• Exposed: The Easiest Known Way To Form Tertian Chords (The Pick-Skip Technique)

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Piano,Theory

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    If you’ve always wanted to learn how to form tertian chords easily, say hello to the pick-skip technique.

    The pick-skip technique is a technique invented by the Hear and Play team to help musicians out with chord formation. Believe it or not, chord formation can’t be simpler with what you’re about to learn.

    Let’s prepare for this study by exploring the definition of chords.

    The Definition Of Chords – Explored

    Although there are so many ways to define a chord, a chord according to Jermaine Griggs “…is a collection of related notes, [agreeable or not], that are played/heard together.”

    This definition of a chord is comprehensive and has most of the keywords like:

    • Related notes
    • Agreeable or Not
    • Together

    …that can deepen your insight on what chords really are.

    “Let’s Go Ahead And Explore Some Of These Keywords…”

    “…Together…”

    The notes of a chord can be played or heard separately to form arpeggios and broken chords. However, the notes of a chord are designed to be played together because the old English word that the term chord was derived from is accord and it means together.

    “…Agreeable Or Not…”

    The relationship between notes (chord) that are played together produces harmony, which can either be classified as concord or discord.

    When the harmonic relationship between notes (aka – “chord”) sounds agreeable and pleasant, the outcome is a concord, while a discord is produced when the notes of a chord clash or disagree.

    “…Related Notes…”

    Although a chord is a collection of notes, there is need for the notes of the chord (aka – “chord tones”) to be related. Chord tones are related in two known ways:

    • Scale relationship
    • Intervallic Relationship

    “Pay Attention To This…”

    The notes of the C major triad:

    …[which is arguably the most popular chord in the world], are related by the C major scale (scale relationship) and third intervals (intervallic relationship.)

    The C major triad consists of C, E, and G:

    …which are the first, third, and fifth tones of the C major scale:

    Also, it is important to note that the interval between the notes C, E, and G:

    …is in thirds.

    C-E:

    …a third interval.

    E-G:

    …another third interval.

    Before we get into the pick-skip technique, let’s discuss tertian chords briefly.

    A Short Note On Tertian Chords

    Tertian chords are a class of chords that are formed by the relationship between notes that are apart from each other in third intervals.

    Using  the C major scale:

    …here’s how a tertian chord can be formed…

    Starting from C:

    …we’re adding another note that is a third above C, which is E:

    …and another note that is a third above C-E, which is G:

    Altogether, we have C-E-G:

    …a tertian chord. Simply put, any chord (in root position) that can be broken down into third intervals is a tertian chord.

    Attention: There are other chord types (like the secundal and quartal chords), that are based in other classes of harmony.

    The Classification Of Tertian Chords According To Width

    There are three classes of tertian chords:

    • Triads
    • Seventh chords
    • Extended chords

    A triad is the product of the relationship between three notes that are apart from each other in third intervals. Chords like the C major triad:

    …belong to this category.

    A seventh chord is formed by the relationship between four notes that are apart from each other in third intervals. Chords like the C major seventh chord:

    …belong to this category.

    Extended chords are five note, six note, and seven note chords.

    Triads (like the C major triad):

    …encompass a fifth:

    Seventh chords (like the C major seventh):

    …encompass a seventh:

    …while extended chords (like the C major ninth:

    …C major eleventh:

    …and C major thirteenth):

    …encompass a ninth:

    …eleventh:

    …and thirteenth:

    …respectively.

    The Pick-Skip Technique

    The pick-skip technique is one of the smartest techniques that can be used to form tertian chords. The pick-skip technique alternates between the picking and skipping of the notes in a given scale until a chord is formed.

    Using the C major scale:

    …and the pick-skip technique, various classes of chords can be formed.

    “Check Them Out…”

    Formation Of Triads

    A triad is a chord of three notes, which can be formed using the pick-skip technique by picking and skipping scale tones until three notes are stacked.

    Using the F major scale:
    …we can form a triad starting from any note.

    “Starting from F…”

    Pick F:

    …skip G and pick A:

    …skip Bb and pick C:

    Altogether, that’s the F major triad:

    “Starting from Bb…”

    Pick Bb:

    …skip C and pick D:

    …skip E and pick F:

    Altogether, that’s the Bb major triad:

    “Starting from E…”

    Pick E:

    …skip F and pick G:

    …skip A and pick Bb:

    Altogether, that’s the E diminished triad:

    Following the same procedure, all known triad qualities can be formed.

    Formation Of Seventh Chords

    Any chord that encompasses seven degrees of the scale when played in root position is a seventh chord. Seventh chords can be formed using the pick-skip technique by picking and skipping scale tones until a seventh is encompassed.

    Using the D major scale:

    …we can form a seventh chord starting from any note.

    “Starting from D…”

    Pick D:

    …skip E and pick F#:

    …skip G and pick A:

    …skip B and pick C#:

    Altogether, that’s the D major seventh chord:

    “Starting from G…”

    Pick G:

    …skip A and pick B:

    …skip C# and pick D:

    …skip E and pick F#:

    Altogether, that’s the G major seventh chord:

    “Starting from C#…”

    Pick C#:

    …skip D and pick E:

    …skip F# and pick G:

    …skip A and pick B:

    Altogether, that’s the C# half-diminished seventh chord:

    Following the same procedure, all known seventh chord qualities can be formed.

    Formation Of Extended Chords

    Chords that exceed the compass of one octave are known as extended chords and they are bigger than triads and seventh chords.

    An extended chord can be formed by extending the width of seventh chords. Earlier on, we formed the D major seventh chord:

    …from the D major scale:

    We can go ahead and extend the width of the D major seventh chord:

    …by continuing from C#:

    “Continuing from C#…”

    Pick C#:

    …skip D and pick E:

    …to form the D major ninth chord:

    We can also go ahead and extend the width of the D major ninth chord:

    …by continuing from E:

    “Continuing from E…”

    Pick E:

    …skip F# and pick G:

    …to form the D major eleventh chord:

    It’s still possible to extend the width of the D major eleventh chord:

    …by continuing from G:

    “Continuing from G…”

    Pick G:

    …skip A and pick B:

    …to form the D major thirteenth chord:

    Final Words

    Congratulations on learning a new chord formation technique. Believe it or not, the formation of tertian chords has never been this easy.

    This is not all about the pick-skip technique. We’ll continue our discussion in another lesson were I’ll show you how you can easily spot chord extensions using the pick-skip technique.

    Thanks for your time and see you then.

    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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 edward

    makes learning and understanding basics more easy on cord building and give u more sense by studing cords

    Reply

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