Chord Construction Part 5: Extended Chord Families


To this point we've learned that the foundation of a chord is a Major or Minor Triad.

With this we've been able to explain Power Chords, Suspended Chords, and Add Chords. Also, along with Major and Minor Triads we've learn about the Diminished Triad and the Augmented Triad.

With each of these chord types, the Triad was at the basis, was the the foundation, or was the basic starting point for each.

With Extended Chords the Triad is still part of the foundation although we will extend the foundation to a four note chord.

There are three Extended Chord Families, they are:




Each of these chords will still contain one of the basic triads but we will add one more note to it to give us a new foundation for building many new chords.

These basic four note chords are commonly referred to as some type "seven chord". More specifics will given as we proceed.

Just as the Intervals in a Triad determined whether a chord was from the Major or Minor Family, these "seven chords" Intervals determine whether a chord is from the Major, Minor, or Dominant Extended Family.

The names and Intervals used for these new Extended Chord foundations (the seven chords) are these:

maj7: R M3 5 M7

m7: R b3 5 b7

7: R M3 5 b7

Just as Add Chords were built by Adding notes to a Triad, an Extended Chord is built by adding notes to the "seven chord" of the particular family.

From this point on we will refer to the Triad quite a bit, because it is there, but we are going to use the three Extended Chord Families as our foundation for the chords in this series.

In the next parts of the Series we will look at each Extended Family individually to understand it completely.