• Yes! You Too Can Spice Those Triads Up Using Added Tones

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    If you’re interested in learning how to spice those triads up with added tones, then this lesson is for you.

    While it’s okay to graduate from triads to seventh and extended chords, it’s also important for one to learn and master how triads can be spiced up using added tones.

    We’ll be covering all these in this lesson, but before we proceed, let’s refresh our minds on major and minor triads.

    A Quick Review On Major And Minor Triads

    There are two key types: the major key and the minor key. So, the term major and minor are associated with the concept of key and are used to distinguish two triad types based on the key types they are associated with.

    The major triad is the triad of the major key, while the minor triad is the triad of the minor key.

    Using the major scale as a reference to the major key and the minor scale as a reference to the minor key, you can see how the major and minor triads are formed by the relationship between the first, third, and fifth tones of the major and minor scales respectively.

    In the case of the C major scale (as a reference to all major scales):

    …the first, third, and fifth tones (which are C, E, and G):

    …when played or heard together, produces the C major triad, while the C minor scale (as a reference to all minor scales):

    …the first, third, and fifth tones (which are C, Eb, and G):

    …when played or heard together, produces the C minor triad.

    It’s also important for you to note that the major triad is the 1-chord in the major key and the minor triad is the 1-chord in the minor key.

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

    C major triad:

    Db major triad:

    D major triad:

    Eb major triad:

    E major triad:

    F major triad:

    Gb major triad:

    G major triad:

    Ab major triad:

    A major triad:

    Bb major triad:

    B major triad:

    “Here Are 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:

    Let’s get into the main course; which is basically concerned with how triads can be spiced up using added tones.

    How To Spice Triads Up Using Added Tones

    All the major and minor triads we’ve refreshed our minds on can be spiced up by adding certain tones to them. This makes the triads sound fuller and colorful (or sophisticated in want of a better word).

    Although there could be more ways to spice up a triad, we’ll be covering four basic considerations and in the not-too-distant future, we’ll explore more options.

    #1 – Adding The Ninth Tone

    The ninth tone can be added to a triad to spice it up and this is easy if you know what the ninth tone is and how it is determined.

    In the C major scale (two octaves):

    C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  [D]  E  F  G  A  B  C

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7    8   [9]  10 11 12 13  14 15

    …the ninth tone is D. So, using this C (as the first tone):

    …this D:

    …is considered as the ninth tone because the interval (or distance) between C and D:

    …is a ninth.

    Using the major scale, the ninth tone of the scale can be determined by associating it with the second tone of the major scale and this is because the second tone of the C major scale:

    …and the ninth tone of the C major scale:

    …have the same letter name — D.

    The addition of the ninth tone of the C major scale (which is D):

    …to the C major triad:

    …produces the C major [add9] chord:

    …while the addition of the ninth tone of the C major scale (which is D):

    …to the C minor triad:

    …produces the C minor [add9] chord:

    Following the same procedure, you can add the ninth tone to any given major or minor triad.

    #2 – Adding The Sixth Tone

     

    #3 – Adding The Sixth and the Ninth

     

    #4 – Adding The Eleventh

     

    Final Words

    Now you’ve seen how to enrich regular triads by the addition of an extra tone (or two), feel free to appropriate it when you have need to.

    Meanwhile

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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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