What Are Triads?

a major scale chords

Chords composed from major scale degrees will typically produce a joyful tone while chords constructed using minor scale degrees will have a more melancholic sound; the intervals for these harmonies will depend on which key you’re playing in.

Luckily, chords constructed using these scale degrees are very prevalent and used in numerous pop songs!


Triad chords, the most prevalent type of chord in modern music, contain three distinctive pitches. As an essential tool in the musician’s toolbox, triads play an indispensable role. Also referred to as major or minor chords, triads form the building blocks of any form of music.

To create a triad, start by placing the root note (G, for instance) in the first blank of a major scale (G for instance) and fill in all other notes to complete it as a chord. Repeat this process with all remaining blanks on the scale for additional triads to build upon each of them.

Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of triads, it’s time to move on to more advanced chords. For this step, it is essential that you understand intervals within triads; their intervals determine their sound and quality – it is therefore vital that one understands these changes across keys.

Triads can be divided into categories based on their interval qualities. For instance, minor triads consist of a minor third and flat fifth while major ones feature an even fourth interval quality. This allows musicians to identify triads in any key easily while duplications of chords may cause gaps to shift and cause unnecessary confusion; so ideally practice identifying them without duplicating chords!

Chord symbols play an integral part in triad identification. While all triads have distinctive qualities corresponding to each scale degree, and those built on the first, second, third or seventh scale degrees are major while those constructed between fourth and seventh degrees can be minor; to easily recognize triads use capital letters with either an overscript circle (o) or plus sign (+).

Listening is the key to understanding triads, so use this website’s training environment to listen to each major and minor triad in different keys, paying close attention to any differences you detect between each example – if you can’t tell which is which, repeat until it comes more easily to you.

Triad progressions

Triads form the core of chord progressions. Composed of three notes stacked in thirds from a root note, they can vary between major, minor, diminished, and augmented depending on the quality of their intervals – which correspond to those found in scales and are known as chord tones. Root, third, and fifth tones make up its quality – perfect fifth indicates major while diminished fifth implies minor chord. Triads can also be inverted so that third and fifth notes switch positions to achieve inverted chords; see further details here

When inverting a chord, its root remains in the bass while either its third or fifth is moved up an octave to produce an entirely new harmony that closely resembles its original chord – with chord tones remaining the same, sharing interval qualities similar to before; for instance a C major triad could become D major by moving its third up an octave and replacing it with a sixth.

Apart from triads, other chords that can be constructed using the same set of pitches include augmented chords and minor seventh chords – two common choices in classical music.

Making chords from the major scale is an integral component of learning guitar. Doing this will enable you to understand chord progressions, transpose them to other keys, and develop your ear as a musician. Triads constructed on this scale contain one root note from every triad.

To create a triad, begin by drawing its root on the staff. Add notes a third and fifth above this root (like building a snowperson). Next, apply any accidentals from its key signature to its chord notes.

Enharmonic equivalence can help you recast a triad. For instance, if it’s in F major, using substitution to transform it to Bb major may suffice. You could also apply it when building one in another key such as G major by applying this same process of substitution.

Triad inversions

Triad inversions are different ways that chords can be played, which alter its overall sound and the way it moves across a fretboard. Each type of triad has its own set of inversions which can be performed in various keys; for instance, C major triads may be played in root position, first inversion, or third inversion, each offering distinct sounds and benefits; these variations depend on which note serves as bass note vs tonic note; for instance C major can either be played as C – E – G or as C – F – A, wherein F becomes the tonic while A becomes bass note vs E or G as opposed to C E G + G + A + C as both can work effectively as C major chords have no equivalents due to chord modalities used within different keys;

Arguing diminished and augmenting major triad inversions is also possible, although less frequently seen. Because they only affect a handful of notes at any one time, these inversions do not play as big of a role as major and minor triad inversions do. Triads should generally be played with their tonic position being their lowest note, however you can play other arrangements too.

When a triad is in its tonic or root position, it is considered in its natural form. This form is the most frequent one found in music books, and sounds good while feeling right.

Inversions of triads can help create new types of chords and add variety to your playing. For instance, a triad can be inverted to become either a dominant seventh chord or even an entire ninth chord – adding this variation changes its sound and adds another level of interest.

Inversions are determined by the intervals between tones in a chord. For instance, a major triad can be inverted by adding an additional sixth interval on top – often written as Csus2 or Csus4. Other intervals can also be added onto a triad to create various types of chords.

Triad extensions

Triad extensions are notes added to triads in order to form larger chord structures. Known commonly as chord tones or sometimes called tetrads or pentads depending on how many notes they contain, triad extensions can enhance triads or create other types of chords such as augmented and diminished ones; or they can simply add harmonic tension and create fuller sounding chords.

Triad extensions can be added to any type of chord, both major and minor. Some examples of such extensions are the ninth and eleventh notes which can be layered over seventh chords for an intriguing soundscape. It is essential that these extensions be played at a distance sufficient from their base triad in order to avoid dissonance.

The thirteenth is another popular chord extension that adds an interval of six. While this note can be added to any triad chord, seventh chords often benefit most from having its sound enhanced with this addition. These extensions may take many different forms; C13 or C#9 for example would both serve as effective ways of writing them out.

Another option for adding second notes to a chord is raising it by an octave, known as suspended chords or Csus or C7#2 chords. A suspension occurs when the third of a chord is replaced with one above it – in this case by adding fourth above.

Beyond adding triad extensions, it is also beneficial to understand how a chord progression works. This will enable you to select which triad should come first and determine how it should interact with other triads; additionally, stacking will affect the sound of your progression.

Chord extensions can often be confusing for students as their appearance varies based on the chord you are playing. A student might assume that major chords should have major extensions while minor ones would have minor extensions; but in reality these extensions always derived from major scale – regardless of if you are playing an M7 chord, Gmaj9 chord, or V7 chord.