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Triads and Inversions

Rating: 9 user(s) have rated this lesson Average rating: 4.0 Posted by: spoonman, on Feb 22,2010, in category Music Theory Views: this lesson has been read 12800 times
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Triads and Inversions

Triads are the simplest form of chords and consists of three notes. Chords require at least three (3) different tones in their structure. A three-tone chord is a triad. Chords may contain as few as three tones and as many as seven or more.

There are four types of triads :

  1. Major Triad (1, 3, 5)
  2. Minor Triad (1, b3, 5)
  3. Diminished Triad (1, b3, b5)
  4. Augmented Triad ( 1, 3, #5)

As you can see above the quality of the chord can be defined by the first interval.


Major Triad

Minor Triad

Diminished Triad

Augmented Triad

M3 + m3 m3 + M3 m3 + m3 M3 + M3
C-E  E-G C-Eb  Eb-G C-Eb  Eb-Gb C-E  E-G#

I hope that taking a look at The Harmonization of Major Scale will help us understanding the triads . Below you can see the C major scale consist of major, minor and diminished triads.

Harmonization of Major Scale

This is the basic; you can play chords for a scale just using triads or 7th chords. I hope you get "triads chord relation" so far.


Triad Inversions

Triads have three inversions.

You can see these three inversions for a the major triad below: 

Triad Inversions

The vocing for the root position is 1 3 5 and this is the basic triad for a major triad. The first inversion has a voicing of 3 5 1 and the second inversion has a vocing of 5 1 3.
The inversions of the other triads are like as follows:


Root Position

1st Inversion

2nd inversion

Maj Min Aug Dim Maj Min Aug Dim Maj Min Aug Dim
G G G# Gb C C C C E Eb E Eb
E Eb E Eb G G G# Gb C C C C
C C C C E Eb E Eb G G G# Gb

Now, learn all C major, C minor, C augmented, and C diminished triads, all inversions and triads chord relation!

Please also try to remember triad patterns on your guitar keyboard. So that you can easily analyze a chord while playing on your guitar.

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