Understanding Triads (Chords)

A chord can be defined as a group of two or more harmonizing notes.

The most basic and common formation of a chord, a triad, is a group of three harmonizing notes in which an interval of a third and an interval of a fifth is played above the root note.

Now, there are two different types of thirds and two different types of fifths which are used when constructing triads.

The first type of third we need to know about is called a Major third. A Major third is constructed by adding two consecutive whole steps above or below a given note.

WholeStep_CD.png

For example, knowing that C to D is a whole step,

WholeStep_DE.png

and D to E is also a whole step,

MajorThird_CE.png

then C to E having been two consecutive whole steps is a Major third.

A minor third, on the other hand is constructed by adding a half step and a whole step above or below a given note.

HalfStep_EF.png

Again, knowing that E to F is a half step,

WholeStep_FG.png

and F to G is a whole step,