Triads from Major Scale (and Modes)

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Here’s a resource for major scale triads and their use in chord progressions


The major scale yields a major triad, rooted off the starting pitch for the scaleWe call this triad the I chordThe I chord holds the most important pitches, used to make a tune sound like its centred around this starting pitch.  The remaining scale pitches acts as connectors to these, and provide the rest of the sound flavour of the major scale.   Melodies draw focus to pitches in the I chord, using the other pitches to help.  That is, these other pitches set up different strength of expectations in the listener to hear the nearest pitch in the I chord following on.

These expectations (tendencies) are present in the various triads found in the major scale, and hence these chords also set up different strength of expectations in the listener.   This leads to three families of chords: the stable ones, the medium drive ones, and the high drive ones.  In a chord progression, moving from a chord that creates less expectations to one that creates more expectations gives the music emotional energy … the listener feels the need for a more stable sound flavour to come next.  We can oblige, or keep building expectations, staying where we are,  or moving to higher drive, if available.

This can be read online, but it becomes the ultimate in chord books when read in emuso!

Here is the online version


In emuso only

Take your chord knowledge to a whole new level.  Click on any chord shape to hear it, change root, create inversions, edit, try out in a chord progression, and save off to your favourites.

See and hear how the chords are built, and how they are used.


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