Core `Ukulele Chords, Traditional and Contemporary Triads

Major, Minor, Diminished, Augumented, Suspended, Add and Lydian chords.

Published: Feb 14, 2013 Updated: Jun 16, 2018 • Visitors: 117 • Page Views: 1

ukulele Subjects: chordscoreimprovisationintermediatetriads

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UL42-TRI

A triad is a three note chord. In traditional music theory, there are four triad chord types: major, minor, diminished and augmented. Contemporary triads include sus, add, and modal.

On the ukulele, triads occur on adjacent and non-adjacent string sets.

In music theory, there are four traditional triad chord types: major, minor, diminished and augmented. And four contemporary triad chord types: sus2, sus4, add2, add9. Plus the modal Lydian triad (1 #4 5).

Triads can be used *harmonically* as chords and *melodically* as single notes. Triads are an excellent way to get started with creating melodic solos and improvising.

For a major scale, I have students memorize this sequence of the triad types in a major scale: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished. This sequence with knowing the notes of any major scale will get you the chords ( triads ) for that scale. For the C major scale, the chords are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim. For Db major, the chords are Db, Ebm, Fm, Gb, Ab, Bbm, Cdim. This sequence works for any major scale or mode of a major scale. For D Dorian the chords are: Dm Em F G Am Bdim C. Simply start on the second chord the C major scale chord sequence.

You already know triads if you know the _basic open position_ chords such as C, F, G, Am, Dm, etc... If there's no 7 or 5 in the name, they're most likely triads maybe with one or more of the notes doubled. An example would be typical open position C. C is C E G with the C doubled.

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Understanding Intervals

An interval is the distance between two notes. An interval has a name and a type. Intervals can be played one note (melodic) or two notes (harmonic) at a time, ascending or descending.

Simple and Compound Intervals are taken from a major scale.

Chromatic Intervals are NOT taken from a major scale. They are derived from the diatonic intervals.

This series is all about understanding intervals.

Types of Chords Available on Ukulele

The types of chords possible on ukulele include open position chords, movable form chords, 4-part chords, a.k.a. jazz chords and free from chords.

Open Position Chords

These are the basic first chords most players learn. There're the chords in the first one, two, three and fours frets of the ukulele and include at least one open string.

Basic Movable Form Chords

Sometimes called "barre" chords, these chords are the basic open position chords that venture beyond the third fret and do not include open strings.

4-part Contemporary Chords, a.k.a. Jazz Chords

Beyond basic open position chords and basic movable form chords these are the core set of 4-part chords that are used to build ALL your contemporary, more advanced chords. Commonly called "Jazz" chords these are the chords where the knowing how principles of how chords are constructed and your knowledge of the names of the notes of the ukulele fingerboard offer the most benefit to using and expanding your chord vocabulary. From these core chords you can create all those crazy named chords such as: 9#11, 7#5-9, 13b5, 7+9 - and on the fly as needed.

Free Form Chords

Free Form chords are those chords that do not fall into one of the above categories. They typically don't show up in chord dictionaries or software programs. You can create these chords when you know the notes of the ukulele fingerboard, know how chords are constructed and know the names of the notes the chord and the intervals that make up the chord.

Traditional and Contemporary Triads

Somewhere in the mix of the above four chord categories, triads should be explored. Triads are the foundation of most chords. They are amazing versatile chords that can be used harmonically as chords or melodically in solos. The student and the type of music determines

A triad is a three note chord. In traditional chord theory there are four traditional triad chord types: major, minor, diminished and augmented. And four contemporary triad chord types: sus2, sus4, add2 and add9.

Triads can be used harmonically, as chords and melodically, as single notes. Triads are a great way to get started with creating melodic solos and improvising.

In my personal and teaching experience triads are the first real challenging chords after the basic open position chords and movable basic chords. I personally found them even harder that the 4-part "jazz" chords.

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When any song here can be used for the concepts in the lessons.

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