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How Chords Work

3 hours, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm, Susan Deas Music, Jarrett St Leichhardt

Guitar chord   This workshop will explore the theory and function of chords in music. After an introduction to keys, scales, major and minor, and the cycle of fifths, we will discuss how chords work, how they are derived from scales, and what various chord symbols mean. Please note that this workshop will not include how to find the various chord shapes on a guitar or any other instrument. Instead we will explore the theory behind chords, what notes should be included, and how they function in chord progressions. Participants will receive a handout with a summary of the material covered. Guitarists, pianists, and anyone who is interested in the theory of chords is welcome!

to register your interest in this workshop
"Your knowledge of music is mind boggling! You are able to draw on such a rich and varied resource of examples to illustrate the concepts you want the class to grasp. It is one thing to have the knowledge; it is entirely another to communicate that knowledge to a beginner like me"

"Your preparation is exemplary! Examples you've accumulated and their appropriateness is just super. Your knowledge is fantastic too!"

"You have the necessary expertise to use not only the written word but  carefully selected audio visual materials as well. I am so impressed with the way you can go to the piano and illustrate a point, almost without thinking!! Such knowledge is truly rare"

Course Outline

Session 1

A brief introduction to western music
Major keys
The Cycle of Fiths
How chords come from scales
Minor keys
Chords in minor keys
Chord progressions

Afternoon tea

Tea, coffee and light refreshments provided

Session 2

Adding notes to chords
Dominant 7th chords
Other 7th chords
Suspensions: sus2 and sus4
Chords with 6ths
Augmented chords
Diminished chords
Further chord extensions: 9ths, 11ths and 13ths

More about Susan Deas

Susan has been teaching adult music appreciation courses for over 10 years, through Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education and WEA Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Music with a major in performance (piano) and musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and the A.Mus.A in Musicianship. She teaches piano and musicianship to adults and children, and performs on the piano and organ in various venues around Sydney.

More about Susan's qualifications

Read what people have said about Susan's other courses

Susan's other music courses