To put it concisely, both relative and counter parallel chords are those that have a strong connection to the main chord. For example, considering the Cmaj7 chord, its relative chord is Am7, and the counter parallel chord is Em7. Why?

Let’s see:

• Cmaj7 chord notes: C, E, G, B
• Am7 chord notes: A, C, E, G
• Em7 chord notes: E, G, B, D

Notice that the Am7 chord has 3 notes in common with the Cmaj7 chord (the C, E, G notes), and the Em7 chord also has 3 notes in common with the Cmaj7 chord (the E, G and B notes). Therefore, both the Am7 chord and the Em7 chord have a close relationship with the Cmaj7 chord, differing by only one note.

## Findind the relative and counter parallel of a major chord:

As a rule, the relative and counter parallel chords of a major chord will always be minor, and to find them just do the following:

• The relative minor chord will always be two degrees behind
• The counter parallel chord will always be two degrees forward

Example in the key of C, using the Cmaj7 chord as a reference:

Am7 – Bm7(b5) – Cmaj7 – Dm7 – Em7

Notice that two degrees in front of Cmaj7 is Em7, and two degrees behind Cmaj7 is Am7.

If we used another major chord as a reference within that key, for example, the Fmaj7 chord, we would apply the same rule:

Dm7 – Em7 – Fmaj7 – G7 – Am7

We see that the relative chord is Dm7 and the counter parallel is Am7.

## Findind the relative and counter parallel of a minor chord:

The logic in this case is very similar to the previous case, except that everything will be the other way around. As a rule, the relative and counter parallel chords of a minor chord will always be major, and to find them just do the following:

• The major relative chord will always be two degrees forward
• The counter parallel chord will always be two degrees behind

Example in the major key of C, using the Am7 chord as a reference:

Fmaj7 – G7 – Am7 – Bm7(b5) – Cmaj7

Notice that two degrees in front of Am7 is Cmaj7, and that two degrees behind Am7 is Fmaj7. That is, the relative major chord of Am7 is Cmaj7, and the counter parallel chord of Am7 is Fmaj7.

In the study of harmonic functions, you may notice that the relative and counter parallel of strong function chords result in medium-strong or weak function chords. And you will also discover that the IIIm7 chord can be considered both of weak tonic function and of weak dominant function, after all it is relative to V7 and counter parallel to Imaj7.

Go to: Greek Modes

Back to: Module 5