[THEORY] Triads Home › Forums › Community Forum › [THEORY] Triads Tagged: music theory, triads This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Andrei Moraru 7 months ago. Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total) Author Posts November 11, 2018 at 1:20 am #180899 Andrei MoraruParticipant Hello one and all and welcome to our newest installment in the music theory series. Today we discuss triads. In music, a triad is a group of 3 notes, played at the same time. Of particular interest to us though are the triads formed by having 3 notes, each separated from the previous one by a third. More often than not, when referring to triads, musicians think of the following four types: major triad – a triad consisting of a major and minor thirds minor triad – a triad consisting of a minor and major thirds augmented triad – a triad consisting of two major thirds diminished triad – a triad consisting of two minor thirds Musicians will also use the term chord to describe a triad, especially when playing the piano. This is caused by the fact that in order to play a chord on an instrument, you require at least 3 notes. A triad fits the bill for that. The easiest way to construct a major triad is to stack the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of a major scale on top of each other. In the case of your beloved C major scale, the major triad for that is C-E-G. As you can see, we have a major third between C and E and a minor third between E and G. In order to obtain the other triad variants, all we have to do is apply some accidentals. For example, if we flatten the E note, we get C-E flat-G, which is a C minor triad. Now, if we sharpen the G note, we get C-E-G#, which is a C augmented triad. And finally, if we flatten both E and G, we get C-E flat-G flat, which is a C diminished triad. Why are triads important you ask? Well, because on any instrument, they are the basis for playing chords, be it major/minor/augmented/diminished or more advanced ones like seventh, 9th etc. That about covers it for this post. Previous posts: Notes, pitches, semitones and octaves Accidentals and enharmonic-notes Musical Intervals 4 likes November 11, 2018 at 1:30 am #180900 Dominik GräberParticipant Hey, thanks for sharing your knowledge! One question though, you said “…in order to play a chord on an instrument, you require at least 3 notes.” But I thought we can play a power chord out of two notes to which we still refer as a chord or am I missing something? 1 person likes this November 11, 2018 at 2:02 am #180901 Andrei MoraruParticipant Huh…interesting point you’ve made there. And technically correct, you can play a power chord by using only two notes. I cannot edit my first post, so I’ll just say it here: the rules above (3 notes per chord) apply to the major/minor/augmented and diminished chords only, with regards to this post anyway. I’m so used to playing power chords by using all 3 notes that I forgot about that little variation that you have mentioned, though it’s very guitar specific. 1 person likes this November 11, 2018 at 11:47 am #180906 Ekrem Taha ÜnlüParticipant Thanks for sharing your knowledge! That’s so nice! 0 likes November 11, 2018 at 12:29 pm #180911 Jak AngelescuParticipant Dominik and Andrei, You both are correct. A powerchord is technically called a chord even though it only has two notes. HOWEVER, it cannot have a proper name because it’s only two notes. That’s where the confusion comes in. Powerchords are VERY ambiguous. Let’s take the chord of A minor for example and I’ll show you what I mean. If you play an A minor power chord in the open position, you only play A (open) and E (D string 2nd fret). HOWEVER, an A Major chord ALSO has this. It consists of A and E as well. So if you were to play an A minor power chord (or even an A major powerchord) there’s no distinguishable 3rd note to say “Yes, this IS an A MINOR chord” or “This is an A MAJOR chord.” That third note is truly what gives a chord it’s name. So to make Andrei’s point valid, we should conclude that you CAN have only two notes to make a chord, however, because of ambiguity and for clarification purposes to actually give the chord a name and a tone/harmony value, we need that third note. Example: Am notes are: A-C-E Amaj notes are: A-C#-E As you can see, BOTH chords have A and E in them. It’s that C or C# that really differentiates between a minor chord and a major chord. So technically speaking, yes, a chord DOES need to have three notes in order to have a clear tone value. But you can have only two notes to make a chord, but chord will be ambiguous with no actual set tone value. I hope this makes sense! 🙂 2 likes November 11, 2018 at 1:04 pm #180916 Dominik GräberParticipant great explanation, thanks Jak! You explained something technical that way so even I can understand it 😀 0 likes November 12, 2018 at 2:39 am #180936 Andrei MoraruParticipant Jak put it best 🙂 . In the words of Terry Jeffords from the 99 though: “Power Chords are dumb”. The idea is that when you’re playing a power chords you’re basically playing a fifth on which you can add the octave of the root note. Thus, as Jak said, said power chord doesn’t really have a quality associated to it (major, minor, augmented or diminished). 0 likes Author Posts Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total) You must be logged in to reply to this topic.