Triads (3 note combinations):
Earlier I did a video on how triads, of type 135 (Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished) could resolve soundly to any other triad via common tones or halfsteps.
Now I wanted to clue you into another interesting triad investigation.
There are basically only 5 types of triads, meaning 3 note chords.
Here is what I mean:
When you use something like a Major chord, it is R 3 5, but if you invert it, now you have R 3 6 (first inversion of the other chord, but could, in some instance be considered it’s own triad without a 5th), if we invert it again we get R46, some of you might remember these from music, school, now technically, in music school we would have said R35, 35R, 53R, for the inversions, but we are looking at another attribute of triads….all possible 3 note combinations.
When you do all the extrapolation of discovering all possible triads, you find there are only 5 unique triads (including their inversions). Here’s what they are
That’s it. If you grab those and their inversion, plus flats and sharps, you cover all the possible triad types. So for instance: R24 is also R 37 and R 56. So if you wanted you could make a “chord” C D F…. or inverting it get D F C and F C D. This chord voicing is actually used a lot In jazz since it sort of implies a Dmin7 chord, but we could create a whole new language out of this information if we want. We could have R24 (sort of the “major” variety, though it doesn’t sound major), flat the 2nd for “minor” similarity, though it sounds different (C Db F, R b2 4) and similar to diminished flat the 2 and 4, (R b2 b4, C Db Fb) and the augmented variety is R 2 #4 (C D F#).
These are a whole other variety of sound possibilities. This can be done to all the above… notice R23…. This would be like playing CDE at the same time, or like CDbEb or whatever, not so easy on guitar in root inversion, but the other inversions would be simpler.
Also, you might be familiar with Quartal harmony, like C F Bb…. this gets covered by R25…., imagine Bb is the root for a second…now you have Bb C F….or R25. (Which is often known as the sus2 chord, but in another inversion, F Bb C….it’s a sus4 chord).
These are a whole other variety of sound possibilities.
Think of how much music we’ve created with our standard R35 harmony…maybe it’s time we explore another one of these triad groupings a reorganize our thought process on the musical possibilities and language of these other triad types.
Try re-harmonizing a standard using these other foundational triads, you might come up with something pretty sweet!
***Bonus points….how many different types of 4 note chords are there?
*****Second Bonus…here they are with their inversions:
R35 (R36) (R46)
R25 (R47) (R45)
R24 (R37) (R56)
R23 (R27) (R67)
R34 (R26) (R57)