• The Fantastic Four: Are You Finding It Difficult To Master These 48 Triads?

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

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    In this lesson, we’ll be learning how the the fantastic four can be mastered.

    If you’re just coming across the term fantastic four for the very first time, don’t worry: we’ll start out by breaking it down to you.

    “Do You Know About The Fantastic Four?”

    A triad is produced when three related notes (agreeable or not) are played or heard together.

    There are four main triad types: the major, minor, augmented, and diminished triad and they are collectively referred to as the fantastic four.

    These triads are the basis of harmony in music. Therefore, it is important for triads to be mastered before seventh and extended chords are to be considered.

    Let’s discuss briefly on each of these triads.

    The First – The Major Triad

    The major triad is the 1-chord in the major key and is also the 4-chord and 5-chord. In the key of C major:

    …the 1-chord:

    …4-chord:

    …and 5-chord:

    …are all major triads.

    If three out of the seven unique chords in every key are major triads, then major triads should be taken seriously.

    The Second – The Minor Triad

    The minor triad is the 6-chord in the major key and is also the 2-chord and 3-chord. In the key of C major:

    …the 6-chord:

    …2-chord:

    …and 3-chord:

    …are all minor triads.

    Minor triads are also important because three out of the seven unique chords in every major key are minor triads.

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

    The Third – The Augmented Triad

    Although the augmented triad is not a scale tone chord in the major key, it is an important chord type that belongs to the minor key.

    Despite its relationship with the minor key, it can also be used as a passing chord in the major key and that’s one of the key roles of an augmented triad.

    Here’s the C augmented triad:

    The Fourth – The Diminished Triad

    The diminished triad is the 7-chord in the major key.

    In the key of C major:

    …the 7-chord:

    …is the B diminished triad.

    Just like augmented triads, diminished triads are used as passing chords in the major key and that’s why they’re important.

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

    How To Master 48 Triads — By Association

    Using all the major scales, the 48 known triads on the keyboard can be mastered easily.

    This is easy if you understand the link between the major scale and every other triad in the fantastic four: major, minor, augmented, and diminished.

    Here’s the C major scale:

    Using the notes of the C major scale, every other triad starting from C can be determined and that includes:

    The C major triad:

    The C minor triad:

    The C augmented triad:

    The C diminished triad:

    “Let’s See How This Works…”

    The Major Triad: 1 – 3 – 5

    The major triad can be associated with the formula below:

    1 – 3 – 5

    This is because he major triad can be formed using the first, third, and fifth tones of the major scale in any key. For example, using the B major scale (as a reference):

    …the B major triad can be formed when the first, third, and fifth tones (which are B, D#, and F#):

    …are played or heard together.

    Every other major triad can be associated with the major scale using the “1 – 3 – 5” formula.

    The Minor Triad: 1 – b3 – 5

    The formula of the minor triad:

    1 – b3 – 5

    …is different from that of the major triad and this is because of the b3 which is pronounced flat third.

    The b3 is the tone that is a half-step lower than the third tone of the scale. Therefore, lowering the third tone of the scale by a half-step produces the b3 tone.

    Using the Eb major scale (as a reference):

    …the first tone (Eb):

    …flat third tone (which is is derived by lowering the third tone by a half step from G to Gb):

    …and the fifth tone (Bb):

    …when played or heard together produces the Eb minor triad:

    Every other minor triad can be associated with the major scale using the “1 – b3 – 5” formula.

    The Augmented Triad: 1 – 3 – #5

    The formula of the augmented triad:

    1 – 3 – 5#

    …consists of the following tones: the first, third, and sharp fifth tones which can be associated with the first, third, and sharp fifth tones of the augmented triad.

    The #5 is the tone that is a half-step higher than the fifth tone of the scale. Therefore, raising the fifth tone of the scale by a half-step produces the #5 tone.

    Using the G major scale (as a reference):

    …the first tone (which is G):

    …third tone (which is E):

    …and the fifth tone (which is is derived by raising the fifth tone by a half step from D to D#):

    …when played or heard together produces the G augmented triad:

    Every other augmented triad can be associated with the major scale using the “1 – 3 – #5” formula.

    The Diminished Triad: 1 – b3 – b5

    The diminished triad can be determined using the formula below:

    1 – b3 – b5

    The formula of the diminished triad has the flat third and flat fifth tones. Therefore, lowering the third and fifth tone of the major scale produces the diminished triad.

    Using the G major scale (as a reference):

    …the first tone (G):

    …flat third tone (which is is derived by lowering the third tone by a half step from B to Bb):

    …and the fifth tone (which is is derived by lowering the fifth tone by a half step from D to Db)::

    …when played or heard together produces the G diminished triad:

    Every other diminished triad can be associated with the major scale using the “1 – b3 – b5” formula.

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

    Final Words

    Using the formulas given in this lesson, you can easily play or determine any of the fantastic four starting on any note on the keyboard.

    Keep up the great work and see you in the next lesson.

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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.

    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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