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Learning Chord Types Just Got Easier...

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Content provided by Joseph Vadala. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Joseph Vadala or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://ro.player.fm/legal.

►► Download the Musical Keys Cheat Sheet here: https://songwritertheory.com/keys/

In this episode of the Songwriter Theory Podcast, we're talking about how learning chord types just got easier... because I'm going to tell you exactly what chords to learn in what order to be most effective at writing chord progressions for your songs. The way songwriters should look at chords should be significantly different than how musicians often look at chords. So let's talk about how to learn chord types for songwriters!

Transcript: If you have wanted a roadmap to know what chords to learn when along your songwriting journey, then this is the episode for you, because we are talking about what chords you should learn in what order as a songwriter. Let's talk about it. (upbeat music) Hello, friend. Welcome to another episode of the Songwriter Theory Podcast. I'm your host, as always, Joseph Adala. I honor that you'll take some time out of your busy day and be here with me talking about songwriting. You could be listening to any podcast right now, which I probably shouldn't remind you of, like Rogan or whatever your favorite podcast is. But instead, you are here wanting to learn about songwriting. And hey, I get it, but I also appreciate it, because there's a lot of entertaining podcasts out there. And the fact that you are choosing one where you would learn something about songwriting, about the craft of songwriting, I'm glad you care enough about the craft of songwriting to, well, be listening to any songwriting podcast much more even so that you chose this one. I was about to say much less this one, but that wouldn't make sense, now would it? If you haven't already, be sure to grab my free Keys Cheat Sheet, a lot of what we're talking about today with chords. There's gonna be my first point before we dive into the chords, but you have to understand the chords within the context of keys. Because as long as your understanding is just, oh, G major to C major sounds good with quotation marks around it, for those of you who aren't watching the video, you're just, you're not really gonna understand chords. The only context where chords have any meaning at all, in chord progressions have any meaning, is within the context of keys. So a C major chord in the key of C major has a totally different sound and a totally different job than a C major chord in the key of G major. Because in C major, a C major chord is a one chord. In G major, it's a four chord, which sounds different. So context matters. So it's really important to understand that, again, that you don't wanna learn super complex theory. So I made it super easy. This Keys Cheat Sheet just breaks down every single one of the main triads, AKA main, major, and minor, as well as diminished chords in every single key. So no matter what your favorite keys are, it will give you exactly all the notes in the keys, which will help you with melody writing and making your own chords, but also all of the main triads, all the main, major, and minor chords. So that's at songwritertheory.com slash keys. Super easy to remember. Link will be in the description down below or in the show notes, depending on whether you are listening via podcast or watching on YouTube. So we're gonna dive into the chords that you should learn in what order. But again, just to reiterate, it's really important to understand chords in context of keys. Yes, you need to know the notes within C major. Let's say you're playing on a keyboard or a piano. Of course, it's important to know, oh, C major is C, E, and G. Yes, great. But the most important way to understand chords as a songwriter is not just C major and G major, and, you know, oh, it's a common chord progression to have a C major, G major, A minor, F major. Yes, that's true, but it's not just that chord progression. Really that chord progression is a 1, 5, 6, 4, and you just happen to say what a 1, 5, 6, 4 chord progression is in the context of C major. So the chord progression G major, D major, E minor, C major is actually the exact same chord progression as C major, G major, A minor, and F major, just for frame of reference, here's your, let me find my pedal here. Here's your C major, G major, A minor, F major, and then if we have instead the G major version of it, so that was a 1, 5, 6, 4 in C major, and then if we have it in G major, then we would have this. (drumming) So that would be the same exact chord progression, and you probably can hear that. It's just in a different key, right, but the chord progression sounds the same. So it's most important to understand chords in that context. In this episode, we're going to be talking about things like major and minor chords, inversions and things like that, but that is only gonna be helpful, or is mostly gonna be helpful if first you understand that just getting an understanding of that Roman numeral notation for chords, and knowing that a C major chord in the context of G major is the same as a D major chord in the context of A major, because they're both four chords in that context, that that's the most important way to understand chords. Because as a songwriter, you need to know that if you're writing a song in G major, a C major to G major chord transition is gonna sound very different than even what it would sound like in the context of a song in C major. Same exact chords, but it's gonna sound different because of the context. So that being said, let's talk about the specific chords to learn in what order. And the first chords to learn are major and minor triads. And that's because no matter what the genre, key, style, whatever it is, major and minor chords are foundational. They're foundational to everything. I don't care what music you listen to, major and minor triads are at the foundation of it. And you may have noticed that I just, I believe, interchanged between using major and minor triad and major and minor chord. And that's because it's the exact same thing. So a chord is really just any combination of two or more notes. So a chord could be this, even though it's just two notes, or a chord could be this, which is four notes, or this, which is five notes. All of those are chords. A triad is a specific type of chord. And by the way, is the most foundational type of chord there is. In fact, all major and minor chords, as well as diminished chords and augmented chords, are triads. There's no such thing as a C major chord or G major. There's no such thing as a major or minor chord that is not a triad. And all a triad is, is a chord that's made up of specifically three notes, and they are stacked in thirds. It's not super important that you understand what thirds are for most of this episode, but we'll go over it really quick. So a first or unison is just the same note. So C to C would be a first or unison. C to D would be a second. C going past D to E would be a third. So basically, if you just include the note that you're starting on as the one, you just move up more notes. So a third is not moving up once to a second, but moving up again to a third. So a triad is a chord that is made up of three notes stacked in thirds. So let's take a C major triad as an easy example of this. So a C major triad starts with a C. That's why it's called C major, because that's the root of the chord. So then we have a third on top of that. So we skip over the D and go to an E. So the first two notes of a C major chord are C, skipping over D, and then E. And then we skip over F and go to G for another third, a third on top of that E, because a second on top of E would be the F. A third is going up to the G. So C, E, G. That's your C major chord. And that is basically how you build all major and minor triads, because, well, they're triads, also augmented and diminished would also be made in that same way. Now, the only difference is that a major triad has a major third, and a minor triad has a minor third. The only difference there is a major third is four semitones up. So we have C, C sharp, D, D sharp, and then E. All right, so one, two, three, four, four semitones up. And then if we just go three semitones up instead, that's where you get minor. That's the only difference. Major chord has a major third between the root and the third. Minor has a minor third in between the root and the third. And going with my initial point about understanding chords in context of keys is going to be most important. What's important to know, I think, is that in any key, any major key, any major key, you're going to have chords built off of all the scale degrees. So we'll stick with C major to keep it really simple. So C major is made up of seven notes, just like every other major and minor key. So we have