• Here’s The Most Effective Way To Look At Minor Chords

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

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    If you’re interested learning about the relationship between the minor triad and chord extensions, this lesson is for you.

    The minor triad is one of the four triads any serious musician must be acquainted with – in all twelve keys. The  remainder being the major triad, augmented triad, and the diminished triad.

    In this lesson, we’re going beyond the basic knowledge of the minor triad into learning what thoughtful musicians perceive when they look at any given minor triad.

    But before we do so, let’s take a look at the minor triad.

    A Short Note On The Minor Triad

    A triad is a collection of three or more related notes (agreeable or not), which may be played or heard together.

    There are four know triad qualities:

    The major triad

    The minor triad

    The augmented triad

    The diminished triad

    The minor triad is the first scale degree triad in the minor key. For example, in the key of A minor:

    …the minor triad can be formed from the first scale degree (which is A):

    …in third intervals.

    A:

    …with C:

    …and E:

    …altogether produce the A minor triad:

    “Check Out All The Minor Triads On The Keyboard…”

    C minor triad:

    C# minor triad:


    D minor triad:

    Eb minor triad:

    E minor triad:

    F minor triad:

    F# minor triad:

    G minor triad:

    G# minor triad:

    A minor triad:

    Bb minor triad:

    B minor triad:

    What Thoughtful Musicians Perceive When They Look At Any Given Minor Triad

    Beyond being the tonic triad in the minor key, there’s more to the minor triad. The minor triad can be used to determine chord extensions in a given key.

    Before we go any further, let’s talk about chord extensions.

    “What Are Chord Extensions?”

    Chord extensions are chord tones that are more than an octave above the root of the chord. Chord tones like the third, fifth, and seventh are within the compass of the octave.

    Extended chords like ninth chords, eleventh chords, and thirteenth chords, have chord tones that exceed the compass of an octave. There are three known chord extensions:

    The ninth

    The eleventh

    The thirteenth

    …and adding them to seventh chords produces extended chords.

    For example, the ninth in the key of C major:

    …is the D tone:

    …and adding the ninth to the C major seventh chord:

    …produces the C major ninth chord:

    The Relationship Between The Minor Triad And Chord Extensions

    Every minor triad on the keyboard can be used to determine chord extensions – the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth tones.

    For example, the D minor triad:

    …consists of D, F, and A, which are the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chord tones in the key of C major:

    “Let’s Take A Closer Look…”

    The root of the D minor triad (which is D):

    …is the ninth chord tone in the key of C major:

    The third of the D minor triad (which is F):

    …is the eleventh chord tone in the key of C major:

    The fifth of the D minor triad (which is A):

    …is the thirteenth chord tone in the key of C major:

    How To Determine Chord Extensions Using Any Given Minor Triad

    Any minor triad can be used to determine the chord extensions in any key that’s a whole step below the given minor triad.

    For example, the F minor triad:

    …can be used to determine the chord extensions in the key that’s a whole step below F:

    Due to the fact that a whole step below F:

    …is Eb:

    …the F minor triad:

    …can be used to determine chord extensions in the key of Eb major:

    “Let’s Check That Out…”

    In the key of Eb major:

    …the ninth (which is F):

    …the eleventh (which is Ab):

    …and the thirteenth (which is C):

    …are chord tones of the F minor triad:

    “In A Nutshell…”

    Any given minor triad can be used to determine the chord extensions in a key that’s a whole step below the root of the minor triad.

    The notes of the F# minor triad:

    …are the chord extensions in the key of E major:

    …which is a whole step below the F# minor triad:

    Final Words

    Getting to this point, I’m doubly sure that you’ve learned how chord extensions can be determined using the minor triad.

    In subsequent lessons, we’ll learn more about chord extensions and how they can be applied in the formation of extended chords.

    See you then!

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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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