Harmony When notes are played together at the same time it is called harmony



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The De Montfort School

GCSE Music – Harmony and Tonality - Chords




Harmony
When notes are played together at the same time it is called harmony. Two or more notes sounding together are known as a chord. Not every instrument can play chords, common ones that can are guitar and piano.
Chords that sound nice are known as concords; these make music that is consonant where the notes blend well together. Those that have notes that clash and sound disgusting (!) are called discords and these sort of chords create dissonant music.
Triads
A good way of making concords is to play triads. A triad is a chord of three notes built on a root note, a 3rd and a 5th. There are four main types of triad:


  • Major

  • Minor

  • Diminished

  • Augmented

All triads are built using 3rds. There are two types of 3rd, major 3rds and minor 3rds and these can be worked out by counting semitones.




  • A semitone is the smallest interval between notes, like C to C#.

  • A major 3rd is four semitones, like C to E.

  • A minor 3rd is three semitones, like E to G.








Major chords are made of a major 3rd and a minor 3rd. They sound ‘happy’ or ‘positive’.


  • The major 3rd goes between root and 3rd, like C to E. Remember, count 4 semitones.

  • The minor 3rd goes between 3rd and fifth, like E to G. Remember, count 3 semitones. Major chords are just labelled with upper case letters, like C or G.


Minor chords are made of a minor 3rd and a major 3rd. They sound ‘sad’ and ‘sinister’.


  • The minor 3rd goes between root and 3rd, like C to E. Remember, count 4 semitones.

  • The major 3rd goes between 3rd and fifth, like Eto G. Remember, count 4 semitones. Minor chords are labelled with a lower case ‘m’ after the chord, like Cm or Gm.


Diminished chords are made of two minor 3rd intervals. They sound ‘spooky’ or ‘mysterious’.


  • The minor 3rd goes between root and 3rd, like C to E. Remember, count 3 semitones.

  • The minor 3rd goes between 3rd and fifth, like Eto G. Remember, count 3 semitones.

  • They are labelled with lower case ‘dim’, like Cdim, or with a ‘ o ’ symbol, like C o.


Augmented triads are made of major 3rd and a major 3rd. They tend to sound a bit ‘jazzy’.


  • The major 3rd goes between root and 3rd, like C to E. Remember, count 4 semitones.

  • The major 3rd goes between 3rd and fifth, like E to G#. Remember, count 4 semitones.

  • They are labelled with lower case ‘aug’, like Caug, or with a ‘ + ’ symbol, like C +.




Harmony Keywords: Give a definition for these harmony keywords. Learn them!

Chord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Discord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Dissonant
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Concord

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Consonant
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Interval
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Major Chord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Minor Chord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Diminished Chord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Augmented Chord
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Semitone
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Triad
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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