Triads

A triad is a three-voice chord with a root, the 3rd and the 5h (from the root). A triad is the basis of all chords. although in many chords the fifth is not played.

Doubling: On the guitar. thriads often occur with more than three notes. Often one or more of the notes in the triad is doubled. In a doubled triad, the root, the third, or the fifth is doubled.

A triad is built on superposed thirds. Each note in a triad is separated by an interval of a major or minor third. In a minor triad a major 3rd is built on top of a minor 3rd. A major triad alsp consist in a major and a minor triad, but in reverse order.

   B Augmented           B Major             B Minor           B Diminished 
     B-D#-G              B-D#-F#             B-D-F#               B-D-F 
   ___________         ___________         ___________         ___________ 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | 5 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | 5         | | | | | 5         | | | | | | 
   | | | | | 5•        | | | | | |•        | | | | 3 |•        | | | | 3 |• 
 4 | | | R 3 |       4 | | | R 3 |       4 | | | R | |       4 | | | R | | 
   | | | | | |•        | | | | | |•        | | | | | |•        | | | | | |• 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | 5 | 
   | | | | | |•        | | | | 5 |•        | | | 3 5 |•        | | | 3 | |• 
   | | | 3 5 |         | | | 3 | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | | 
 9 | | R | | |•      9 | | R | | |•      9 | | R | | |•      9 | | R | | |• 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | 5 | | 
   | | | | | |         | | | 5 | |         | | | 5 | |         | | | | | | 
   | | 5 | | |•        | | | | | |•        | | 3 | | |•        | | 3 | | |• 
   | | 3 | | |         | | 3 | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | | 
14 | R | | | |      14 | R | | | |      14 | R | | | |      14 | R | | | | 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | 5 | | |• 
   | | | | | |         | | 5 | | |         | | 5 | | |         | | | | | | 
   | | 5 | | |•        | | | | | |•        | 3 | | | |•        | 3 | | | |• 
   | 3 | | | |         | 3 | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | | 
19 R | | | | |•     19 R | | | | |•     19 R | | | | |•     19 R | | | | |• 
   | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | |         | | | | | | 

The intervals of a triad counted from the root

Counted from the root of a triad chord, the intervals consist in a third and a fifth.

Forms of triads Intervals from the root Interval # Example
Major triad major third perfect fifth 1-3-5 C-E-G
Minor triad minor third perfect fifth 1-b3-5 C-Eb-G
Diminished triad minor third diminished fifth 1-b3-b5 C-Eb-Gb
Augmented triad major third augmented fifth 1-3-#5 C-E-G#

C Major Triads

Intervals: 1 = C, 3 = E, 5 = G 
  
3 ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-| 
X ||-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---| 
5 ||---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|-5-| 
X ||---|-3-|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---| 
X ||---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|-5-|---|---| 
3 ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-| 
             o       o       o       o           o      

C Minor Triads

Intervals: 1 = C, b3 = Eb, 5 = G 
  
X ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---| 
X ||-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---| 
5 ||---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|---|-5-| 
X ||b3-|---|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---| 
X ||---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|---|-5-|---|---| 
X ||---|---|-5-|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---| 
             o       o       o       o           o 

C Dim Triads

Intervals: 1 = C, b3 = Eb, b5 = Gb 
  
X ||---|b5-|---|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---| 
X ||-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|b5-|---|---|---|---|---| 
X ||---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|---|---| 
X ||b3-|---|---|b5-|---|---|---|---|---|-1-|b5-|---| 
X ||---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---|---|b5-|---|---|---| 
X ||---|b5-|---|---|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|b3-|---| 
             o       o       o       o           o 

C Aug Triads

Intervals: 1 = C, 3 = E, #5 = G# 
  
3 ||---|---|---|#5-|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-| 
X ||-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|---|#5-|---|---|---| 
X ||#5-|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|---| 
X ||---|-3-|---|---|---|#5-|---|---|---|-1-|---|---| 
X ||---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-|---|---|---|#5-|---| 
3 ||---|---|---|#5-|---|---|---|-1-|---|---|---|-3-| 
             o       o       o       o           o 

Lesson: Triad Exercise

Practice playing these tiads and their inversions up and down while listening. Notice that the augmented. chords are.

Other chord types