Chord Formulas & Derivations


When we started off as Beginners, when we see Chords like Gsus4, Fadd9, Cmaj7, Em7 etc, what do we do? We basically interpret them with their easier Major or Minor versions and yet they will still sound alright with the song!

Why is that so? Because all the sus4, sus2, add9, dim, minor 7s, etc etc are basically MORE detail and COLORFUL chords to make that particular part of the song more color or what the composer wants the listener to feel.

Thus, if we know the theory on how to play in these MORE colorful chords, it will definitely improved our playing and also overall presentation of the song.

Here are Basic Formulas of most common chord types:
(where the numbers are basically from the major scale of the chord's root)

Major: 1-3-5 
eg. C, G, A, E, F

Minor: 1-b3-5
eg: Am, Dm, Em, Fm, G#m

Dominant 7: 1-3-5-b7
eg: C7, E7, G7, B7

Dominant 9: 1-3-5-b7-9
eg: C9, D9

Major 7: 1-3-5-7
eg: Cmaj7, Gmaj7, Dmaj7, Amaj7

Minor 7: 1-b3-5-b7
eg: Am7, Em7, C#m7

Minor Major 7: 1-b3-5-7
eg: Ammaj7, Emmaj7, Dmmaj7

Add9: 1-3-5-9
eg: Cadd9, Gadd9

Suspended 2: 1-2-5
eg: Gsus2, Asus2

Suspended 4: 1-4-5
eg: Gsus4, Csus4

Diminished: 1-b3-b5
eg: Cdim, Gdim, Adim

Augmented: 1-3-#5
eg: Caug, Gaug, Eaug


There are many more complicated ones, but knowing these are a good start!
Keep practising and keep thirsting for more knowledge to improve your playing! Cheers!

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