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Major triad question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dabassr, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. dabassr

    dabassr Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    After years of avoiding it, I'm finally making the commitment to learn to read music and gain at least a basic understanding of theory. I'm working with intervals and triads and am missing something, pretty basic I would guess. I understand that a Major triad is a three note cord consisting of a 5th divided into two thirds, a Major 3rd and a minor 3rd. But considering for example a C Major triad, this would be C E & G. I can see why C to E is a M3rd, but how is E to G a minor 3rd. I thought a minor interval was a Major lowered, which I would think would be a G flat, not a G.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The interval between an E and an F is a half-tone, which is why the minor third is E-G.

    This is easier to see if you have a piano keyboard handy.
  3. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    E to G is a minor 3rd because there are 3 semi-tones. Going from E to Gb/F# would be a major 2nd, I believe.

    EDIT: Ah, Christopher is quicker than I am :)
  4. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    Actually, going from E to F# would be a minor 2nd, but going from E to Gb would be a diminished 3rd! :eek: ;) (really, it is!)

    Here's a quick and dirty on intervals (for more, do a search for my thread on intervals from a few months ago):

    From any letter to the next letter (A to B, C to D, and so on) is a second. The quality of that second is determined by how far you must go, for example A to B is a whole step (or tone) and is a major 2nd, while A to Bb is a half step and is a minor 2nd. In the same way, A# to B would be a minor 2nd, as it's also a half step. Of course, if you wanted to take it to an extreme, A# to Bb is technically STILL a 2nd, even though they're the same pitch, but that's an extreme example.

    An easy way to figure out intervals beyond 2nds is to refer to a major scale: All the intervals above the 1st scale degree or root (same note) are either major intervals or perfect intervals. Then any variation is easy to detect and name. Here's an example:

    E major scale:
    E F# G# A B C# D# E

    From E to F# is a major 2nd
    From E to G# is a major 3rd
    From E to A is a perfect 4th
    From E to B is a perfect 5th
    From E to C# is a major 6th
    From E to D# is a major 7th
    From E to E is a perfect octave

    Applying this to dabassr's original question, you will see that the interval of a major 3rd above the note E is G#. So, if we lower G# by one half step (making it G natural, just plain 'ol G) we get E to G which is a minor 3rd. Hope that helped.
  5. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA

    Haha......I came back online just because of my reply. It was bothering me ever since I had signed off. Thanks for the correction (and enlightenment) for the diminished 3rd Gard!

    But, just to clarify, isn't E - F# a major second? (Your first sentence states minor, while the chart below says major.)

    Thanks again.

    EDIT: typos......need sleep.....
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
  7. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    Yup, you got me timbre! :p ;)

    ...it had been a LONG day: Work from 10-7 (no real "lunch break"), gave a lesson after work (yo DRC, get ya azz to werk!), 7:15-8:15; then a rehearsal/band meeting from 8:30-midnight. I was fried by the time I sat at the computer, didn't proofread very well.

    I need a vacation!!! :eek:
  8. dabassr

    dabassr Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2002
    Thanks for the reply guys, I guess I was trying to get intervals from scale degrees, when they should be determined from half tones. This will sink in eventually - I hope. Thanks again,
    Doug Adams - TX
  9. I think you've got it. Intervals are purely measures of distance, like inches or feet. An interval is nothing more than the distance from point A to point B. The distance between any two notes can always be specified in terms of distance, regardless of what their particular functions and degrees in a scale might be.
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't know, it might actually be better to get triads from scale degrees.
  11. IMO, *triads* yes, intervals no.
  12. About figuring it out from scales, for example, to get a major triad, take the root, third note and 5th note from the major scale.

    To get a minor triad, take the third note and the 5th note from the minor scale.

    That simple.
  13. chrisbs


    Jan 12, 2002
    In the key of E, g sharp appears.
    E to G sharp is a major third
    E to g natural is a minor third