C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. No sharps or flats. This is why it's a super common key because it's super easy. So each of those seven were called scale degrees, C being the first, D being the second, E being third, F4, G5, A6, and B7. Each of those scale degrees, we can build a triad off of those scale degrees. And those are foundational chords. And in every major key, the triad built off of the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees are all major triads or major chords. So in C major, the one is C, so we have a major chord built off of that. The four is an F because C, one, D, two, E, three, F is four, so we have an F major chord in C major. And then if F is the four, we know G is the five, fifth scale degree. And the five chord is also in every major key going to be a major chord. And then the two, three, and six in any major key are going to be minor triads. So in the context of C major, we know that our two is D because C, one, D, two is going to be minor. And then if D is two, we know E is three, so we have an E minor. And then six is going to be A, so we have an A minor. And then the chord built off of the seventh scale degree is a diminished chord, which is not as useful as major and minor chords, or at least not as important. In fact, in this video where I'm breaking down what chords to learn in what order, we're not even going to talk about diminished chords because I think they are, they can be useful, but they're not as useful as the other chords that we're going to talk about, in my opinion. So the important thing to understand is in any major key, if you lay out the notes in order, starting with the name of your key, so let's take G major, your one would be G and G major, your one would be A and A major, F and F major, etc. And then you just lay out all the notes in that scale or in that key and assign them numbers. The triads that you have built off of the first, fourth and fifth scale degree in every major key is going to be major. And two, three and six is going to be minor. So if we do the same thing in G major, we have a G major chord, one, an A minor chord, two because we said two is always minor. And then, oops, that's diminished. And then we have a B minor chord off of the three because every time a three is going to be minor. And then we have C major and D major because four and five are always going to be major. And then E minor, and then we're going to have an F sharp diminished as a seven. This is going to be true in literally every major or minor key. So once you know your key, you know that, okay, what's built off the one, four and five is going to be major. And those are going to be my foundational chords. And then the two, three and six are going to be minor. And those are also very, very, very important chords. For the record, six is maybe most important because it's certainly the most used of the minor chords by a pretty wide margin. If you look at how popular chords are, the one, four and five are the most used. They're just used constantly. Probably rarely would you even write a song where you're not using the one, four and the five. The six is by far the most common minor chord. The two is the second most common. And then the three is the forgotten minor chord that is not used nearly enough because I love three chords. I think they're beautiful. Like if you have a one and then a five and then you go, this is something about that three to four that just, I love that. But anyway, my personal opinions aside, major and minor triads. First thing to learn. First thing to make sure you know. They're foundational chords. They're foundational to every key, especially major and minor keys, which, you know, that's every key basically. They're even foundational to modes, by the way. So even when we're in major and minor modes, rather than just a regular major and natural minor key, they're still foundational. No matter what the music is, they are foundational. So having a firm grasp of major and minor triads, the difference between them, where they occur in the context of your key is all going to be very important. Which also, by the way, just really quickly. In natural minor, the one, four and five, if the one, four and five were major in major keys, what do you think the one, four and five are in minor keys? Natural minor specifically. If you said minor, you'd be correct. And then the seven, the three and the six are going to be major in the context of natural minor. So let's take A minor, for instance. We're going to have a C major and we're going to have an F major and a G major, which is going to be our three, six and seven in the context of A minor. And then your two chords are going to be diminished. So in major keys, one, four and five are major. In minor keys, natural minor specifically, one, four and five are going to be minor. And the only difference is with major, the diminished is at seven and with minor, it's at two. But otherwise, if you take the other ones, two, three and six, those are going to be minor when it comes to major keys. And in minor keys, the three, six and seven are going to be major. And then the two is diminished instead. So it's a little swap there. Now for the most part, the most important thing to remember is one, four and five and any natural minor key is going to be minor and in any major key is going to be major. Enough about that. Let's talk about step two. So now you have a pretty firm grasp of your major and minor chords. Great. Foundational tom music. Next thing is inversions. And you may say, "Joseph, that's cheating. That's technically the same chords because inversions are just basically a different way to play a chord." And that's true. Or maybe you're not saying that because you don't know what inversions are. But if you would say that, that is true. But I think it's a mistake to just right away skip to other chord types because inversions can have a massive sound difference while technically being the same as a basic major or minor triad. So if you don't know what an inversion is, it basically is just having any chord, any chord at all. But we'll start with major or minor here because at this point theoretically all you know is you've listened to me, you've gone out, you've made sure you really understand major and minor chords. So you're like, "All right, what did he tell me to learn next?" So now we're on inversions. So we're going to concentrate on inversions in the context of major and minor triads. So all it is is having a different note other than the root note. That is the lowest note. Now when we say lowest note, what the heck does that mean? You can see it multiple different ways. If we're just playing piano, it would just be the lowest note I'm playing on the piano. So a C major chord with Cs in the bass is just a root position C major chord. It's the default way to play C major, is to have C in the bass. And the root, by the way, is just always going to be the note that the chord is named after. So the root of D major is D. The root of D minor is D. The root of E major is E. E minor is E. You get it. So you probably got it the first time, but we'll make sure. So C major chord, by default you would have a C in the bass, which also means by default, let's say you're a guitarist, you probably would be playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist would be playing a C, by default. An inversion would be, instead of having a C major chord with a C in the bass, we have a C major with an E in the bass, would be first inversion, because that's another note from the chord. It's an E, which is in our C major chord. It's just the third instead of the first. Or a C major chord with a G in the bass, because that's also a note from our chord, other than the root. That's the fifth of our chord. So back to if you're a guitarist, in this case this might be something like you're playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist is playing a C, versus you're playing a C major chord but your bass guitarist is playing an E, or you're playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist is playing a G. As you can tell probably, those all sound pretty different considering it's technically the same chord. In fact, I talked about this in a livestream fairly recently, but as I've thought about it more, I think I agree with what I said more, which is I think the bass note is disproportionately important to the sound of a chord. Disproportionately important. If there's one note in your chord that matters most for what the chord overall sounds like, I think is the bass note, by a wide margin. Second most important is maybe the, what are the highest note is, but certainly the most important is the bass note. So for instance, here's a C major chord, here's a C major first inversion, so it's a C major with an E in the bass, and here's an E minor chord. I don't know, to me, this, technically this is a C major chord, but does it sound more similar to this, or does it sound more similar to this? I don't know, I think it's maybe in