What is a chord?

Vladislav Meriin
Vladislav Meriin
March 13, 2013
What is a chord?

When learning to play various musical instruments or when analyzing musical works, such a concept as a chord often emerges. What is a chord, what are the different types of chords, and where is it used most often? We will review this issue.

A chord is the consonance of three or more notes together.


According to the professional classification chords are of the following types:

  • major (cheerful, joyful, positive chords)
  • minor (sad, melancholic sounds)

In the case when three sounds are used in a chord, it is called: triad. If four sounds are used in a chord, it is called: seventh chord.

In the history of music, seventh chords were used mainly by classics, who in turn wrote music in terms of functions:

  • T (tonic-first stage in tonality),
  • S (subdominant fourth stage)
  • D (dominant fifth grade).

On these chords and builds most of the works of classical music.

But, for example, in the environment of rock musicians there is such a thing as a “fatal chord”.The fatal chord is a chord built according to a quinte.

The maximum number of notes in a chord at the same time can be played on the piano, and chords are also played on the guitar.

In vocational schools (music schools, colleges, philharmonic societies), chords are studied on a subject called “Harmony”. Songs are also built on chords.

There are so-called squares of chords. For example: E (E major), H (B major), C # m (in C sharp minor), A (A major) is the standard square chord on which most songs are built and built. There can be many such squares.

It should be noted that in the era of classical music, the classics had such a thing as “the tonality of death”. The “tonality of death” is the tonality of Hm (B minor).

In the people, among the yard and street musicians, there are so-called: "yard" chords. All "thieves" songs, songs of Russian chanson, military works are built on them. Such chords are: Am (in A minor), E (E major), Dm (D minor). C (C major), F (F major), and G (G major) are also sometimes found.

In more detail, we recommend, to study the book "Collection of Tasks for Harmony" by S. Alekseev, in which it is perfectly stated what a chord is and what it is used for.

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