Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 3, last updated 6/25/2013
Thus we have seven basic chords that are used in musical compositions. These are
summarized in Table 3.9.
name chord notes
major triad root, major third, perfect fifth
minor triad root, minor third, perfect fifth
diminished triad root, minor third, diminished fifth
augmented triad root, major third, augmented fifth
major seventh root, major third, perfect fifth, major seventh
minor seventh root, minor third, perfect fifth, minor seventh
dominant seventh root, major third, perfect fifth, minor seventh
Table 3.9 Types of chords
All major keys give rise to a sequence of triads following the same pattern. To see this,
consider the sequence you get in the key of C major by playing a triad starting on each of the
piano keys in the scale. These triads are shown in Figure 3.35. Each is named with the name of
its root note.
Figure 3.35 Triads in C major
Each of the chords in this sequence can be characterized based on its root note. Triad I is
easy to see. The first note is C and it’s a major triad, so it’s C major. Triad II starts on D, so
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