between, and yet technically it just is a C major chord, but because of that all important low note, it kind of has a vibe, like it's an E minor chord, even though really it's not. So it's technically major, but it kind of has that minor three sound a little bit. But anyway, whether you agree with me or not, that it's disproportionately important to the sound of a chord, certainly I'm sure to you ears, you hear that this does not sound like the same chord as this, or as this. It is the same chord, but it does have a different sound, it just doesn't have the same character. So if you learn inversions, which is really just an extension of major and minor triads or any other type of chord, it's just understanding that changing the lowest note that you play and considering using something other than the root makes a big difference in the sound of the chord, you've effectively tripled how many chords you can play. Let's say that we're only using major and minor triads in the context of C major. So we have six different chords, right? Three major and three minor. If we had inversions, instead of just C major, we get C major root position, C major first inversion, C major second inversion, and that's the same with D minor and then E minor. So we have immediately tripled how many chords we know how to play. While technically not actually increasing the amount of chords we can play at all. But from a songwriting perspective and giving your song a sound, there's no question that inversions significantly change how a chord sounds, even though it is the same chord. So this is the next thing to learn. Inversions and really starting to integrate inversions into your song. So if you were to do this while you're songwriting, which is what I'd encourage you to do, you know, in your first song that you write after this podcast, concentrate on making sure you're writing using major and minor triads. You probably already do that, but maybe you're new to songwriting, so use just major and minor triads. By the way, a ton of songs use exclusively major and minor triads. Like a ton of songs don't use anything but major and minor chords. Tons. I might go so far as to say most. If you listen to pop music, then probably most. If you listen to all kinds of different music, that's where it's like maybe not most, but a lot of songs literally use nothing else but major and minor. And that inversions is already going to get you a ton more for a sound color palette, if you will, or a sound palette, however you want to look at that. So third thing to learn is actually a different type of chord, and that's a suspended chord. Now, a suspended chord is just taking any major or minor chord, remove the third, and then add a second or fourth. So we'll use C major again. C major chord has a C, an E, and a G. For a suspended chord, aka a sus chord, we just said that you remove the third and insert a second or fourth. So the third of a C major chord is not the C, that's the first. The third is the E, and then the fifth is the G. So we remove the E, and then we insert either a D, which is a second because C, D, or an F, which is a fourth because C, D, E, F. So if this is a C major chord, this would be what's called a C sus2 chord because we are suspending the third or we're getting rid of the third, and instead we have a 2, a second instead. So we have C, D, and G instead of C, E, and G sus2. And then sus4 is the one that takes the third out, the E, and adds the 4 instead, which is an F in this context. So that would be a C sus4. For those of you who maybe play music and you're used to reading chord sheets and stuff, and you're like, "Joseph, sometimes I just see C sus or G sus." Whenever you see just sus, that implies a sus4. This is a common theme in music. It's kind of like if you see a C chord, you know that you default to C major because it would explicitly tell you if it were minor, and that's because major chords are more common than minor chords. So, I don't know, laziness? Or I guess you could see it as it's a good way to reduce the amount of characters you have to read. When you just see C, you know, okay, C major is the default. It would tell me if it was specifically minor or sus or whatever. So in the same way, sus4 chords are way more common than sus2 chords, so by default if you see C sus, it means C sus4. Same with any other sus chord. That part doesn't really matter as songwriters unless you're writing chord sheets for other people to play your music, in which case, you're welcome, I guess. So take a major or minor chord. This would work with like an A minor chord. You can have an A sus chord, A minor sus chord, I guess. Although really, for the record, it's not a minor sus chord because you don't know whether it's major or minor. This could be an A major sus chord or an A minor sus chord. You don't know because it doesn't have a third. An A major chord has a C sharp and E, and back to what we said about major and minor triads. You just flat the third or see in another way you have a minor third instead of a major third. So flatting the third means take that third and just go down by one note, which if you're a guitarist means one fret. Go down one fret with that note. So an A major chord has a C sharp. A minor chord, the only difference is it has a C natural. When we have an A sus chord, we don't have either one. So it's actually vague whether it's major or minor, which by the way is a beauty of a sus chord. If you want to have a chord that sounds more vague and it's not minor and sounding more sad as minor usually does, or maybe dark, or you don't want as bright as major often sounds, a sus chord can be a great way to go. It's kind of more vague, more nebulous, which you can use to your advantage, especially if you want to essentially have, let's say, a three chord, but you don't really want it to be that minor. So you want to go from a C major chord to an F major chord, and then maybe you want to go to, let's say, a D chord, but you don't want it to be minor as it would be in C major by default. So you go C, F, and then you go to D sus. So now it's vague. We don't know if it's supposed to be minor or major because we just don't have a third at all, which is a great way to use suspended chords, by the way. And also, going back to the keys cheat sheet that I mentioned, another reason that I give you all the notes in every chord or in every key is because it's important to know that because otherwise you wouldn't know when we add the two or the four what note exactly because you could say, well, Joseph, for a C major sus two, how do I know if I'm adding a D flat or a D sharp or D natural? Well, how you know is in the context of C major, there is no D flat or D sharp. It's a D natural. So you would add a D natural. So and this is why, one of the many reasons why it's important to understand chords in context of keys. The chords you have in any key by default are going to be chords that only use the notes that are notes in that key, which is the same as a scale, by the way. So like C major scale and C major key, it's all the same notes. Just a scale implies that you're going up and doing a scale, whereas a key isn't talking about that. It's more concerned with the musical center of gravity, because made up of the same notes. D minor scale, D minor key, A minor, A minor, all the same. So those are suspended chords, which is the next thing I think is good to learn. And then finally, we're going to put two together with this one, because one of these chords I see as sort of a special type of the other one. And that's seventh chords and add chords. Really seventh chords are essentially a special type of add chord, but let's talk about what an add chord is. So an add chord is literally taking a chord and then adding another note to it. That's it. So if we want a C major chord, add four, that would be this. Or a C major chord with an add two, that would be this, because we have our C major notes, but we also add the two. By the way, this normally would be called a C add nine, which is probably how you've seen it written. For whatever reason, the music world decided to do the octave up version. So C add nine is the same as an add two. C add eleven is the same as an add four. C add thirteen is the same as an add six, etc. And then we have seventh chords. Seventh chords are add chords, but specifically that add is seventh. Now also I guess technically seventh chords are special because it has to be a major or minor or diminished triad that adds a seventh. So going to our major, our C major chord, C major is three notes stacked in thirds as all triads are. A seventh chord would be yet another note added to the top. That is another third. So we have C to E as a third, E to G as a third, and G to B as a third. Put those all together and you have a C major seventh chord. Now the notes don't have to be in that order, right? We could play it like this. In fact, very often when we have seventh chords it's not played like this. Very often it's played in different inversions. But that's all seventh chord is. Take major, minor, or diminished triad and just stack yet another third on top. Doesn't matter the order of the notes, but it is important that it is that seventh that you're adding. Wherever it's actually played, so this is the same, right? So I put the E at the bottom or E at the top. And then add chords can be any chord that you're just adding another note. An add is like a catch all. So if you just want a chord that is a C, a G, and an A, that would be a C5 add 6 chord. Why? Because it's a C5 chord. 