• Quartal Triad Types Every Serious Keyboardist Must Not Be Without

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Gospel music,Jazz music,Piano,Theory

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    You arrived this page because you’re interested in learning essential quartal triad types.

    It’s no longer news that quartal triads are used in contemporary music. Jazz and gospel musicians have long embraced quartal chords (in fourth intervals) and also experimented with various quartal triads as well.

    In this lesson, we’ll be focusing on some of the quartal triads that every serious keyboardist must be acquainted with.

    Suggested Reading: FAQ: What Are Quartal Triads?

    Quartal Triad Types Every Serious Keyboardist Must Not Be Without

    Quartal triads are not limited to the three of these we’re focusing on:

    The 7sus4 Chord

    The 7sus#4 Chord

    The Major7sus#4 Chord

    …because they are commonly used in gospel and jazz styles.

    Check them out!

    The 7sus4 Triad

    The dominant seventh [suspended fourth] chord is commonly written as the 7sus4 chord, consisting of two consecutive perfect fourth intervals.

    Starting from C:

    …the 7sus4 chord can be formed by stacking two perfect fourth intervals.

    A perfect fourth from C:

    …is F:

    Then a perfect fourth from C-F:

    …is Bb:

    Altogether, C-F-Bb:

    …is the C 7sus4 chord.

    “Let Me Tell You Why It’s Called A 7sus4 Chord…”

    If you’re very familiar with dominant seventh chords, then you should know the C dominant seventh chord:

    Raising the third tone of the C dominant seventh chord (which is E):

    …by a half-step (to F):

    …produces the C dominant seventh [suspended fourth] chord:

    The distinction between the C7sus4 chord (quartal triad):

    …and the C dominant seventh [suspended fourth] chord:

    …is that the former is TRIAD and the latter is NOT.

    However, in terms of structure and function, both chords are closely related.

    “Here Are All The 7sus4 Triads On The Keyboard”

    C 7sus4 triad:

    Db 7sus4 triad:

    D 7sus4 triad:

    Eb 7sus4 triad:

    E 7sus4 triad:

    F 7sus4 triad:

    F# 7sus4 triad:

    G 7sus4 triad:

    Ab 7sus4 triad:

    A 7sus4 triad:

    Bb 7sus4 triad:

    B 7sus4 triad:

    The 7sus#4 Triad

    Raising the fourth tone of the 7sus4 chord produces the 7sus#4 chord. In the C 7sus4 triad:

    …raising the fourth tone (which is F):

    …by a half-step (to F#):

    …produces the C 7sus#4 triad:

    Attention: Always remember that the fourth tone of the 7sus#4 triad is raised.

    A closer look at the 7sus#4 triad (the C 7sus#4 triad for example):

    …shows two fourth interval types:

    C-F#:

    …an augmented fourth interval.

    F#-Bb:

    …a diminished fourth interval.

    Submission: The augmented and diminished fourth intervals are two dissonant fourth intervals. Dissonant intervals are known for their unpleasant sounds, consequently, the 7sus#4 triad sounds dissonant.

    “Here Are All The 7sus#4 Triads On The Keyboard”

    C 7sus#4 triad:

    Db 7sus#4 triad:

    D 7sus#4 triad:

    Eb 7sus#4 triad:

    E 7sus#4 triad:

    F 7sus#4 triad:

    F# 7sus#4 triad:

    G 7sus#4 triad:

    Ab 7sus#4 triad:

    A 7sus#4 triad:

    Bb 7sus#4 triad:

    B 7sus#4 triad:

    The Major7sus#4 Triad

    Raising the seventh tone of the 7sus#4 triad produces the major7sus#4 triad. The seventh tone of the C 7sus#4 triad:

    …is Bb:

    Raising Bb:

    …by a half-step (to B):

    …produces the C major7sus#4 triad:

    From the term “major7sus#4 ” we have the major seventh interval and the suspended sharp fourth. Therefore, the C major7sus#4 triad:

    …can also be considered as a C major seventh interval (C-B):

    …with a raised fourth tone (F#):

    “What Fourth Intervals Is The Major7sus#4 Triad Made Up Of?”

    Using the C major7sus#4 triad (as a reference):

    …the major7sus#4 triad can be broken down into the following fourth intervals:

    C to F#:

    …is an augmented fourth interval (aka – “the tritone”.)

    F# to B:

    …is a perfect fourth interval.

    Attention: Due to the fact that the major7sus#4 triad consists of a tritone, it has a degree of unpleasantness when heard.

    “Here Are All The Major7sus#4 Triads On The Keyboard”


    C Maj7sus#4 triad:

    Db Maj7sus#4 triad:

    D Maj7sus#4 triad:

    Eb Maj7sus#4 triad:

    E Maj7sus#4 triad:

    F Maj7sus#4 triad:

    F# Maj7sus#4 triad:

    G Maj7sus#4 triad:

    Ab Maj7sus#4 triad:

    A Maj7sus#4 triad:

    Bb Maj7sus#4 triad:

    B Maj7sus#4 triad:

    Final Words

    I’m certain you’ve learned all the essential quartal triads on the keyboard. We’ll end here today so you can learn how to play these quartal triads – 36 of them – with absolute ease.

    See you in the next lesson where we’ll be applying them in gospel and jazz music.

    All the best!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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