By definition, a chord consists of at least three different notes. Notice the word “different;” an octave doesn’t count as a different note because it’s a repetition (so for you guitarists out there this means a power chord isn’t actually a chord).

Chords can be simple triads, but they can also be more complicated.

Rather than explain every possible chord out there, here are the most common ones and their formulas;

  • Triads:
    • Major: 1 3 5
    • Minor: 1 b3 5
    • Diminished: 1 b3 b5
    • Augmented: 1 3 #5
    • Suspended: 1 (2/4) 5
    • 7th chords:
      • Major 7th: 1 3 5 7
      • Minor 7th: 1 b3 5 b7
      • Dominant 7th: 1 3 5 b7
      • Half-diminished 7th: 1 b3 b5 b7
      • Diminished 7th: 1 b3 b5 bb7 (the double flat means it’s lowered a whole-step rather than a half-step).

I mentioned “suspended chords.” They’re important, especially for making the kind of chords you need a huge ethereal house anthem. A “suspended” chord refers to a chord that replaces it’s 3rd with a 2nd or 4th.

Here’s what each of the above chords sounds like, from top to bottom (major, minor, diminished, augmented, major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th, half-diminished 7th, diminished 7th):

Chords can be elaborated on a lot more than the ones I’ve mentioned, but we’ll get to that soon in another post.

TL;DR: Oh c’mon, this post isn’t even that long. Just read it.