5, the number 5, not Roman numeral 5. C5 is basically a power chord if you will, but it's just the first and the fifth. It is not major or minor because it doesn't have the third. So it's just C and then a fifth up, G, and then we're adding an A. So this would be a C5 add 6 chord, whereas it often would be denoted a C5 add 13 chord. We can do this with anything. Whatever chord you have, you could even have a C major seventh chord add 6. Because it's a seventh chord and then you add the sixth. Or C major seventh chord add 2. It's starting to be a lot of notes to play at once. But add chords are an important thing because you would be shocked. Or maybe you wouldn't because we just did some. But tiny changes to chords, tiny changes, whether it be a major versus a suspended chord, radically different sound. We talked about how just changing the inversion radically changes the sound. Maybe radically is the wrong term, but it certainly makes a significant change. You can hear the difference. They don't sound the same and they just sound different in context of a song. You can't just...like a song would change its sound if you decided, "Oh, I'm just going to do totally different inversions than the song normally would have." Or "I'm just going to replace every C major chord with a C sus chord." You can't do that without the sound of the song changing. A little bit goes a long way in music. So in the same way with an add chord, just adding one note goes a long way. If you have a super simple chord progression, let's say a 1, 4, 5, 4, you'd be surprised how big of a difference just changing one of those to maybe an add chord could make. So 1, 4, let's do...this would be, let's see, an add 4. So this is a G major chord with an added 4 because we have a C added. And then back to an F. Like, that's one note, but this versus...what I do? Like already makes a decent difference because we have this one chord that's actually kind of interesting. It's got a little dissonance going on. Whereas before we just had all just super major kind of happy sounding chords. So just swapping out one chord for an add chord or a seventh chord can go a long way or swapping out one chord for a suspended chord or an inversion. So don't go too crazy with any of these. In fact, I would recommend if you're writing a song, do something where it's like, okay, your first song, major or minor triads, great. Your second song, maybe to one chord progression in your song, have one inversion of a major or minor chord. Or maybe two. Or maybe in each song section, you have one chord where you figure out an inversion that you really like. And then in your next song, have one chord in one progression that is a sus chord. Find one place to use a sus chord. And then in your next one, find one place to have an add chord. Don't feel the need to make every single chord in a progression like a major seventh with an add 13 and an add 9, which by the way, you can add multiple notes. So you can have add 9, add 13, you can have stuff like that too. But don't go over the top. You can just know that a little bit goes a long way. So again, hopefully this was helpful to you. This is the order that if I were to go back to basics, if I had to learn from the beginning, from a songwriter's perspective, what chords I would learn in what order, because how important I think each one is. Start with major and minor. Once you have that down, inversions, learning inversions, which again applies to any type of chord, not just major and minor, but it's a great way to get a lot of use out of your major and minor chords without having to learn a new chord type yet. Add chords, which adds a lot, gives you that little dissonance that you don't really get from major or minor. You get more dissonance from minor, obviously, than major. And then seventh chords and the more generic type, which is add chords, which is sort of almost a coverall. I mean, almost any chord can be a sort of add chord. And there's almost infinite number of chords. Once you add add chords, there's like infinite possibilities. For a C major, there's C major, add 9, aka add 2. You could have an add 9, add 11, which would just be all that. That's a little gnarly. Maybe you'd want to play it not quite that way. But alas. So hopefully this has helped you. If it was, or if you found yourself lost when it came to certain things like, oh, well, he just was like, oh, a G major has G, A, B, C, D, F sharp. And he just knew, how do you know that? How do I know that? Do I need to memorize that? You should memorize it probably if you're going to write a lot of songs in the key of G major. But to start, a great place to start is my free keys cheat sheet. Because again, it's just going to give you every single major and natural minor key. It will give you all of the major, minor, and diminished triads that you have in each of them. And it will give you all the notes you have in each of them, which are going to help you make your own add chords or sus chords. Because you can look and see, oh, in G major, I have an A minor chord, and I have the notes B and D. So I know that if I do an, what would have been an A minor chord, but I do a sus two, it's going to be a B, E. If I do a sus four, it's going to be a D and E. And then you also know things like if you're going to do an A minor chord, again, in the context of G major, and you're going to make it a seventh chord, you know it's a G natural, not a G sharp, not a G flat. Because again, in the context of G major, there's a G, which you're going to know because I give you all the notes. And again, I kind of glossed over this, but I do think it's something that's good to memorize eventually, especially if you're going to be songwriting a lot. Because if I just want to improvise and I'm trying to songwrite, what's useful to me is not that I think through what are the notes in E major again, I just know the notes in E major and just can play them. And I don't have to think about it. In fact, it's easier, it's probably faster for me to just play in E major without consciously thinking about which notes I'm sharping and all that than it is to just play. I think I said that right. It's slower to actually think of the notes than it is to just play because it's ingrained. So be sure to grab my free keys cheat sheet because it will give you all of the answers. You can go out, write a song in G major, A major, A minor, B flat major, E flat major, whatever keys you like to use. And you will immediately know all the main triads that you have or all the triads you have because there's only seven in any given major or minor key. And then also all the notes you have, which are going to help you with things like building sus chords off of your chords or add chords, seventh chords, and also in versions. Thank you again for listening. I appreciate every single one of you. If you haven't already, if you're somebody that has been here for a while and you get value out of this podcast, something you can do to help me out is leave a kind review on Apple Podcast or Spotify wherever you listen. I know I don't say this a lot. You're probably supposed to say it every episode. I probably should say it every episode because it probably would be more reviews, which I think there are a decent amount of reviews. I appreciate those of you who have done this. But again, a great way that you can help out if you've gotten a lot of value from this episode or other episodes, even if you thought this episode was worthless, but hey, he helped me the last three episodes, which is why I listen to this episode. If any of those descriptions are you, great way to help me out is just take the couple minutes to leave. If you think I deserve it, a five star review and whatever suits your fancy to say in the review, or you can just leave the stars and not actually leave a text review if you want to make it really, really, really fast. If you feel like I don't deserve five stars, just let me know how I can improve. My email is joseph at songwritertheory.com. I would much rather, much rather if you think that there's something to improve, you think like, oh, this is like a three and a half stars, this is four stars. It would be better if you tell me how to improve that so I can earn five stars from you rather than tank in the rating so that other people don't give this episode a shot. So again, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for those of you who have left reviews, and I'll talk to you in the next one.

