Chords Declassified 1

Chords Declassified!

Banjo Chord Theory Part 1

 

 

It’s all music. The Five-String Banjo is simply another tone-producing musical invention. This chord theory discussion will sum up a few of the basic concepts of  banjo chords.

 


 

Chords Come From Scales

Here’s the standard G Major Scale:

 

G – A – B – C – D – E – F# – G

 

Starting on G and skipping every other note in a G major scale you get G-B-D or a G major triad chord. It is the first three open strings on your banjo plus a G chord position at the fifth fret:

 

 

To give you another perspective, here is a G major scale shown in tablature and standard notation. The G-B-D triad notes are circled:

 

Play the the G-B-D chord on the first three strings and compare it to the scale.

 


 

Octave Intervals

Octave intervals have a 12 fret distance. There are two pairs of octave notes in open G banjo tuning. These are the D notes on the 1st & 4th strings and the G notes on the 3rd and 5th strings.

Here is the G chord position at the fifth fret:

This is called a Root Position Chord because it’s lowest pitch is G. In this chord position, the fourth and first strings are Octave G notes. You can hear an octave in the first two notes of the tune “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

 

Learn more about intervals and chord construction in Part 2.