Lesson 3 scale tone chords
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Scale tone chords, as the name implies, are piano chords which are comprised (formed) from the tones (notes) of a particular scale (C,D,F#,etc.). They are present in both major and minor keys. The three note major triad scale tone chords will always follow these rules.
The first chord will always be major, the second chord will always be minor, the third chord will always be minor, the fourth chord will always be major, the fifth chord will always be major, the sixth chord will always be minor and the seventh chord will always be diminished. A diminished chord is formed by combining the 1st (first), b3rd (flatted third), and b5th (flatted fifth) tones (notes) of a major scale.
Based upon these rules, the scale tone chords in the key of C Major would be: C Major, D minor, E minor, F Major, G Major, A minor, and B diminished. As you can see, these chords are all comprised of the white tones (note) just like the C Major scale. You now know what scale tone chords are, and the rule for forming them for any Major key.
But, I also told you that there are scale tone chords for minor keys also. To find the three note minor triad chords use this rule. The first chord will always be minor, the second chord will always be diminished, the third chord will always be major, the fourth chord will always be minor, the fifth chord will always be minor, the sixth chord will always be major, and the seventh chord will always be major.
So, based upon this the scale tone chords for A minor, which happens to be the related or relative minor key to C Major, would be: A minor, B diminished, C Major, D minor, E minor, F Major, and G Major. As with C Major, all the scale tone chords in A minor are comprised of white notes.
I have used the terms "key" and "scale" throughout this lesson. It is important for you to know that scale tone chords are chords which belong to a particular "key", C Major, A minor, F# Major, etc. These chords are formed by combining the different intervals (tones or notes) of a major scale. We have already covered the rules for making major and minor chords in lesson #2. And in this lesson you learned the interval combinations for diminished chords.
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