The Architecture of Music


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The Root Position Chords

Every chord found in research with the exception of two (the augmented triad and diminished triad) contained the note seven semitones (a perfect 5th interval) above the bass note. It thus became logical to find all the possible combinations of a 3rd note with a P5th and that is what the diagram below depicts. When the 3rd note is continued to ascend (see previous page) from the bass note up to the octave combined with a P5th interval, all the 2 and 3-note root position chords are created. In chords, the lowest note played which has a note a perfect 5th interval above it defines the root note. In the chords below, since the root note (indicated by the circle) is the bass note these chords are in the root position. Study the names of the intervals below along the right side of the interval diagrams to understand how many semitones each interval represents. For instance, the maj2 (M2) is equivalent to two semitones and the aug4 (+4) is equal to six semitones.

Root Position Chords