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h augmentedTriads are the simplest of all chords. To create a chord you need two intervals. A triad, as its name indicates it, contains three tones. Basic triads contain two thirds. The positions and dimensions of these thirds determine the triads. Like in the case of scales, the basic triads are the major and the minor triad.

Major triads are built of a major third and a following minor third. Interval name is determined by the distance of its first tone to the first degree of a scale. A similar rule applies to triads that are constructed upon the 1st, 3rd and 5th degree of a scale. The name depends on scale type.

maj = M3 + m3

scale to major triad D   triad D
scale to major triad B   triad B

Minor triad's construction is an inversion of major triad: minor third plus major third. Minor triad is constructed upon the 1st, the 3rd and the 5th degree of a minor scale.

 min = m3 + M3

scale to minor triad d   dminor
scale to minor triad b   hminor

There are two more triads that are made from thirds: diminished and augmented triad.

Augmented triad contains two major thirds, thus it is based upon major scale with raised 5th degree (marked red). The symbol of augmented triad is a "+" sign.

+ = M3+M3

d augmented        
h augmented

Diminished triad consists of three minor thirds, as it is based on a minor scale with a lowered 5th degree. Its symbol is a "o" sign. 

o = m3+m3

d diminished      
h diminished

Now you will know the basic four musical triads. Of course every triad can be constructed upon any tone. Triads constitute a basis for all other chords, so it is worth to "befriend" them. Please visit the Chords section to try our Chord Recognition exercise - you can select triads you want to train yourself in, e.g. major and minor third, and get to know them better! Good luck!





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