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Unread 12-07-2006, 04:30 PM   #1
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Can someone please explain to me how the hell to identify the quality of chords?

I have a test in music theory tomorow and I do not understand how to figure out the quality of an interval.

For example, for Triads and Seventh chords.

I know that if there is a Major third stacked on a major third then the triad is Augented.

If there is a minor 3rd stacked on a Major third then it is a Perfect 5th and vice versa.

If there is a minor third stacked on top of a minor then it is diminished.

But how the heck do I figure out if the interval is Major or minor?
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Unread 12-07-2006, 05:52 PM   #2
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I'm a spatial learner so I'll give you a diagram here;

Key: d = diminished / m - minor / M = Major / A = Augmented (Notice I use lower case (smaller) letters for smaller values, and CAPITAL (Larger) letters for larger values).


Larger----------------------------------------->
(d) - half step (m) - half step (M) - half step (A)
<-----------------------------------------Smaller

So, this little doojob here can tell you that a minor interval is TWO half steps smaller than an Augmented interval. A Major interval in made minor by decreasing its size by ONE half step...etc.

So what does this mean about triads?
diminished triad - made from a minor triad lowering the 5th ONE half step, or by raising the root and 3rd ONE half step.
minor triads - 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of a minor scale.
Major triads - 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of a Major scale.
Augmented - made from a Major triad raising the 5th ONE half step, or by lowering the root and 3rd ONE half step.

I dont even remember what your actual question was now...

Where art thou Romeo?

Ok, I re-read your post...so...if you know that a diminished triad is a minor triad with a lower 5th, then you also know what a minor triad is by reverse-engineering that sucker right? Same would go for finding a Major triad from an Augmented.

Examples:
Given a basic minor triad (A,C,E) add accidentals to make it diminished.
- As above, just take the 5th and lower it ONE half step. (A,C,Eb). BLAM~!

Given a basic minor triad (DFA) add accidentals to make it diminished.
- As above, just take the root and 3rd and raise them ONE half step. (D#,F#,A) BLAM!

.....So, like did any of that help...was I even answering the question? haha
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Unread 12-07-2006, 10:07 PM   #3
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Sounded pretty damn good to me, GHA.

I might just add that if you're trying to determine if a chord is major or minor, look at the third. If it's 3 frets above the root, it's minor. If it's 4 frets above the root, it's major.

It's a hell of a lot less confusing if you check your interval size against the root note.

*edit*

A fourth is five frets above the root, and a fifth is seven frets above the root. A fret is a 1/2 step, btw.

Dimished means you've reduced the interval (any interval) by a 1/2 step. Augmented means you've increased it by a 1/2 step.

Last edited by Ancestor; 12-07-2006 at 10:24 PM. Reason: more info
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Unread 12-07-2006, 11:12 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, it definately helped.
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