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►► Download the Musical Keys Cheat Sheet here: https://songwritertheory.com/keys/

In this episode of the Songwriter Theory Podcast, we're talking about how learning chord types just got easier... because I'm going to tell you exactly what chords to learn in what order to be most effective at writing chord progressions for your songs. The way songwriters should look at chords should be significantly different than how musicians often look at chords. So let's talk about how to learn chord types for songwriters!

Transcript: If you have wanted a roadmap to know what chords to learn when along your songwriting journey, then this is the episode for you, because we are talking about what chords you should learn in what order as a songwriter. Let's talk about it. (upbeat music) Hello, friend. Welcome to another episode of the Songwriter Theory Podcast. I'm your host, as always, Joseph Adala. I honor that you'll take some time out of your busy day and be here with me talking about songwriting. You could be listening to any podcast right now, which I probably shouldn't remind you of, like Rogan or whatever your favorite podcast is. But instead, you are here wanting to learn about songwriting. And hey, I get it, but I also appreciate it, because there's a lot of entertaining podcasts out there. And the fact that you are choosing one where you would learn something about songwriting, about the craft of songwriting, I'm glad you care enough about the craft of songwriting to, well, be listening to any songwriting podcast much more even so that you chose this one. I was about to say much less this one, but that wouldn't make sense, now would it? If you haven't already, be sure to grab my free Keys Cheat Sheet, a lot of what we're talking about today with chords. There's gonna be my first point before we dive into the chords, but you have to understand the chords within the context of keys. Because as long as your understanding is just, oh, G major to C major sounds good with quotation marks around it, for those of you who aren't watching the video, you're just, you're not really gonna understand chords. The only context where chords have any meaning at all, in chord progressions have any meaning, is within the context of keys. So a C major chord in the key of C major has a totally different sound and a totally different job than a C major chord in the key of G major. Because in C major, a C major chord is a one chord. In G major, it's a four chord, which sounds different. So context matters. So it's really important to understand that, again, that you don't wanna learn super complex theory. So I made it super easy. This Keys Cheat Sheet just breaks down every single one of the main triads, AKA main, major, and minor, as well as diminished chords in every single key. So no matter what your favorite keys are, it will give you exactly all the notes in the keys, which will help you with melody writing and making your own chords, but also all of the main triads, all the main, major, and minor chords. So that's at songwritertheory.com slash keys. Super easy to remember. Link will be in the description down below or in the show notes, depending on whether you are listening via podcast or watching on YouTube. So we're gonna dive into the chords that you should learn in what order. But again, just to reiterate, it's really important to understand chords in context of keys. Yes, you need to know the notes within C major. Let's say you're playing on a keyboard or a piano. Of course, it's important to know, oh, C major is C, E, and G. Yes, great. But the most important way to understand chords as a songwriter is not just C major and G major, and, you know, oh, it's a common chord progression to have a C major, G major, A minor, F major. Yes, that's true, but it's not just that chord progression. Really that chord progression is a 1, 5, 6, 4, and you just happen to say what a 1, 5, 6, 4 chord progression is in the context of C major. So the chord progression G major, D major, E minor, C major is actually the exact same chord progression as C major, G major, A minor, and F major, just for frame of reference, here's your, let me find my pedal here. Here's your C major, G major, A minor, F major, and then if we have instead the G major version of it, so that was a 1, 5, 6, 4 in C major, and then if we have it in G major, then we would have this. (drumming) So that would be the same exact chord progression, and you probably can hear that. It's just in a different key, right, but the chord progression sounds the same. So it's most important to understand chords in that context. In this episode, we're going to be talking about things like major and minor chords, inversions and things like that, but that is only gonna be helpful, or is mostly gonna be helpful if first you understand that just getting an understanding of that Roman numeral notation for chords, and knowing that a C major chord in the context of G major is the same as a D major chord in the context of A major, because they're both four chords in that context, that that's the most important way to understand chords. Because as a songwriter, you need to know that if you're writing a song in G major, a C major to G major chord transition is gonna sound very different than even what it would sound like in the context of a song in C major. Same exact chords, but it's gonna sound different because of the context. So that being said, let's talk about the specific chords to learn in what order. And the first chords to learn are major and minor triads. And that's because no matter what the genre, key, style, whatever it is, major and minor chords are foundational. They're foundational to everything. I don't care what music you listen to, major and minor triads are at the foundation of it. And you may have noticed that I just, I believe, interchanged between using major and minor triad and major and minor chord. And that's because it's the exact same thing. So a chord is really just any combination of two or more notes. So a chord could be this, even though it's just two notes, or a chord could be this, which is four notes, or this, which is five notes. All of those are chords. A triad is a specific type of chord. And by the way, is the most foundational type of chord there is. In fact, all major and minor chords, as well as diminished chords and augmented chords, are triads. There's no such thing as a C major chord or G major. There's no such thing as a major or minor chord that is not a triad. And all a triad is, is a chord that's made up of specifically three notes, and they are stacked in thirds. It's not super important that you understand what thirds are for most of this episode, but we'll go over it really quick. So a first or unison is just the same note. So C to C would be a first or unison. C to D would be a second. C going past D to E would be a third. So basically, if you just include the note that you're starting on as the one, you just move up more notes. So a third is not moving up once to a second, but moving up again to a third. So a triad is a chord that is made up of three notes stacked in thirds. So let's take a C major triad as an easy example of this. So a C major triad starts with a C. That's why it's called C major, because that's the root of the chord. So then we have a third on top of that. So we skip over the D and go to an E. So the first two notes of a C major chord are C, skipping over D, and then E. And then we skip over F and go to G for another third, a third on top of that E, because a second on top of E would be the F. A third is going up to the G. So C, E, G. That's your C major chord. And that is basically how you build all major and minor triads, because, well, they're triads, also augmented and diminished would also be made in that same way. Now, the only difference is that a major triad has a major third, and a minor triad has a minor third. The only difference there is a major third is four semitones up. So we have C, C sharp, D, D sharp, and then E. All right, so one, two, three, four, four semitones up. And then if we just go three semitones up instead, that's where you get minor. That's the only difference. Major chord has a major third between the root and the third. Minor has a minor third in between the root and the third. And going with my initial point about understanding chords in context of keys is going to be most important. What's important to know, I think, is that in any key, any major key, any major key, you're going to have chords built off of all the scale degrees. So we'll stick with C major to keep it really simple. So C major is made up of seven notes, just like every other major and minor key. So we have C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. No sharps or flats. This is why it's a super common key because it's super easy. So each of those seven were called scale degrees, C being the first, D being the second, E being