Thanks for reading my blogs so far.
In this blog we’ll be looking at how to add some variety to your songwriting + improvisation skills by exploring triads.
Triads are chords made up of 3 notes from a harmonized scale.
To keep things simple we’ll focus on triads from the major scale.
Let’s take a straightforward key of C major.
Using the formula TTSTTTS that gives us the notes C,D,E,F,G,A,B
Using the harmonization formula to produce triads/chords that gives us C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim
The intervals that make up these chords are:
Major – Root (1), Major 3rd (3) and Perfect 5th (5)
Minor – Root (1), Minor 3rd (b3) and Perfect 5th (5)
Minor 3rd = 1 1/2 tones, Major 3rd = 2 tones, Diminished 5th = 3 tones, Perfect 5th = 3 1/2 tones.
So your triads will be:
C = C, E, G
Dm = D, F, A
Em = E, G, B
F = F, A, C
G = G, B, D
Am = A, C, E
Bdim = B, D, F
If we just take the G, B and E strings we can come up with loads of combinations for these triads.
Here’s some examples:
So have a go at playing around with these and see what you can come up with. For writing songs, knowledge of triads are great as they give you lots of different options, for example:
- For creating single note melodies over chord progressions
- For adding depth to a chord progression i.e. one guitarist can play a barre chord C major while another plays a triad somewhere else on the neck
- Once you extend the triads to 7th chords that opens up more possibilities on top
Hope you’ve found this blog useful – feel free to ask any questions
You can find other great tips via the Js Music School twitter feed
@jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic @annie_jsmusic