The Architecture of Music


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The Root Position Chords

When the ascending third note is continued throughout the entire octave, all the root position chords are created. Every chord found in research with the exception of two, the augmented triad and diminished triad, contained the note seven semitones away from the bass note higher in pitch or a perfect 5th interval. In chords, the lowest note played with a perfect 5th interval with another note defines the root note. In the chords below, since the root note is the bass note (indicated by the circle) they 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 sus2 (s2) is equivalent to two semitones and the aug4 (+4) is equal to six semitones.

Root Position Chords Interval Diagrams