third, F4, G5, A6, and B7. Each of those scale degrees, we can build a triad off of those scale degrees. And those are foundational chords. And in every major key, the triad built off of the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees are all major triads or major chords. So in C major, the one is C, so we have a major chord built off of that. The four is an F because C, one, D, two, E, three, F is four, so we have an F major chord in C major. And then if F is the four, we know G is the five, fifth scale degree. And the five chord is also in every major key going to be a major chord. And then the two, three, and six in any major key are going to be minor triads. So in the context of C major, we know that our two is D because C, one, D, two is going to be minor. And then if D is two, we know E is three, so we have an E minor. And then six is going to be A, so we have an A minor. And then the chord built off of the seventh scale degree is a diminished chord, which is not as useful as major and minor chords, or at least not as important. In fact, in this video where I'm breaking down what chords to learn in what order, we're not even going to talk about diminished chords because I think they are, they can be useful, but they're not as useful as the other chords that we're going to talk about, in my opinion. So the important thing to understand is in any major key, if you lay out the notes in order, starting with the name of your key, so let's take G major, your one would be G and G major, your one would be A and A major, F and F major, etc. And then you just lay out all the notes in that scale or in that key and assign them numbers. The triads that you have built off of the first, fourth and fifth scale degree in every major key is going to be major. And two, three and six is going to be minor. So if we do the same thing in G major, we have a G major chord, one, an A minor chord, two because we said two is always minor. And then, oops, that's diminished. And then we have a B minor chord off of the three because every time a three is going to be minor. And then we have C major and D major because four and five are always going to be major. And then E minor, and then we're going to have an F sharp diminished as a seven. This is going to be true in literally every major or minor key. So once you know your key, you know that, okay, what's built off the one, four and five is going to be major. And those are going to be my foundational chords. And then the two, three and six are going to be minor. And those are also very, very, very important chords. For the record, six is maybe most important because it's certainly the most used of the minor chords by a pretty wide margin. If you look at how popular chords are, the one, four and five are the most used. They're just used constantly. Probably rarely would you even write a song where you're not using the one, four and the five. The six is by far the most common minor chord. The two is the second most common. And then the three is the forgotten minor chord that is not used nearly enough because I love three chords. I think they're beautiful. Like if you have a one and then a five and then you go, this is something about that three to four that just, I love that. But anyway, my personal opinions aside, major and minor triads. First thing to learn. First thing to make sure you know. They're foundational chords. They're foundational to every key, especially major and minor keys, which, you know, that's every key basically. They're even foundational to modes, by the way. So even when we're in major and minor modes, rather than just a regular major and natural minor key, they're still foundational. No matter what the music is, they are foundational. So having a firm grasp of major and minor triads, the difference between them, where they occur in the context of your key is all going to be very important. Which also, by the way, just really quickly. In natural minor, the one, four and five, if the one, four and five were major in major keys, what do you think the one, four and five are in minor keys? Natural minor specifically. If you said minor, you'd be correct. And then the seven, the three and the six are going to be major in the context of natural minor. So let's take A minor, for instance. We're going to have a C major and we're going to have an F major and a G major, which is going to be our three, six and seven in the context of A minor. And then your two chords are going to be diminished. So in major keys, one, four and five are major. In minor keys, natural minor specifically, one, four and five are going to be minor. And the only difference is with major, the diminished is at seven and with minor, it's at two. But otherwise, if you take the other ones, two, three and six, those are going to be minor when it comes to major keys. And in minor keys, the three, six and seven are going to be major. And then the two is diminished instead. So it's a little swap there. Now for the most part, the most important thing to remember is one, four and five and any natural minor key is going to be minor and in any major key is going to be major. Enough about that. Let's talk about step two. So now you have a pretty firm grasp of your major and minor chords. Great. Foundational tom music. Next thing is inversions. And you may say, "Joseph, that's cheating. That's technically the same chords because inversions are just basically a different way to play a chord." And that's true. Or maybe you're not saying that because you don't know what inversions are. But if you would say that, that is true. But I think it's a mistake to just right away skip to other chord types because inversions can have a massive sound difference while technically being the same as a basic major or minor triad. So if you don't know what an inversion is, it basically is just having any chord, any chord at all. But we'll start with major or minor here because at this point theoretically all you know is you've listened to me, you've gone out, you've made sure you really understand major and minor chords. So you're like, "All right, what did he tell me to learn next?" So now we're on inversions. So we're going to concentrate on inversions in the context of major and minor triads. So all it is is having a different note other than the root note. That is the lowest note. Now when we say lowest note, what the heck does that mean? You can see it multiple different ways. If we're just playing piano, it would just be the lowest note I'm playing on the piano. So a C major chord with Cs in the bass is just a root position C major chord. It's the default way to play C major, is to have C in the bass. And the root, by the way, is just always going to be the note that the chord is named after. So the root of D major is D. The root of D minor is D. The root of E major is E. E minor is E. You get it. So you probably got it the first time, but we'll make sure. So C major chord, by default you would have a C in the bass, which also means by default, let's say you're a guitarist, you probably would be playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist would be playing a C, by default. An inversion would be, instead of having a C major chord with a C in the bass, we have a C major with an E in the bass, would be first inversion, because that's another note from the chord. It's an E, which is in our C major chord. It's just the third instead of the first. Or a C major chord with a G in the bass, because that's also a note from our chord, other than the root. That's the fifth of our chord. So back to if you're a guitarist, in this case this might be something like you're playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist is playing a C, versus you're playing a C major chord but your bass guitarist is playing an E, or you're playing a C major chord and your bass guitarist is playing a G. As you can tell probably, those all sound pretty different considering it's technically the same chord. In fact, I talked about this in a livestream fairly recently, but as I've thought about it more, I think I agree with what I said more, which is I think the bass note is disproportionately important to the sound of a chord. Disproportionately important. If there's one note in your chord that matters most for what the chord overall sounds like, I think is the bass note, by a wide margin. Second most important is maybe the, what are the highest note is, but certainly the most important is the bass note. So for instance, here's a C major chord, here's a C major first inversion, so it's a C major with an E in the bass, and here's an E minor chord. I don't know, to me, this, technically this is a C major chord, but does it sound more similar to this, or does it sound more similar to this? I don't know, I think it's maybe in between, and yet technically it just is a C major chord, but because of that all important low note, it kind of has a vibe, like it's an E minor chord, even though really