Five Minute Mozart ©

Triad Construction

Run time: 4m 59s  |  Release Date: June 18th, 2012

A triad is very basic chord consisting of three different notes played simultaneously. There are three different types of triads which we are going to discuss in this video: a Major triad, a minor triad, and a diminished triad. However, regardless of which one we are talking about, to construct any triad, add a third and a fifth above a given 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 that we will 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. For example, knowing that C to D is a whole step, and D to E is also a whole step, then C to E, having been two consecutive whole steps is a Major third.

The second type of third is a minor third. A minor third is constructed by adding a half step and a whole step above or below a given note. Again, knowing that E to F is a half step, and F to G is a whole step, then E to G having been a half step followed by a whole step is therefore a minor third.

On now to fifths. The first type of fifth that we need to know about is a Perfect fifth. A Perfect fifth is constructed by adding a Major third and a minor above above or below a given note. We just learned that C to E is a Major third, and E to G is a minor third, therefore C to G having been a Major third followed by a minor third is a Perfect fifth.

The second type of fifth is known as a diminished fifth. A diminished fifth is constructed by adding two consecutive minor thirds above or below a given note. Again, if we know that B to D is a minor third, and D to F is also a minor third, then B to F having been two consecutive minor thirds is therefore a diminished fifth. It is worth mentioning that another even simpler way of thinking about diminished fifths is that they are the same as Perfect fifths just lowered by one half step.

Now that we know about all of the thirds and fifths that we need, let's start putting together our triads. The first type of triad is a Major triad. A Major triad is formed by adding a Major third and a Perfect fifth above the same note. Let's put this into perspective. By adding a Major third, E, and a Perfect fifth, G, above the note C (which in this case is also known as the root) we get a C Major triad.

Now the point of this video is to learn how to construct triads from each note of a Major scale. Being that we have just figured out a C Major triad, let's take a look at a C Major scale. Like we have just discovered, the first note of a C Major scale, C, is the root note of a C Major triad. There are two other notes in a C Major scale which are also the roots of Major triads. The first one is F. By adding a Major third, and a Perfect fifth above the note F, and making sure that I only use notes which are found within the C Major scale, in this case A and C, I end up with an F Major triad.

The second note is G. By adding a Major third, and a Perfect fifth above the note G (B and D), I end up with a G Major triad.

The next type of triad that we need to know about is a minor triad. A minor triad is formed by adding a minor third and a Perfect fifth above the same note. Here is the note D. By adding a minor third, F, and a Perfect fifth, A, above the note D we get a D minor triad.

 

The other two notes of a C Major scale which are the roots of minor triads are E and A.

The last triad that we need to know about is called a diminished triad. A diminished triad is formed by adding a minor third and a diminished fifth above the same note. Here is the note B. We already know that the note D is a minor third away from B, and F is a diminished F away. By playing these three notes simultaneously, we will be playing a B diminished triad.

Although in this video we used a C Major scale, the same thing can be applied to any Major scale. Triads built off of the first, fourth, and fifth notes of any Major scale will always be Major triads. Triads built off of the second, third, and sixth notes of any Major scale will always be minor triads. And a triad built off of the seventh note of any Major scale will always be diminished.