• Dear Musician, Have You Upgraded Those Triads Into Added Tone Chords Yet?

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

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    The goal of this lesson is to refresh your mind on added tone chords.

    Attention: If you’re just coming across the term added tone chords for the first time and are interested in knowing what they are, this lesson will provide you with an excellent beginners information on that.

    This lesson is dedicated to people like me who love to play triads. I love to play triads and if you’ve been a musicians for sometime now, you should know that triads sound very basic.

    A lot of musicians have abandoned triads for seventh and extended chords because they are basic and there’s nothing wrong with adding sophisticated chords to your chordal vocabulary.

    However, instead of leaving those triads behind, I’m going to show you how you can transform basic triads into added tone chords that would add some warmth to your chord progressions.

    Let’s get started!

    Added Tone Chords — Explained

    Added tone chords are basically triads with an added tone.

    So, instead of playing a triad, that you may find boring, you can add an extra tone to the triad and that’s going to add some warmth to the chord.

    “So, What Are The Added Tones?”

    The tones that can be added to a triad to form an added tone chord are the second, fourth, and sixth tones of the scale; which are basically the tones that were skipped in the formation of the triad.

    Let’s say you have the C major triad:

    You’ll recall that in the formation of the C major triad, that after the note C, we’re skipping D:

    …and playing the E note, and then we also skip the F note:

    …and play the G note.

    Now, if we go ahead and skip the A note:

    …we can also play the B note to form the C major seventh chord:

    Altogether, we skipped D, F, and A:

    D:

    F:

    A:

    …which are the second, fourth, and sixth tones of the C major scale:

    …and we played the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones.

    Attention: The added tones (second, fourth, and sixth tones) can also be played an octave higher as the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth tones respectively.

    The Added Tone Chords

    To the C major chord:

    …we can either add the second tone of the scale (which is D):

    …to form the Cadd2 chord:

    …or we can add the fourth tone of the scale (which is F):

    …to the C major triad to form the Cadd4 chord:

    We can even add the sixth tone of the scale (which is A):

    …to the C major triad to produce the C major sixth chord:

    How To Transform Diatonic Chords To Added Tone Chords

    The diatonic chords in the key of C major are as follows:

    C major:

    D minor:

    E minor:

    F major:

    G major:

    A minor:

    B diminished:

    Apart from the B diminished chord, we can make added tone chords out of the rest of the chords; from the 1-chord to the 6-chord.

     The 1-chord

    For the 1-chord:

    …we can either have the Cadd2:

    …or the Cmaj6 chord:

    The Cadd2:

    …can be played in the following ways:

    Voicing #1:

    Voicing #2:

    Voicing #3:

    The Cmaj6 chord:

    …can either be played in this voicing:

    …or this voicing:

     The 2-chord

    The 2-chord is the D minor triad:

    …and you can either have the D minor (add2):

    …or the D minor (add11):

    …as the two added tone chords you can play over the second tone of the scale on the bass.

     The 3-chord

    If you raise all the chords played over the second tone of the scale (which is D) are raised by a whole-step, you’ll have the added tone chords for the third tone of the scale:

    The E minor (add2):

    The E minor (add11):

     The 4-chord

    The 4-chord, which is the F major chord:

    …is structurally related to the 1-chord, the C major chord:

    So, similar to what we did with the 1-chord, we can either play the Fadd2:

    …or the Fmaj6 chord:

    You can still implement the voicing strategies we used for the 1-chord. The Fadd2:

    …can be played in the following ways:

    Voicing #1:

    Voicing #2:

    Voicing #3:

    The Fmaj6 chord:

    …can either be played in this voicing:

    …or this voicing:

     The 5-chord

    The 5-chord, the G major chord:

    …can be played as the Gadd2 chord:

    Voicing #1:

    Voicing #2:

    Voicing #3:

     The 6-chord

    The 6-chord is the A minor triad:

    …and you can either have the A minor (add2):

    …or the A minor (add11):

    …as the two added tone chords you can play over the sixth tone of the scale on the bass.

    Final Word

    In a subsequent lesson, I’ll teach you how you can use these added tone chords over a variety of bass notes to form bigger chords. For example, you can play the Gadd4 chord:

    …over A on the bass:

    …to form the Amin11 chord:

    We’ll explore all that and more in subsequent lessons. But for now, I wish you all the best and endeavor to substitute those boring triads with added tone chords.

    Thank you for your time.

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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 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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Alan Sloane

    Thanks again for sharing your treasure of musical knowledge. I always learn a lot from your posts I really like the way you explain things and remove the mystery and make the concepts tangible. Please keep up the great work you are doing .

    Reply

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