it's not. So it's technically major, but it kind of has that minor three sound a little bit. But anyway, whether you agree with me or not, that it's disproportionately important to the sound of a chord, certainly I'm sure to you ears, you hear that this does not sound like the same chord as this, or as this. It is the same chord, but it does have a different sound, it just doesn't have the same character. So if you learn inversions, which is really just an extension of major and minor triads or any other type of chord, it's just understanding that changing the lowest note that you play and considering using something other than the root makes a big difference in the sound of the chord, you've effectively tripled how many chords you can play. Let's say that we're only using major and minor triads in the context of C major. So we have six different chords, right? Three major and three minor. If we had inversions, instead of just C major, we get C major root position, C major first inversion, C major second inversion, and that's the same with D minor and then E minor. So we have immediately tripled how many chords we know how to play. While technically not actually increasing the amount of chords we can play at all. But from a songwriting perspective and giving your song a sound, there's no question that inversions significantly change how a chord sounds, even though it is the same chord. So this is the next thing to learn. Inversions and really starting to integrate inversions into your song. So if you were to do this while you're songwriting, which is what I'd encourage you to do, you know, in your first song that you write after this podcast, concentrate on making sure you're writing using major and minor triads. You probably already do that, but maybe you're new to songwriting, so use just major and minor triads. By the way, a ton of songs use exclusively major and minor triads. Like a ton of songs don't use anything but major and minor chords. Tons. I might go so far as to say most. If you listen to pop music, then probably most. If you listen to all kinds of different music, that's where it's like maybe not most, but a lot of songs literally use nothing else but major and minor. And that inversions is already going to get you a ton more for a sound color palette, if you will, or a sound palette, however you want to look at that. So third thing to learn is actually a different type of chord, and that's a suspended chord. Now, a suspended chord is just taking any major or minor chord, remove the third, and then add a second or fourth. So we'll use C major again. C major chord has a C, an E, and a G. For a suspended chord, aka a sus chord, we just said that you remove the third and insert a second or fourth. So the third of a C major chord is not the C, that's the first. The third is the E, and then the fifth is the G. So we remove the E, and then we insert either a D, which is a second because C, D, or an F, which is a fourth because C, D, E, F. So if this is a C major chord, this would be what's called a C sus2 chord because we are suspending the third or we're getting rid of the third, and instead we have a 2, a second instead. So we have C, D, and G instead of C, E, and G sus2. And then sus4 is the one that takes the third out, the E, and adds the 4 instead, which is an F in this context. So that would be a C sus4. For those of you who maybe play music and you're used to reading chord sheets and stuff, and you're like, "Joseph, sometimes I just see C sus or G sus." Whenever you see just sus, that implies a sus4. This is a common theme in music. It's kind of like if you see a C chord, you know that you default to C major because it would explicitly tell you if it were minor, and that's because major chords are more common than minor chords. So, I don't know, laziness? Or I guess you could see it as it's a good way to reduce the amount of characters you have to read. When you just see C, you know, okay, C major is the default. It would tell me if it was specifically minor or sus or whatever. So in the same way, sus4 chords are way more common than sus2 chords, so by default if you see C sus, it means C sus4. Same with any other sus chord. That part doesn't really matter as songwriters unless you're writing chord sheets for other people to play your music, in which case, you're welcome, I guess. So take a major or minor chord. This would work with like an A minor chord. You can have an A sus chord, A minor sus chord, I guess. Although really, for the record, it's not a minor sus chord because you don't know whether it's major or minor. This could be an A major sus chord or an A minor sus chord. You don't know because it doesn't have a third. An A major chord has a C sharp and E, and back to what we said about major and minor triads. You just flat the third or see in another way you have a minor third instead of a major third. So flatting the third means take that third and just go down by one note, which if you're a guitarist means one fret. Go down one fret with that note. So an A major chord has a C sharp. A minor chord, the only difference is it has a C natural. When we have an A sus chord, we don't have either one. So it's actually vague whether it's major or minor, which by the way is a beauty of a sus chord. If you want to have a chord that sounds more vague and it's not minor and sounding more sad as minor usually does, or maybe dark, or you don't want as bright as major often sounds, a sus chord can be a great way to go. It's kind of more vague, more nebulous, which you can use to your advantage, especially if you want to essentially have, let's say, a three chord, but you don't really want it to be that minor. So you want to go from a C major chord to an F major chord, and then maybe you want to go to, let's say, a D chord, but you don't want it to be minor as it would be in C major by default. So you go C, F, and then you go to D sus. So now it's vague. We don't know if it's supposed to be minor or major because we just don't have a third at all, which is a great way to use suspended chords, by the way. And also, going back to the keys cheat sheet that I mentioned, another reason that I give you all the notes in every chord or in every key is because it's important to know that because otherwise you wouldn't know when we add the two or the four what note exactly because you could say, well, Joseph, for a C major sus two, how do I know if I'm adding a D flat or a D sharp or D natural? Well, how you know is in the context of C major, there is no D flat or D sharp. It's a D natural. So you would add a D natural. So and this is why, one of the many reasons why it's important to understand chords in context of keys. The chords you have in any key by default are going to be chords that only use the notes that are notes in that key, which is the same as a scale, by the way. So like C major scale and C major key, it's all the same notes. Just a scale implies that you're going up and doing a scale, whereas a key isn't talking about that. It's more concerned with the musical center of gravity, because made up of the same notes. D minor scale, D minor key, A minor, A minor, all the same. So those are suspended chords, which is the next thing I think is good to learn. And then finally, we're going to put two together with this one, because one of these chords I see as sort of a special type of the other one. And that's seventh chords and add chords. Really seventh chords are essentially a special type of add chord, but let's talk about what an add chord is. So an add chord is literally taking a chord and then adding another note to it. That's it. So if we want a C major chord, add four, that would be this. Or a C major chord with an add two, that would be this, because we have our C major notes, but we also add the two. By the way, this normally would be called a C add nine, which is probably how you've seen it written. For whatever reason, the music world decided to do the octave up version. So C add nine is the same as an add two. C add eleven is the same as an add four. C add thirteen is the same as an add six, etc. And then we have seventh chords. Seventh chords are add chords, but specifically that add is seventh. Now also I guess technically seventh chords are special because it has to be a major or minor or diminished triad that adds a seventh. So going to our major, our C major chord, C major is three notes stacked in thirds as all triads are. A seventh chord would be yet another note added to the top. That is another third. So we have C to E as a third, E to G as a third, and G to B as a third. Put those all together and you have a C major seventh chord. Now the notes don't have to be in that order, right? We could play it like this. In fact, very often when we have seventh chords it's not played like this. Very often it's played in different inversions. But that's all seventh chord is. Take major, minor, or diminished triad and just stack yet another third on top. Doesn't matter the order of the notes, but it is important that it is that seventh that you're adding. Wherever it's actually played, so this is the same, right? So I put the E at the bottom or E at the top. And then add chords can be any chord that you're just adding another note. An add is like a catch all. So if you just want a chord that is a C, a G, and an A, that would be a C5 add 6 chord. Why? Because it's a C5 chord. 