Since there are many scales from which you can select letters to spell chords from, we will limit this lesson to the G major scale and its chord triads. A chord triad is harmony of three different letters played simultaneously. Many books have been written about this “music-spelling” game. They are known as Music Theory books. These books go into great detail explaining the rules of spelling such as: intervals, inversions, extensions, alterations and so on, until you become a Ph.D. at the spelling game. But who has that kind of time? So, here’s a very simple concept that will have you easily spelling 7 different chord triads from the G major scale. Ready? Just select “every-other-letter” from the scale. Wow, that sure was simple!
Let’s begin by illustrating the G major scale as letters and scale degree tone numbers in two octaves. Figure 1.
Here’s another fun game, find the hidden picture. In other words, find the hidden chord! Do you see the circle 6-1 G major chord hidding within the circle 6-2 G major scale? Here is something interesting. Even though there are only three lettes, this chord has six sounds. Figure 4.
Now, let’s proceed. In the key of G major, the ii minor chord is A minor (Am, A C E) and is shown in circle 6-3. Figures 5 and 6.
The iii minor chord is B minor (Bm, B D #F) shown in circle 5-1. Figures 7 and 8.
The IV major chord is C major (C E G) also in circle 5-1. Figures 9 and 10.
The V major chord is D major (D F# A) in circle 5-4. Figures 11 and 12.
The vi minor chord is E minor (Em, E G B) in circle 4-1. Figures 13 and 14.
And finally, the viib5 minor flat five chord is F#mb5 (F#mb5, F# A C) in circle 6-1 and circle 4-1. As we previously said, traditional theory calls this a diminished triad. Figures 15, 16 and 17.
As you can now see, all the chords of the G major scale, or any scale for that matter, are within one fret of any other chord. You can’t get any closer, or faster, than that!
So, ’til next time, have some fun playing closer and faster chord changes… I’ll be listening!