|An Explanation of this portion of the
This portion of the site is designed to teach visually
impaired people guitar chords as they would apply to each given key. It is
optimized to be accessed with the assistance of the JAWS for Windows
Screen Reading software and other screen readers. In my
method, the key of C will be regarded as the center of the tonal universe
and therefore considered the perfect place to start. So let's start with
the basic chords in the key of C. All of the chords in chart one are based
on the basic triad except for the G 7th chord, which is based on 4 notes.
The basic triad that chords are based on consists of the 1st, 3rd and 5th
notes of the scale. For example, the C Major triad consists of a C, an E
and a G. A C Major Scale goes like this:
The first note in the C scale is C, the third note in the C Scale is E and the fifth note of the C scale is G. There is your C Major triad. C, E and G. The D Minor chord is based on the C scale but starting at a different point. It starts at the D. So, the C scale starting from the D note would be D, E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. The 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale starting from that point would be D, F, and A. That is your D Minor Triad. And we proceed in the same manner with the remaining chords.
A chord is determined to be a major or minor chord by the third. A major third is two whole steps up from the root tone or 1st note of the triad. A minor chord has a third that is one and a half steps up from the 1st. That's how they got their names, major and minor.
The chords are presented in a numeric format. That is a series of 6 digits, with each representing the strings of the guitar starting from left and working to the right, we work from the low E string towards the high E string. An X represents a string that is not plucked or strummed. A zero represents a string that is not fretted. In other words, you are not to press down on any frets of a string with a zero but it is still plucked or strummed. A 1 would represent the string being pressed down on the first fret, a 2 would mean that it is pressed down on the second fret, and so on.
The fingering works in a similar manner. An X means the
string is not strummed, a zero means that the string is strummed but not
fretted and the 1 would represent the index finger. The remaining fingers
are represented by the 2 being the middle finger, the 3 being the ring
finger and the 4 being the pinky. Once again, the chords of the key of C
are based on the C Major Scale which consists of C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. So without further ado, let's move on to
You may have noticed that the F Major chord requires that you do what is called barring the chord. That means that you lay the index finger across all of the strings that are pressed down by it. Below are some additional chords that I refer to as substitute chords. They can be played in the place of some of the chords above. The C Major 7th chord may be played in the place of a C Major chord, just to add that fancy flair to the song. Seventh chords are based on 4 different notes. The triad plus the seventh note of the scale. For example, the C Major 7th chord uses the C Major triad plus the seventh note of the C Major scale, which is a B. So the notes in the C Major 7th chord are C, E, G, and B. The D minor 7th chord follows in a similar manner but starts out on the D. So the notes of a D Minor 7th chord are D, F, A, and C.
Now we get to slightly more complex substitute chords. They are the ninth chords. Ninth chords are based on five different notes. The same notes that are in the seventh chords but the ninth note is added. So a C Major 9th chord would contain the following notes: C, E, G, B and D. These chords are really fancy and can be used to substitute the same chords that the seventh chords can act as substitutes for. Go ahead and play them. Starting to sound like jazz isn't it?
Okay, now we get into suspended 2nd and suspended 4th chords. If you remember, a chord is determined to be a major or minor chord by the third, with a major third being two whole steps up from the root tone or 1st note of the triad and a minor chord has a third that is one and a half steps up from the 1st. A suspended 2nd chord uses the second note of the scale in the place of the third. A suspended 4th chord uses the 4th note of the scale in the place of the third. So technically, a suspended 2nd or suspended 4th chord is neither major nor minor.
The Key of A Minor: Chords based on the A Harmonic Minor Scale: A, B, C, D, E, F, G sharp and A
Each major key has its own relative minor key. The relative minor key to the Key of C is A Minor. All of the chords listed prior to now contain no notes that stray from the C Major Scale. Some of the chords in the Key of A Minor will have some notes that aren't in the C Major Scale. For example: the E Major chord has a G sharp note in it. If you use the C scale but start from the A note and make the G note sharp, you will get the A Harmonic Minor Scale. This would obviously be the best scale to use when soloing over a chord progression which contains the following chords:
Okay, so now we have a few chords you haven't seen prior to the previous chart. We now have diminished chords and augmented chords. The names are derived from the location of the fifths. A diminished fifth is when the fifth note of the scale is lowered one half tone, or half step. An augmented fifth is when the fifth note of the scale is raised one half step. The thing to remember about diminished chords is that they can be referred to by any note that is contained within them. For example: The G Sharp Diminished Chord contains a G sharp, B, D and an F. There fore, it could also be referred to as a B Diminished, D Diminished, or an F Diminished chord in sheet music with guitar chord charts. The same rule also applies to augmented chords. In the Key of A Minor (and in keeping with the A Harmonic Minor Scale), an E7th chord may be substituted for an E, an F Major 7th for an F and a D Minor 7th for a D Minor.
The 6th Chord:
That concludes the lesson for the key of C Major. The lessons for the remaining keys will not have as much information provided in them since we are using the lesson of the key of C Major as the foundation for the rest of the lessons.
The Next Key: Key of G