Learning Augmented Chords On The Piano Is Easy
Good morning, this is Duane. Today, I’d like to take a look at augmented chords. We’ve been looking at the chord formation, such as major chords and minor chords. The next in the series is augmented chords. An augmented chord is made up of a major third. In other words, one, two, three four half steps, from there to there, and then another major third, one, two, three, four.
C-augmented is like that. Notice, it’s easy because once you know a C-major chord you just raise the fifth a half step … whatever that position that chord is in though. In other words, it could be upside-down. You wouldn’t raise the top note. You would raise the fifth which is right there. That’s an inversion of that … or if you’re playing C up there, where would C-augmented be? Yes you’d raise the fifth. It’s always the fifth that is raised a half step no matter what inversion you’re in.
Let’s go through the 12 major chords and make each one of them augmented. C, C-augmented, F, F-augmented, G, G-augmented, D, D-augmented, E … now, where is E-augmented? There’s no black key to the right of B so we have to play what looks like a white key. It is a white key, but that’s known as B-sharp. You’re raising a half step from B to B-sharp. You can’t call it C. That would confuse other musicians. You’ve got to call it B-sharp.
Here’s the A-major chord. Where is A-augmented? Right, you raise E up to E-sharp. Not F, E-sharp. Here’s the E chord. How do you make that augmented? Sure raise the B up to C. I guess I already did that didn’t I? All right, the next chord is F-sharp major or you can call it G-flat major. That’s an inharmonic note. In other words, you call it F-sharp or G-flat. There’s the chord, the major chord.
To make it augmented, you raise the fifth a half step. You raise it from C-sharp to … What do you call that? You can’t call it D. What do you got to call it? You got to call it C-double sharp. If you’re not familiar with the notation for a double sharp, it’s like a fat X. You’ll see that in music sometimes a fat X. That is G-flat augmented. Here’s the B-major chord. You’d raise F-sharp up to … Is it G? No F-double sharp. Raise the fifth a half step … and you can’t call it G. You have to call it F-double sharp.
Finally, the B-flat chord … You raise F up a half step to F-sharp. This time, let’s go through it, and let’s play the major chord, the minor chord and the augmented chord. Remember, a major chord is a root third fifth of a major scale. To make it minor you lower the third. To make an augmented chord you raise the fifth.
I’m going to go through all 12 major chords now and do that. C-major, C-minor, C-augmented … F-major, F-minor, F-augmented … G-major, G-minor, G-augmented … D-major, D-minor, D-augmented … E-major, E-minor, E-augmented … A-major, A-minor, A-augmented … D-flat major, D-flat minor, D-flat augmented … E-flat major, E-flat minor, E-flat augmented … A-flat major, A-flat minor, A-flat augmented … G-flat major, G-flat minor, G-flat augmented … B-major, B-minor, B-augmented … B-flat major, B-flat minor, B-flat augmented.
There’s 12 major chords. There’s 12 minor chords because you make a minor chord out of a major chord. That’s 24. How many augmented chords are there? That’s right 12. 3 times 12 is what? 36 so we’ve learned 36 chords so far. Tomorrow, we’ll take up diminished triads and we’ll have 48 chords that should be under your belt. Practice those with your left hand as well as your right hand. Major, minor augmented, major, minor augmented, major, minor, augmented and so on. Just go through with hands alone and then hands together.
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