Chords and Triads

Structure and Quality



Chords and Triads: In music, a CHORD is generally thought of as a simultaneous combination of notes.

"A chord in music is any set of notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords..." (From Wikipedia)

Translation:

chord broken & block

The first measure in the above example is a BROKEN CHORD or ARPEGGIO (Fmaj7). The second measure is the same chord, but in this case it is a BLOCK CHORD - the notes are played simultaneously.


Triads

A TRIAD is one of the most basic types of chords. A triad is a 3 note chord containing a root, third and a fifth. Here is an example:

triad broken & block

Basic chords and triads can be expanded and presented in many different ways.

These pages have detailed information on many common variants, extensions and types of chords:

all 7th chords - chord inversions - sus chords

extended chords - diatonic triads - diatonic 7th chords

primary chords - secondary chords - secondary dominants


Chords and triads can be either MAJOR, MINOR, AUGMENTED or DIMINISHED. The quality is determined by the size of the 3rd and 5th.

  • maj triad = root - M3 - P5
  • min triad = root - m3 - P5
  • aug triad = root - M3 - aug5
  • dim triad = root - m3 - dim5

If learning chords is either new, or unclear, go here for a review of intervals. Understanding intervals is vital to knowing and understanding chords.

Now we move on to MAJOR, MINOR, AUGMENTED and DIMINISHED chords.


Major Chords

A major triad has a major 3rd and a perfect 5th.

broken7 block major triad

Here are examples of some major chords. Each one has a major third and a perfect fifth. These examples use block chords.

major chords

Minor Chords

A minor triad has a minor 3rd and a perfect 5th.

broken & block minortriad

Here are examples of some minor chords. Each one has a minor third and a perfect fifth. These examples use broken chords.

minor chords

Diminished Chords

A diminished triad has a minor 3rd and a diminished 5th.

dim triad

Here are examples of some diminished chords. Each one has a minor third and a diminished fifth. These examples use broken and block chords.

dim chords

Augmented Chords

An augmented triad has a major 3rd and an augmented 5th.

broken & block aug

Here are examples of some augmented chords. Each one has a major third and an augmented fifth. These examples use broken and block chords.

aug chords

7th chords - chord inversions - sus chords

extended chords - diatonic triads - diatonic 7th chords

primary chords - secondary chords - secondary dominants


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