Advanced Harmonic Applications of Triads | Hub Guitar

Advanced Harmonic Applications of Triads

Let’s explore some advanced harmonic concepts. We’re going to use triads in unusual ways to create new harmonies.

For this exploration, we’ll spell six triads: major, minor, augmented, diminished, sus4, sus2. we’ll then superimpose these triads onto a chord with any given root. we’ll decide how to use the chords by determining what chord could contain the resulting pitches. The result will allow us to generate interesting harmonies through voice-leading simple triads.

What “C Major Triad” Means If You Change the Root

Root Major Minor Aug Dim Sus4 Sus2
C C–E–G C–E♭–G C–E–G♯ C–E♭–G♭ C–F–G C–D–G
C♯/D♭ 7–♭3–♭5 7–9–♭5 7–♭3–5 7–9–11 7–3–♭5 7–♭9–♭5
D ♭7–9–11 ♭7–♭9–11 ♭7–9–♭5 ♭7–♭9–3 ♭7–♭3–11 ♭7–R–4
D♯/E♭ 13–♭9–3 13–R–3 13–♭9–11 13–R–♭3 13–9–3 13–7–3
E ♭13–R–♭3 ♭13–7–♭3 ♭13–R–3 ♭13–7–9 ♭13–♭9–♭3 ♭13–♭7–♭3
F 5–7–9 5–♭7–9 5–7–♭3 5–♭7–♭9 5–R–9 5–13–9
F♯/G♭ ♭5–♭7–♭9 ♭5–13–♭9 ♭5–♭7–9 ♭5–13–R ♭5–7–♭9 ♭5–♭13–♭9
G 11–13–R 11–♭13–R 11–13–♭9 11–♭13–7 11–♭7–R 11–5–R
G♯/A♭ 3–♭13–7 3–5–7 3–♭13–R 3–5–♭7 3–13–7 3–♭5–7
A ♭3–5–♭7 ♭3–♯11–♭7 ♭3–5–7 ♭3–♯11–13 ♭3–♭13–♭7 ♭3–4–♭7
A♯/B♭ 9–♯11–13 9–11–13 9–♯11–♭7 9–11–♭13 9–5–13 9–3–13
B ♭9–11–♭13 ♭9–3–♭13 ♭9–11–13 ♭9–3,–5 ♭9–♭5–♭13 ♭9–♭3–♭13
C R–3–5 R–♭3–5 R–3–♭9 R–♭3–♭5 R–4–5 R–2–5

Key Tasks

  1. For each possibility, write down all of the chords you can think of where that triad would work. For instance, the C minor triad played over an F root would produce 5, ♭7 and 9—a combination that would be useful on a dominant 7th or minor chord. You can then process this verbally: (“Okay, a minor triad built on the fifth of a chord produces 5, ♭7 and 9, so I can use this on dominant and minor chords.”)
  2. Write a short chord progression (or borrow one from the chord progression chart). ReharmonizeTo reharmonize music is to remove its chords, and re-imagine the music with a new harmony. That is, to use the melody and other elements of the music to create a new series of chords. The result is often a very different take on the original theme. the chords by rewriting them all as triads, assuming that the original root will remain the same.
  3. Practice playing these triads over the chord progression, and then practice using them to improvise melodies.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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