Category: Harmony | Tags: Chords, Triads

### Theory

In this chapter you will learn the names of the three tones of a triad. You learn the best way to build triads. Further, you learn the name of the tones of the seven different basic triads. You will practice these names in the exercise.

## 1. Root, third and fifth

In Chapter 2.9 Chords you’ve learned that a triad is a three note chord, stacked in thirds.

A triad is built up of three tones, the lowest tone, the middle tone and the highest tone.

The lowest tone of a triad is called the root. The root is the most important tone and gives its name to the triad.
The tone in the middle is called the third. Its named for the distance between the root note and the middle tone, which is a third.
The highest tone is called a fifth. This, because the distance between the lowest tone and the highest tone is a fifth.

### How do you make a triad?

If you make a triad, begin with the root. Then, add a third and a fifth to this root. This is the best way to build triads. Don’t add a third to the root and another third to that note. This will become confusing at some point, and mistakes will arise.

For example, if you want to make a triad on E, the root is E. Add a third to the E, which is G. Add a fifth to the E - that is B. Now you have E - G - B. Use this only system to make the chords!

### Examples

A triad is comprised of a root, a third and a fifth.

## 2. The seven basic triads

In the example above, we’ve made a triad on A. You’ve seen that you get the tones A - C - E. You can do the same on B, then you'll get B - D - F. And, you can make a triad starting on C, D, E, F and G. Because there are seven different natural notes, you kan make seven different triads based on these tones. There are seven different basic triads. A triad with root note C is called a C-chord, etc. In the table under this text, you can see the seven different basic triads.

#### The seven basic triads

Natural note Triad Root Third Fifth Name

A A C E A C E A-chord
B B D F B D F B-chord
C C E G C E G C-chord
D D F A D F A D-chord
E E G B E G B E-chord
F F A C F A C F-chord
G G B D G B D G-chord

If you want to understand and use chords correctly, it is very important that you learn these basic triads - that you know their names, of which tones they are comprised and can play them. All chords, even the most complicated, are based on these seven basic chords.

### Examples

Which tones do you get if you make triads on the natural notes?

## 3. Practise

Harmony exercise 2d: practise determining the third and fifth of a triad.