• Bored With Those Triads? Upgrade Them With These Whole-step And Half-Step “Prefixes” (TOP SECRET)

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    If you’re interested in upgrading those triads with whole-step and half-step prefixes ,this lesson is for you.

    This approach is actually a top secret that a lot of top and advanced players know but don’t care to share because it’s actually a trick that can help you shortcut your way to any seventh chord using the four main triads — major triad, minor triad, diminished triad, and augmented triad.

    But I’m going to show you how this works for free and that’s because I am so much interested in your growth as a musician and most importantly, I want to be a part of your success story as a musician.

    A Quick Review On The Four Main Triads

    Triads are three-toned chords consisting of a root note, a third, and a fifth.

    Using the C major scale:

    …if we assign the root to C:

    …the third and fifth tones of the C major scale would be E and G (respectively):

    So, when the notes “C-E-G”:

    …are played (or heard) together, that’s a triad.

    Attention: You can also call a triad a chord because all triads are chords but NOT all chords are triads. Any chord that has more than three notes is NOT a triad.

    A Short Note On The Major Triad

    The first, third, and fifth tones of the major scale, when played or heard together, produces the major triad and just like the just learned a few moments ago, the first, third, and fifth tones of the C major scale:

    …which are C, E, and G:

    …produces the C major triad.

    Submission: There are so many other ways to define and form the major triad and they vary from simple to advanced. But we’re going with this simple and easy way.

    A Short Note On The Minor Triad

    The minor triad is a three-toned chord built off the minor scale.

    Playing the first, third, and fifth tones of the minor scale produces the minor triad and if we use the C minor scale (as our reference):

    …the first, third, and fifth tones would be “C-Eb-G”:

    …and that’s the C minor triad.

    A Short Note On The Augmented Triad

    If you already know your major triad, you can form the augmented triad by raising the fifth tone of the major chord by a half-step.

    So, if you want to form the C augmented triad, you’ll use the C major triad as your template, and then you raise its fifth tone (which is G):

    …by a half-step (to G#):

    …and you’ll have the C augmented triad:

    …consisting of C, E, and G#.

    A Short Note On The Diminished Triad

    The formation of the C diminished triad can be associated with the C minor triad:

    So, if you know your C minor triad, you can easily form the C diminished triad.

    “Here’s What To Do…”

    Lower the fifth tone of the C minor triad:

    …which is G:

    …by a half-step (to Gb):

    …and you’ll have “C-Eb-Gb”:

    …and that’s the C diminished triad.

    Summary

    So, here are the four main triads (starting from C):

    C major:

    C minor:

    C augmented:

    C diminished:

    Now that we’re done reviewing them, let’s learn how they can be enhanced using whole-step and half-step prefixes.

    Prefixes: Whole-step Vs Half-step

    I know I’m no expert in the study of English language but I know that a prefix is added before a word to slightly alter its meaning.

    For example, the prefix “un” can be added to a variety of words like:

    do

    follow

    learn

    …etc., to form words like:

    undo

    unfollow

    unlearn

    I’m going to show you prefixes that you can add to the triads you are already familiar with to enhance them.

    The Whole-Step Prefix

    The whole-step prefix is a note that is a whole-step below the root of a given triad.

    For example, if you’re given the C major triad:

    …a whole-step prefix would be a note that is a whole-step below C:

    …and that’s Bb:

    So, adding the whole-step prefix (Bb):

    …to the C major chord:

    …produces the C dominant seventh chord:

    “Here’s The Whole-Step Prefix Combination With The Four Triad Types…”

    1. The Dominant Seventh Chord

    Playing the major triad with a whole-step prefix produces the dominant seventh chord. The C major triad:

    …with the whole-step prefix (Bb):

    …produces the C dominant seventh chord:

    2. The Minor Seventh Chord

    When the minor triad is played with the whole-step prefix, this produces the minor seventh chord. The C minor triad:

    …with the whole-step prefix (Bb):

    …produces the C minor seventh chord:

    3. The Augmented Seventh Chord

    Playing the augmented triad with a whole-step prefix produces the augmented seventh chord. The C augmented triad:

    …with the whole-step prefix (Bb):

    …produces the C augmented seventh chord:

    …which is rarely played but an amazing altered dominant chord.

    4. The Half-diminished Seventh Chord

    When the diminished triad is played with the whole-step prefix, this produces the half-diminished seventh chord. The C diminished triad:

    …with the whole-step prefix (Bb):

    …produces the C half-diminished seventh chord:

    The Half-Step Prefix

    So, what is a half-step prefix?

    The half-step prefix is a note that is a half-step below the root of a given triad.

    If you’re given the C major triad:

    …and you go ahead and add a half-step prefix; that would be a note that is a half-step below C:

    …and that’s B:

    Therefore, adding the half-step prefix (B):

    …to the C major chord:

    …produces the C major seventh chord:

    “Here’s The Half-Step Prefix Combination With The Four Triad Types…”

    1. The Major Seventh Chord

    Playing the major triad with a half-step prefix produces the major seventh chord. The C major triad:

    …with the half-step prefix (B):

    …produces the C major seventh chord:

    2. The Minor Major Seventh Chord

    When the minor triad is played with the half-step prefix, this produces the minor major seventh chord. The C minor triad:

    …with the half-step prefix (B):

    …produces the C minor major seventh chord:

    3. The Augmented Major Seventh Chord

    Playing the augmented triad with a half-step prefix produces the augmented major seventh chord. The C augmented triad:

    …with the half-step prefix (B):

    …produces the C augmented major seventh chord:

    4. The Diminished Major Seventh Chord

    When the diminished triad is played with the half-step prefix, this produces the diminished major seventh chord. The C diminished triad:

    …with the half-step prefix (B):

    …produces the C diminished major seventh chord:

    Final Words

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll be narrowing these chords down to a few of them that are relevant to the major key (aka – “diatonic chords”) and you’ll be able to understand how chords with whole-step and half-step prefixes can be applied in the major key.

    Until then, keep practicing what we’ve covered so far in all the keys.

    I want to specially appreciate our founder and president, Jermaine Griggs for the opportunity given to me to share these tricks with you. I don’t take it for granted.

    See you in the next lesson.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Alan Sloane

    Thanks again for sharing this very valuable lesson.

    Reply

    2 click on here

    In my opinion, the issues you raise are still some unclear. I hope in the near future to read more articles from you

    Reply

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