Subject: Triads/ Intervals

Triads: What are they?

2600 years ago in Greece, Pythagoras was contributing to the organization of western music by creating the Diatonic Major Scale [DMS] formula: do re mi fa sa lo ti do. 100 years later, thousands of years of improvisation were being organized in East India as well: sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa. The DMS formula is a law. We can depend on it. And its exploration is infinite!

Formula: whole step=1 tone= 2 frets

.............half step=semi tone= 1 fret

whole....whole.....half...whole..whole..whole...ha lf

do........re........mi......fa......so........la.. ......ti......do

1..........2.........3........4.......5.........6. .......7......1

The scale above represents 1 octave. Triads can be created by harmonizing any member of the scale in thirds: notes which are either 1 1/2 steps apart from each other {minor], or 2 steps apart from each other {major}.

Substitute D for the 1 in the scale above and extrapolate the formula. What do you get?

D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D

1-2-3---4-5-6-7---1

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So if we 'harmonize' any of these scale members by

leaping in 3rds, which is to say: take a note and add not the adjacent note, but the one after [not a step away but a leap of a 3rd away... [either minor: 1 1/2 steps or major: 2 steps]... then you will have created triads for each member of the scale. This is referred to as Diatonic Harmony. It's a law. We can depend on it.

Triads for the key of D Major:

D maj E min F# min G maj A maj B min [C# dim]

The triad constructed using the 7th degree of the scale, the 'ti', in this instance C# is referred to as a diminished triad.

{Note: Root and 1 are two names for the same thing}. See below:

A major triad will have the root of the chord, which is R, the major 3rd which is 2 steps above the R, and a perfect 5th which is 1 1/2 steps above the 3rd or 3 1/2 steps above the R.

Example: G major triad= GBD {R35 or 135}. G is the root {or name of the chord}. B is 2 steps above G, and D is 1 1/2 steps above B or 3 1/2 steps above G.

A minor triad will have the root of the chord which is R, the minor 3rd which is 1 1/2 steps above the R, and a perfect 5th which is 2 steps above the minor 3rd or 3 1/2 steps above the R.

Example: A minor triad=ACE {Rb35 or 1b35}. A is the root. C is 1 1/2 steps above A, and E is 2 steps above E or 3 1/2 steps above the A.

A diminished triad will have the root of the chord which is R, the minor 3rd which is 1 1/2 steps above the R, and a flattened or diminished 5th which is 1 1/2 steps above the minor 3rd or 3 steps above the R.

Example: C diminished =CEbGb {Rb3b5 or 1b3b5}. C is the R. Eb is 1 1/2 steps above C, and Gb is 1 1/2 steps above Eb or 3 steps above C.

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Take a look at the chords that you play, right now, everyday in your songs: Name them: G Ami F7 etc. Then write the notes starting with the lowest note. You will need to locate and call the note.

Below are how intervals are called chromatically. Use this as a reference. You can test yourself by playing an interval of 2 notes and studying the distance as well as the name of that interval. The terms Minor, Major, Perfect, Augmented, and Diminished are the standard names for these intervals.

Intervals= Measured distance between 2 notes

Unison {same notes} Zero

Minor 2nd {b2} 1/2 step

Major 2nd 1 step

Augmented 2nd/Minor 3rd {#2/b3} 1 1/2 steps

Major 3rd 2 steps

Perfect 4th 2 1/2 steps

Augmented 4th/diminished 5th {#4/b5} 3 steps

Perfect 5th 3 1/2 steps

Augmented 5th/Minor 6th {#5/b6} 4 steps

Major 6th 4 1/2 steps

Minor 7th {b7} 5 steps

Major 7th 5 1/2 steps

Octave 6 steps

Minor 9th {b9} 6 1/2 steps

Major 9th 7 steps

Augmented 9th {#9} 7 1/2 steps Major 10th 8 steps

Perfect 11th 8 1/2 steps Augmented 11th 9 steps

Perfect 12th 9 1/2 steps Minor 13th 10 steps

Major 13th 10 1/2 steps

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Question! What are the following triads? They might be major or minor. We'll leave out diminished for the time being. They might not be in root position and the voicings may be closed or open. In other words the notes may appear in there natural sequence in the scale [closed voicing], or they may be spread out [open voicing]. In other words:

Root position: R35 R53

Ist inversion: 35R 3R5

2nd inversion: 5R3 53R

Example:

CEG.....C major {R35} Root position/closed voicing.

DAF#...D major {R53} Root position/open voicing.

BbDG...G minor {b35R} 1st inversion/closed voicing.

AF#C#..F#minor {b3R5} 1st inversion/open voicing.

CFA.....F major {5R3} 2nd inversion/closed voicing.

ECA.....A minor {5b3R} 2nd inversion/open voicing.

Name the following and the order in which the intervals appear. What positon are they in: Root, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, open voicing, closed voicing?

GDB

DBbF

G#EB

F#AD

AF#C#

A#C#F#

EBG

GBbD

AbCF

C#EA

F#DB

EbCAb

EGC

FDA

FCA

MM

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