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Updated by Miranda Applegate on Oct 18, 2016
Headline for Major and Minor Chords: The Impact of Tonality
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Major and Minor Chords: The Impact of Tonality

Here are some links to be used in teaching tonality and major/minor chords! Happy exploring.

Links to be used in 7th and 8th grade General Music class.

How To Play Major And Minor Chords On The Piano
This YouTube video explains how to build a major and minor chord on the piano, as well as some descriptors of the chords. It is easy to follow and visual, as well as not overly wordy.

Hello - Adele - Happy Sad Songs

Adele's "Hello" becomes an upbeat country classic.

This YouTube video is the song "Hello" in a major key, which could be used for demonstrating the impact of flipping the tonality of a piece of music. I chose it because it is a popular song and the tonality change impacts the feel greatly.

Major Minor

This website explains major and minor tonality in a clear way. I chose it because it contains short audio clips which take pieces of familiar music, such as Happy Birthday, and put them in major and minor keys in order to quickly compare. It also explains tonality well.

Major and Minor Triads

This image describes the intervals in a major and minor chord (or triad) in a clear, mathematical way. I like how it contains both major and minor, and how it uses the same chord to demonstrate the difference between major and minor.

Chord Ear Training

This is an ear training game I made on It is interactive and could be used either as a quiz among partners or a speed/accuracy race in a class. I appreciate how adaptable and easy this website is both for teachers and students to use to learn about music theory. This quiz could be used in small groups, individually, or as a class opener game.

Major and Minor...Tonality... What's The Difference... Scales and Chords | Lessons in Your Home

This website explains major and minor tonality in more detail. It also explains major and minor scales. I thought it was a clear read with more information than some of the other resources. It could be used in teaching or for individual student reading.

Circle of Life - Happy Sad Songs

This is another "Happy Sad Song" from The Gregory Brothers on YouTube. This video has a reference to Disney, which is relevant to the students, and it provides another nice comparison between major and minor keys in music.

Introduction to Chords

This is the lesson on chords. I love the layout of this website. I love how the content is broken up into slide format, rather than put in large paragraph chunks of text. This clearly explains major and minor chords with both the staff and the keyboard. The only downside is that the teacher cannot limit the amount of information presented, so students may wander into Augmented or Diminished chords and get confused. Nevertheless, this is a great resource.

The Difference between Major and Minor | Bass Scales | StudyBass

How major and minor scales and chords differ.

This website teaches about major and minor scales from the perspective of a guitar. It provides an alternative approach to an important topic. It also has images of the frets and audio demonstrations, which is interesting! This can help develop students' ear and expose them to instruments other than the piano.

The Science Of Music - Why Do Songs In A Minor Key Sound Sad? | NME.COM

The latest music, band and film blogs from the NME.COM team

This is an interesting article on the science of major=happy and minor=sad. It was written from a popular music perspective, but it can be applied to all music. It suggests that much of this correlation is cultural and that other influences affect our emotions as well, such as tempo. I think this could be a good read for students because it contains bands that the students can relate to, relevant YouTube links, and is an all-around interesting read on the subject.