## Four Types of Triad Chords

Major and minor 3rd Intervals

Triads are made up of major 3rd and minor 3rd intervals. These two intervals are essentially the foundation of chord structures.

Major Third: To form a major triad on any one note (for example, C), we first go up a major third from the root (4 semitones or half steps). C is the root, so going up a major third (4 semitones or half steps) gives you E

Minor Third: To form a minor triad on any one note (for example, E), we go up a minor third (3 semitones or half steps). E is the root, so going up a minor third (3 semitones or half steps) gives you G

HERE is a lesson on naming Intervals on MusicTheory.net

SHORT CUT – 4/3 semitones or half steps

Creating a Major Triad – Put your finger on the bottom note of the chord (in this case a C) and for the second note count up 4 semitones (half steps), then for the last note count up 3 semitones (half steps).

That covers two notes of the triad. To get the last note, start on the second note (the E in this case), and go up a minor third

In conclusion:

I encourage you to play out the notes so you can hear what the chords sound like.

The first note of each triad is the name of the chord (e.g., F A C is an F major triad).

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Creating a minor Triad – Put your finger on the bottom note of the chord (in this case a C) and for the second note count up 3 semitones (half steps), then for the last note count up 4 semitones (half steps).

If you’re particularly observant, you might have noticed that 2 out of the 3 notes of a major and minor chord are the same.

The root (in this case, C) and the fifth (G) are the same in both major and minor.

However, the third is E in a C major triad, but Eb in minor. In other words, the third of a minor chord is one semitone lower than the third of a major.

This little trick may help you remember minor chords more easily if you don’t want to go through the hassle of calculating those intervals every time.

But for your convenience, his is a list of all of the minor triads just like I did with major:

Major Triad – Major 3rd and minor 3rd

SHORT CUT – 4/3 semitones or half steps

Minor Triad – minor 3rd and Major 3rd

SHORT CUT – 3/4 semitones or half steps

Augmented Triad – Major 3rd and Major 3rd

SHORT CUT – 4/4 semitones or half steps

Diminished Triad – minor 3rd and minor third

SHORT CUT – 3/3 semitones or half steps

Four Types of C Triads on the Piano

Writing the 4 types of C Triads on the Staff

On a piece of manuscript, notate using whole notes as above, the four types of triads STARTING on an F and then starting on a G

## WORKSHEETS

Intervals and Triads with Inversions worksheet FREE at Oxford Press (PDF files below)