# A 3 B 3 C 3 D 3 Formula The Three Primary Chords

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## The Three Primary Chords

How do you arrange a song? It helps to know that in any key there are three chords that are very important. Those are the scores that make up the first, fourth, and fifth levels of the scale.

Another way of saying it is that the Primary and Major Triads are the most important triads of the key built on the 1st, 4th and 5th scales of the major scale. They are called Primary Triads or Primary Chords and are identified by the Roman Numerals I, IV, and V. These three contain every tone in the major scale.

For example, the C Major Scale is: CDEFGABC. Of these 8 notes (except the perfect octave; C), 3 of them are Primary or Major Triads. In the C Major scale the roots of the three main chords are I, IV, and V, which are C (CEG), F (FAC) and G (GBD).

As you will learn later, some scale notes are combined with other types of chords, such as minor and diminished.

Primary chords are major chords because they include the root, major 3rd, and perfect 5th. So, here is the formula to remember:

Major Third + Perfect Fifth = Major Chord

Why are major scales important to understanding major chords? If we didn’t know the C Major scale, how would we know that E is the major third and G is the perfect 5th of C major?

Well, there are two ways to make a great triad:

First select points 1, 3, and 5 of the major scale. This is the easiest method if you know your major scales. In the key of F Major, F is the 1st note, A is the 3rd note and C is the 5th note. F, A, C make an F Major chord. The same principle applies to all 12 buttons.

Second, another way to make a major chord (triad) is to add a minor 3rd interval over the major third. If you know that a minor 3 is equal to 3 half steps and a major third is equal to 4 steps (or 2 whole steps), you are well on your way to applying music theory.

For example, from C to Eb (a minor third) is 3 half steps. C to C# = 1 half step. C to D = 2 half steps and C to Eb = 3 steps. So to make a major chord, just put the minor 3rd on top of the major third.

Here’s the secret:

Let’s say you want to build a G Major chord. Start on G (root) and add a major third (4 half steps), G + B and then add a minor third (3 half steps) on top of that (from B), G+B+D. From G to B is the major triangle and from B to D is the third minor. This makes a G Major Chord.

The songs starting with the main songs are Mary Was A Lamb, Are You Sleeping?, and Go Tell It On The Mountain.

In major keys the chords built on I and IV are major notes. A chord in V can be either a major or a dominant seventh. So, the three main chords in C major: C major (CEG), F major (FAC) and G7 (GBDF).

Those three dishes will be enough for the arrangement of many simple songs. For many others they serve as a pillar of harmony. It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules for musical compatibility. Most of the time your ear should be your guide.

But usually the main notes of the music will be in accompanying chords. What I do is play the chords in my left hand and put the tones in my right hand, under the melody.

Because the I, IV, and V7 chords are so important, it’s very important that you become familiar with their positions on the keyboard. If you practice this exercise in all the major keys you will be taking an important first step in developing the ability to arrange songs on the keyboard.

If you study the chord charts, you will harmonize the song like this:

C/EGC

F/ FAC

G/DFGB

C/EGC

C/GCE

F/ACF

G/DFGB

C/GCE

C/CEG

F/CFA

G/BDFG

C/CEG

I wish you the best in your chord lessons. These 3 main chords in any key are a good starting point for putting together progressions that make ordinary songs enjoyable.

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