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How to use triads?

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(@primeta)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 836
Topic starter  

Okay, I think I can figure out how to create triads based on Tom's book, but how do I know which to use over a specific chord progression? ie

Gm, Bb, F, Eb

"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
Steely Dan
"Look at me coyote, don't let a little road dust put you off" Knopfler


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

I'm not sure I understand the question.

If you want to play Gmin then you play Gmin.

If you're asking which inversion or voicing to use, that's a "trial and error" type of thing.

Basic guidelines are that you want to put melody notes in the upper registers, and you want to generally keep the chord forms close together so there's not too much distance between the notes.

So you just want to decide where to play.

For your progression of Gm, Bb, F, Eb you have many many choices.

You could play Gm with the tonic on the 5th string 10th fret, then Bb play 1st inversion using the 4th string 8th fret for the Bb note, then F with the Tonic on 5th string 8th fret, then for the Eb mayb you'd play with the tonic on the 11th fret 6th string.

But that's just one possibilty. The numbers are pretty amazing.

You have 3 inversions for each triad , you can locate them on 20 different string combinations (654, 653, 652, 651, 643, 642, 641, etc. etc. etc.) and each string has almost a 2 octave range, so you have 120 different ways to play each triad.

You have 4 chords in your progression, so there are 120^4 or 207,360,000 ways to play that chord progression using triads.

Of course, not all of them are in fact playable, but an amazingly large number of them are. That's where the creative part of music really comes into play. YOu get to choose how you're going to do it.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@primeta)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 836
Topic starter  

Hmm, I woke up far too early this morning, I'll try again...

I've read of people playing 'triads' over basic chording. And I'm asking how do you know which one. I presume it works out as some kind of chord extension rather than inversion, but I don't know.

"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
Steely Dan
"Look at me coyote, don't let a little road dust put you off" Knopfler


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

There are lots and lots of ways to use triads! Here's a few ideas...

- Since most chord progressions are made up of triads, knowing the actual notes that make up the chords allows you to play the chords in any position. Instead of being limited to a single Gm voicing line 3-5-5-3-3-3, you could play x-x-0-0-11-10 or x-13-x-12-0-15-x, or any of hundreds (literally!) of others.

- Knowing the notes that make up the triad can give you 'target tones' for improvisation. Taking your three chords, Gm Bb Eb, you know there's a Bb in each of those three chords - playing that frequently in your riffs will tie your ideas together over the chords. You could also center Gm and Bb riffs over D, Gm and Eb riffs over G, or Bb and Eb riffs over Bb notes.

- 'Broken' triads are the same as arpeggios... along with scales, these are the basic building blocks of melodies. If the chord is Gm, you could do a two-octave run G-Bb-D-G-Bb-D-G that'll give you a different feeling than a two octave scale run.

- One really neat use of triads: Every chord except a 6/9 chord has a triad for the top three notes. If a piece calls for a D11 chord (D-F#-A-C-E-G), you can jump back and forth from the D11 to C major - a great way to develop unexpected chord substitutions, and melody variations!

So you don't just use a triad in the sense of playing a three-note chord over something... you use your understanding of what makes a chord to navigate - that's really the practical aspect of music theory.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@primeta)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 836
Topic starter  

- One really neat use of triads: Every chord except a 6/9 chord has a triad for the top three notes. If a piece calls for a D11 chord (D-F#-A-C-E-G), you can jump back and forth from the D11 to C major - a great way to develop unexpected chord substitutions, and melody variations!

I think that's the basis for what I've been reading about. So essentially you play a 'triad' over someone elses Gm amd get say a Gm11? And if you played a string of different triads while someone was hammering out the Gm, you'd get a little melody line?

The other info is very useful too. Now just to put it into practice!

"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
Steely Dan
"Look at me coyote, don't let a little road dust put you off" Knopfler


   
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(@hbriem)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 646
 

Ummm, there seems to be a little misunderstanding here.

"Triads" are just the simple major and minor chords.

More complex chords, like 7ths and add11s and sus4s and whatever, are not triads.

An A major "triad" is A-C#-E. As a guitarist (or indeed a bassist), you could play an arpeggio or melody made up of those notes instead of simply strumming the chord.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Primeta, what you've been reading about is probably polychords - where one guitar plays Gm (G-Bb-D) and the other plays F major (F-A-C) and the result is Gm11.

What I'm talking about is where you're simplifying the chords, playing only triads from the top of the chords. For instance, the tune "Bluesette" starts out with Bbmaj7-Am7b5-D7-Gm7-C7-Fm7-Bb7-Ebmaj7... you could simplify that into:

Dm-Cm-F#º-Bb-Eº-Ab-Dº-Gm

You'd then be playing just the triad at the top of each written chord. It's almost exactly the opposite concept as polychords.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@321barf)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 133
 

For instance, the tune "Bluesette" starts out with Bbmaj7-Am7b5-D7-Gm7-C7-Fm7-Bb7-Ebmaj7... you could simplify that into:

Dm-Cm-F#º-Bb-Eº-Ab-Dº-Gm

You'd then be playing just the triad at the top of each written chord.

:D HA HA,do you mean playin those on guitar while the bass or piano holds down the roots of the written chords?


   
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(@paul-donnelly)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Another guitarist could also play the rest of the chord.


   
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(@321barf)
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What's on your ear? Is that? Hair gel?


   
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(@paul-donnelly)
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It's an imp whispering in my ear. I ran across a gallery of old posters and handout cards featuring imps whispering in magicians' ears, and I thought I'd past one into a photo of myself. I don't really like how it turned out, since it's hard to tell what you're looking at.


   
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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

triad = three notes that make a chord.
a chord is three notes. not two. not one.
a chord can be more than three notes.

but a triad is simply a basic chord of three notes.

yes, I agree. knowing the notes that make up all the chords is essential. then they can be played on different areas of the fretboard for different sounding voicings.

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