Friday, July 11, 2014

G Major/Minor

G is the fifth chord in the C major scale, so I'm almost there. After B, I'll start with all the flats/sharps.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'I'm Sorry' by The Payolas has bright chords yet talks about a sellout musician. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.


The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Colour: Golden Brown, but a deeper, warmer tone than F minor. The colour of mashed turnips.
Light: Dimmer, autumn light, later in the year, late in the afternoon.
Spatial Direction: East
Texture: Syrupy
Gender: Masculine

I unfortunately mixed the episode of G major in the Signature Series with F major yesterday. G major is referred to as the "trusty sidekick" - exactly how I described it in the F major article. I probably missed the F major episode altogether and saw the title as referring to the same thing.

G major is comfortable. He's always been laid back, easy-going, and kind. Though D major would have a great relationship with A major, she'd get along equally as well with G major. I tend to picture a grandfatherly man who has young grandchildren and a nice house full of big rooms and adventure for the children. He's wise and down to earth, in a way that C, F and A major would be, but not necessarily always. He's the mediator, the level-headed reasonable person. I'd put my own paternal grandfather in this chord, especially with his past career as a diplomat, which fits the 'man of reason' and gentle kindness perfectly. G major makes me actually think of Thanksgiving with its colour, the autumn, the late afternoon sunshine, the colourful trees and the food you'd find at a Thanksgiving dinner, like pumpkin pie and turnips, etc. The pie and the turnips really form the colour of the major chord for me. I don't really find a lot of pop music begins (from the beginning) on G major, though the chorus of 'Not Home Today' by Madness relies on that chord as well as a sustained second version of it on the piano. G major is played and sustained on the guitar during the chorus of 'Echo Beach' by Martha and the Muffins (before up-stroking twice on D major). The chorus of 'Major Tom' by Peter Schilling (not David Bowie) begins on G major (and goes to D also). All of the choruses I've just mentioned go from G to D. D major is the dominant chord in relation to G major - the chord itself consists of G, B and D, D being the final and fifth note away from G, so its contributing pitch to the chord is the dominant one as it's five steps above - so it makes sense that these choruses would go from the root to the dominant chord. G major is just kind and comfortable and easy to get along with.


Colour: Traffic light yellow
Light: Afternoon, shone on from the right in front.
Spatial Direction: South East (I look at it more as west though, hence the light from the right)
Texture: None
Gender: Masculine

The Signature Series listed this as 'The Contrarian,' someone who was always on hard times. G minor was actually the very first episode I listened to. Struggles along.

This is more like the guy who does not like goodbyes. He's melancholy in his yearning for people he doesn't see. He also has a self-fulfilling prophecy problem, wherein he worries until the source of those worries comes to pass, and then he accepts that while feeling sad that his old friend moved away. He lives in the past a lot, remembering good times with people, and that makes it hard for him to move on. G minor has similarity in sound and colour to F minor, but brighter, so that while he's a similar colour, I see him in a southeast direction when not applying context to him, which I tend to do. Usually I think of 'Misunderstanding' by Genesis when I think of this chord, as it immediately follows A minor, giving me that west direction and traffic light yellow. Otherwise it also features (in its proper melancholic context) in 'Our House' by Madness, the second chord played after C major in the verses, and the final chord played in the Dm-Amin-Emin-Gmin chorus. You can really hear its forlorn sadness there, because it sounds reminiscing of the past. I can't really think of anyone I ever knew or know that was like that other than students in my classes during high school that didn't do the work, worried about it, and still didn't do it, and failed. But think of those fictional characters on television who show up in one episode as an "old high school friend" or "old college roommate" of the main character. Those one-off characters stereotypically spend the episode reminiscing or playing childish jokes on the main character, having never grown up or moved on from those fun times. Then it turns out that they are simply melancholy and sad that the best days are over. There's your G minor.

Root Note

I stopped referring to the root note in my other articles because it largely gives me similar attributes (trimmed down) of the major chord, but I want to mention it here as a low-end version. What I mean is that I'm talking about these chords as they are played just to the right of Middle C (or Middle C in C major/minor's case) so in the middle of the piano, not high up or low down. Obviously every colour and usually texture changes as you play A C or a D or whatever an octave higher, or two octaves higher or lower. I wanted to outline that G as a note on its own, and lower (like on a bass) really shines out the 'down-to-earth' trait. It's super reasonable and level-headed. It's the most objective personality in the room. I first noted that when I heard it played low in 'Where's the Love' by Hanson (one song that does start on G, usually higher on the bass, but now and then during the song, quite low).

Looking forward to doing A major/minor. I've already talked about it a little in the past so it should be interesting to delve deeper.

Red Cloud

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