Augmented Chords- When and Where To Use Them
A good way of using augmented chords is as a chromatic passing chord between a minor chord and its relevant major (IE. C#m, Caug, Emaj, as in the bridge of 'The Beatles' All My Lovin'), you can do the same thing in reverse of course.
The augmented chord is formed by raising the perfect fifth a half step.
Augmented Triad = 1+3+#5
I gleaned some great points from Duane regarding Augmented Chords.
Augmented triads (triads are 3-note chords) are one of the 4 basic chord types, yet they are used very little compared to major and minor chords.
Major Chords = the main meal
Minor Chords = the side dish
Aug/Diminish = the spice
You don’t linger on them, but use them as transition chords between a major and another major chord, or between a major and a minor chord, or sometimes even between two minor chords.
When you play Battle Hymn of the Republic, first chord C, you can use C Aug before you land on the F chord for a nice transition.
Duane has some great photos of augmented chords, their formation in the left hand.
Steps Make Thirds.
Steps make thirds and thirds make chords.
Before you can understand chords, you should first understand thirds. The half step is the interval we will use to make thirds. Half steps are the smallest distance between any two notes. When you play all the half steps it is called the “chromatic scale.” It doesn’t matter if the notes are black or white. For example, the distance between C and C# is a half step. E to F is also a half step.
The following formulas explain how to make thirds:
3 half steps = minor third (m3)
4 half steps = major third (M3)
There are four basic triad chords. All more advanced chords are built on these. So, it is crucial that you understand the following formulas before you try to make more complex chords:
M3 + m3 = Major Triad
m3 + M3 = Minor Triad
m3 + m3 = Diminished Triad
M3 + M3 = Augmented Triad
Learn the Chord Symbols.
If “Eb” is our generic chord, the symbols for each triad would look like this:
Eb Major = Eb
Eb Minor = Ebmin or Ebm or Eb-
Eb Diminished = Ebdim or Eb°
Eb Augmented = Ebaug or Eb+
Moderator of HearandPlay, Hammondman says, "As for the augmented chords you can use them with or in place of 7th chords. 1 to 4 or 5 to 1 etc. The pattern for all augmented chords is simply raise the fifth note of any chord one half step. ex. c chord. C-E-G- raise the G to Ab.[C-E-Ab ] you can also add the seventh note also ex. C chord E-Ab-Bb-C. ALSO TRY ROLLING a D note with the chord. [ E-Ab-bB-D note to C note. This pattern works in any key."
I learned about chord formations from Hear and Play's Audio Chord music resource while on the go! Jermaine Griggs, founder of Hear and Play, teaches volumes of music theory on his Chords Audio 1 and 2
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Read the rest of this story at:
Click Here, Chords (Audio)
(Over 20 minutes of audio lesson clips at the
You'll definitely find this new resource very
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Rush over to HearandPlay and read his entire report.
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Step-by-step, you'll learn:
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Augmented and diminished chords generally show up much less often than any of the others. But when you play an augmented chord, it will definitely add flavor that you need in a song! Arpeggiate an augmented chord over a dom. 7 chord. It will sound great!
Until next time,