: F# A# C# E#
    3. You know the formula of major 7: 1 3 5 7
    4. You know the formula of dominant 7: 1 3 5 b7
    5. Adapt the chord tones of F#maj7 to the formula of dominant 7: bring the 7 a half step down
    6. Conclusion: the chord tones of F#7 are: F# A# C# E

 


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