# Build chords using steps

A list that shows how chords are built with half and whole step intervals.

By knowing the intervals (how many steps distance between keys or notes) will make it possible to play more or less any chord. For example, for C major it is four half steps and three half steps from the root. Knowing such sequences for any chord will make easy to build tons of chords including C, Cm, C7, Cm7, C9, Cm9, C11, Cm11, C13 and Cm13 with various root notes.

### Building triads

Triads are three-note chords and the main categories are major, minor, diminished and augmented:

- Major triad (root, 4 steps, 3 steps)
- Minor triad (root, 3 steps, 4 steps)
- Diminished triad (root, 3 steps, 3 steps)
- Augmented triad (root, 4 steps, 4 steps)

Steps are referring to half steps. So, between C and E, there are four half steps.

### Building seventh chords

Seventh chords are characterized by the seventh interval that extends a triad chord:

- Major 7 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps)
- Minor 7 (root, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps)
- Dominant 7 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps)
- Diminished 7 (root, 3 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps)
- Augmented 7 (root, 4 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps)

Whereas major 7th includes a major seventh interval, minor 7th, dominant 7th and augmented 7th included a minor seventh interval. are referring to half steps. The diminished 7th stands out by including a double flattened seventh.

### Building ninth chords

Ninth chords are characterized by the ninth interval that extends a seventh chord:

- Major 9 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps)
- Minor 9 (root, 3 steps, 4 steps, 4 steps)
- Dominant 9 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps)

All three categories include the same ninth interval. For example, Cmaj9, Cm9 and C9 all include a D note.

### Building eleventh chords

Eleventh chords are characterized by the eleventh interval that extends a ninth chord:

- Major 11 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps)
- Minor 11 (root, 3 steps, 4 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps)
- Dominant 11 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps)

All three categories include the same eleventh interval. For example, Cmaj11, Cm11 and C11 all include an F note.

### Building thirteenth chords

Thirteenth chords are characterized by the thirteenth interval that extends an eleventh chord:

- Major 13 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps)
- Minor 13 (root, 3 steps, 4 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps)
- Dominant 13 (root, 4 steps, 3 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps)

All three categories include the same thirteenth interval. For example, Cmaj13, Cm13 and C13 all include an A note.

If you study theory of music or just playing the piano, knowing these relationships can be very helpful for understand and learn chords.

See also Chord symbols ›