5, the number 5, not Roman numeral 5. C5 is basically a power chord if you will, but it's just the first and the fifth. It is not major or minor because it doesn't have the third. So it's just C and then a fifth up, G, and then we're adding an A. So this would be a C5 add 6 chord, whereas it often would be denoted a C5 add 13 chord. We can do this with anything. Whatever chord you have, you could even have a C major seventh chord add 6. Because it's a seventh chord and then you add the sixth. Or C major seventh chord add 2. It's starting to be a lot of notes to play at once. But add chords are an important thing because you would be shocked. Or maybe you wouldn't because we just did some. But tiny changes to chords, tiny changes, whether it be a major versus a suspended chord, radically different sound. We talked about how just changing the inversion radically changes the sound. Maybe radically is the wrong term, but it certainly makes a significant change. You can hear the difference. They don't sound the same and they just sound different in context of a song. You can't just...like a song would change its sound if you decided, "Oh, I'm just going to do totally different inversions than the song normally would have." Or "I'm just going to replace every C major chord with a C sus chord." You can't do that without the sound of the song changing. A little bit goes a long way in music. So in the same way with an add chord, just adding one note goes a long way. If you have a super simple chord progression, let's say a 1, 4, 5, 4, you'd be surprised how big of a difference just changing one of those to maybe an add chord could make. So 1, 4, let's do...this would be, let's see, an add 4. So this is a G major chord with an added 4 because we have a C added. And then back to an F. Like, that's one note, but this versus...what I do? Like already makes a decent difference because we have this one chord that's actually kind of interesting. It's got a little dissonance going on. Whereas before we just had all just super major kind of happy sounding chords. So just swapping out one chord for an add chord or a seventh chord can go a long way or swapping out one chord for a suspended chord or an inversion. So don't go too crazy with any of these. In fact, I would recommend if you're writing a song, do something where it's like, okay, your first song, major or minor triads, great. Your second song, maybe to one chord progression in your song, have one inversion of a major or minor chord. Or maybe two. Or maybe in each song section, you have one chord where you figure out an inversion that you really like. And then in your next song, have one chord in one progression that is a sus chord. Find one place to use a sus chord. And then in your next one, find one place to have an add chord. Don't feel the need to make every single chord in a progression like a major seventh with an add 13 and an add 9, which by the way, you can add multiple notes. So you can have add 9, add 13, you can have stuff like that too. But don't go over the top. You can just know that a little bit goes a long way. So again, hopefully this was helpful to you. This is the order that if I were to go back to basics, if I had to learn from the beginning, from a songwriter's perspective, what chords I would learn in what order, because how important I think each one is. Start with major and minor. Once you have that down, inversions, learning inversions, which again applies to any type of chord, not just major and minor, but it's a great way to get a lot of use out of your major and minor chords without having to learn a new chord type yet. Add chords, which adds a lot, gives you that little dissonance that you don't really get from major or minor. You get more dissonance from minor, obviously, than major. And then seventh chords and the more generic type, which is add chords, which is sort of almost a coverall. I mean, almost any chord can be a sort of add chord. And there's almost infinite number of chords. Once you add add chords, there's like infinite possibilities. For a C major, there's C major, add 9, aka add 2. You could have an add 9, add 11, which would just be all that. That's a little gnarly. Maybe you'd want to play it not quite that way. But alas. So hopefully this has helped you. If it was, or if you found yourself lost when it came to certain things like, oh, well, he just was like, oh, a G major has G, A, B, C, D, F sharp. And he just knew, how do you know that? How do I know that? Do I need to memorize that? You should memorize it probably if you're going to write a lot of songs in the key of G major. But to start, a great place to start is my free keys cheat sheet. Because again, it's just going to give you every single major and natural minor key. It will give you all of the major, minor, and diminished triads that you have in each of them. And it will give you all the notes you have in each of them, which are going to help you make your own add chords or sus chords. Because you can look and see, oh, in G major, I have an A minor chord, and I have the notes B and D. So I know that if I do an, what would have been an A minor chord, but I do a sus two, it's going to be a B, E. If I do a sus four, it's going to be a D and E. And then you also know things like if you're going to do an A minor chord, again, in the context of G major, and you're going to make it a seventh chord, you know it's a G natural, not a G sharp, not a G flat. Because again, in the context of G major, there's a G, which you're going to know because I give you all the notes. And again, I kind of glossed over this, but I do think it's something that's good to memorize eventually, especially if you're going to be songwriting a lot. Because if I just want to improvise and I'm trying to songwrite, what's useful to me is not that I think through what are the notes in E major again, I just know the notes in E major and just can play them. And I don't have to think about it. In fact, it's easier, it's probably faster for me to just play in E major without consciously thinking about which notes I'm sharping and all that than it is to just play. I think I said that right. It's slower to actually think of the notes than it is to just play because it's ingrained. So be sure to grab my free keys cheat sheet because it will give you all of the answers. You can go out, write a song in G major, A major, A minor, B flat major, E flat major, whatever keys you like to use. And you will immediately know all the main triads that you have or all the triads you have because there's only seven in any given major or minor key. And then also all the notes you have, which are going to help you with things like building sus chords off of your chords or add chords, seventh chords, and also in versions. Thank you again for listening. I appreciate every single one of you. If you haven't already, if you're somebody that has been here for a while and you get value out of this podcast, something you can do to help me out is leave a kind review on Apple Podcast or Spotify wherever you listen. I know I don't say this a lot. You're probably supposed to say it every episode. I probably should say it every episode because it probably would be more reviews, which I think there are a decent amount of reviews. I appreciate those of you who have done this. But again, a great way that you can help out if you've gotten a lot of value from this episode or other episodes, even if you thought this episode was worthless, but hey, he helped me the last three episodes, which is why I listen to this episode. If any of those descriptions are you, great way to help me out is just take the couple minutes to leave. If you think I deserve it, a five star review and whatever suits your fancy to say in the review, or you can just leave the stars and not actually leave a text review if you want to make it really, really, really fast. If you feel like I don't deserve five stars, just let me know how I can improve. My email is joseph at songwritertheory.com. I would much rather, much rather if you think that there's something to improve, you think like, oh, this is like a three and a half stars, this is four stars. It would be better if you tell me how to improve that so I can earn five stars from you rather than tank in the rating so that other people don't give this episode a shot. So again, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for those of you who have left reviews, and I'll talk to you in the next one.

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