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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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The Four Types of Triads

Between them, the four kinds of triads mentioned in this chapter—diminished, minor, major, and augmented—account for all triad types available in the major and minor modes. Mathematically, the four types can be explained by the fact that a triad can be composed of two thirds. Because there are two kinds of third—major and minor—this means there are thus four types of triads (see Figure 17.7).

Figure 17.7. The four types of triads.

A useful rule of thumb to work out any of these four triads from a given note is the semitone rule:

  • Diminished Triad: 3 plus 3 semitones

  • Minor Triad: 3 plus 4 semitones

  • Major Triad: 4 plus ...

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