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Chord families


(@guntorius)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hi, dig the site (love the site, there's no reason to hide it), this is my first post.

I am quite confused at what a chord family consists of and it's purpose (according to what these sources are telling me a chord family is; I-IV-V in different variations).

i am getting different examples from different sources.

they all show the I-IV-V progression (one of many or "the" blues progression i believe?).

one source, "the everything guitar book" shows chord families as: "key (family) of D: Dmaj, Gmaj, A7 and Bmin.
a 2nd source from an old ernie ball beginner's book shows the same D chord family as: Dmaj, Gmaj, A7 (excludes a fourth chord)
and a third source taken from this website: http://www.guitar-players-toolbox.com/basic-guitar-chords.html shows that same D chord family as: Dmaj, Emin, Gmaj, Amaj

so....you can see why I am a bit perplexed.

it seems it would be better knowing different combinations like (making this up): I-III-VI-V etc, than focusing on this, right? is it not called a chord family if it's not I-IV-V? it seems these references lead you to believe that.

thanks much,

~jacob


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Hi Jacob,

All that about families is a bit confusing, I don't know if it is a good metaphor. I think your question is very well explained in this lesson:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/a-before-e/

I-IV-V is a progression. D-G-A in the key of D, C-F-G in the key of C, etc. It is used in many Western songs but it is just a progression as for example I-vi-ii-V7 (for example, C-Am-Dm-G7) which is used frequently as well.

Some progressions or chord sequences sound right and some don't. I don't know if "family" refers to that.

BTW, welcome to GN!


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

It's a big family. The sources you quoted are all correct but have only selected a few family members. That's why the differences.
Like any family, there are countless members depending on how far out you want to trace the family tree.
The closest members are those built on the notes of the major or minor scales that correspond with the key in question. In the case of the D major clan, they are:

I D Major
ii E minor
iii F# minor
IV G Major
V A major/ A7
vi B minor
vii C# diminished


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(@guntorius)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

wow, that was quick. thank you both! ok, it makes sense now.

BUT...fretsource, i was wondering why on the V, you indicated the A being maj or A7.

why only this option at the V? and why the option?


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

wow, that was quick. thank you both! ok, it makes sense now.

BUT...fretsource, i was wondering why on the V, you indicated the A being maj or A7.

why only this option at the V? and why the option?

I added it as an afterthought. You know how upset some family members get if you don't invite them to the party :D

The 7th chord on V is very important and extremely common in western music, and far more common than the 7th chords that appear on the other scale degrees.
I could have included those other 7th chords too but you have to draw the line somewhere. So I'll include them now. I don't want to be accused of favouritism :D

I D maj7
ii Em7
iii F#m7
IV G maj7
V A7
vi Bm7
vii C#m7b5

My first list was obtained by using 3 note chords made by combining alternate notes of the scale, e.g., D = D F# A, Em = E G B, etc. The resulting chords (triads) are all important to the key to varying degrees, with I IV V being at the head and controlling family affairs. I then included the 4 note V7 (A7) chord (which isn't a triad) because of its great importance in the family.
If you use 4 note chords, then you get various types of 7th chord (as I did in the above list). If you use 5, you get 9th chords. By that time, your family is really an "extended" family, full of distant cousins, and, as Nuno suggests, the "family" metaphor becomes less useful or meaningful.


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(@guntorius)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

haha, i understand. thank you!


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 Rune
(@rune)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 69
 

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/theory-without-tears/

This lesson really made some things regarding how chords are formed and related fall into place for me.

It's a dry heat!


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