Learning Triad Structures

Learning triad structures will give you a foundation for building all types of chords in music. Traditionally there are four main Triads: Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished. In each case, you have three notes per chords which are always the Root, Third and Fifth.

A Major Triad Chord on Staff

The Major triad has a Major Third interval between the root and third and a minor third interval between the third and fifth. Try starting from every note and go up a major third and then a minor third from that note to identify the notes in the triad. This is the brightest or "happiest" sounding chord in music. It is also very powerful. A strong Major triad played loudly can cause quite a vibration like in the case of organ or orchestral music.

A Minor Triad Chord on Staff

The Minor triad is structured as a Minor Third interval between the root and third and a Major Third interval between the third and fifth. The only difference between the Major and Minor Triads is the Third of the chord is flat. Practice changing between major and minor chords, for example, D Major to D Minor, and try soloing along as well.

Go to Guitar Chords from Learning Triad Structures

A Augmented Triad Chord on Staff

The Augmented triad has a Major Third interval between the root and third and a Major Third interval between the third and fifth. In this case you have two major third intervals stacked on each other. It's amazing how dissonant the chord sounds considering it consists of major thirds. The odd part of the chord is the sharped fifth scale degree.

A Diminished Triad Chord on Staff

The Diminished triad has a Minor Third interval between the root and third and a Minor Third interval between the third and fifth. This chord is fundamentally a VII chord which is essentially the same as a V7 chord with no root. Start on the note B on the keyboard and play every other note (root, third and fifth) in white keys. You will see that the naturally occurring B chord in the key of C is diminished. The diminished as well as augmented chords are known as symmetrical chords since they consist of like intervals that repeat every octave.