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Thread: Augmented 3rd chords! (Help and elaboration?)

  1. #1
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    Augmented 3rd chords! (Help and elaboration?)

    First of all I'm new to the forum, My name is Krystopher Allen, I'm 16, I'm a multi-instrumentalist and aspiring studio engineer.

    (Warning, this was hard for me to word, so it may take some exquisite perception and understanding)

    But for now, i want to talk to someone about Augmented chords. In the title i'm not talking about 3rd interval in a chord for example the E in a C major chord, I'm referring to the 3rd interval in the scale. Ex: The E in the C major scale (Bad Example seeing as i used the same notes as when i was explaining what i'm not referring to...)

    Either way my point is, in this E minor chord (in the C major scale) I've noticed the 5th degree (B) is only a half step under another note in the scale (C) so if we augment this E minor chord, we actually get an inversion of a C major chord (2nd Inversion)

    Is there something i'm missing? something you want to add? This feels accurate but i'm scared i'm wrong! Leave any input you have
    Last edited by CrispSword56; 10-22-2017 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Did not mean to post yet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by motherlode View Post
    @CrispSword56

    It would be helpful for you to learn the common harmonic nomenclature ... making it easy for anyone to understand, and address your concerns in a clear and concise manner.

    Where do i start? (If you understand what point i'm trying to make, can you help with the wording?)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispSword56 View Post
    Either way my point is, in this E minor chord (in the C major scale) I've noticed the 5th degree (B) is only a half step under another note in the scale (C) so if we augment this E minor chord, we actually get an inversion of a C major chord (2nd Inversion)

    Changing E-G-B into E-G-C does change the chord from E minor (root position) to C major (first inversion).

    But neither of these is an augmented chord; that's something else.
    Chords are typically constructed in thirds. In root position, major chords have a major third (C-E) followd by a minor third (E-G).
    Minor chords have a minor third (E-G) followed by a major third (G-B). (See INTERVALS)

    Augmented chords however consist of two major thirds, for example C-E-G#.

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    Chords take their names from their most significant intervals, as measured from the root.

    A "major" chord is one with a major 3rd (half-step bigger than minor);
    A "minor" chord is one with a minor 3rd (half-step smaller than major);
    A "diminished" chord is one with a diminished 5th (half-step smaller than perfect);
    An "augmented" chord is one with an augmented 5th (half-step bigger than perfect);

    Major and minor chords each have perfect 5ths, so it's the "larger" or "smaller" 3rds that distinguish them. (That's all "major" and "minor" mean.)
    When the 5th is altered, that's a more significant effect than the nature of the 3rd, hence the dim and aug names.

    A dim chord happens to have a minor 3rd, and an aug chord happens to have a major 3rd, and that's because of their derivation.
    Dim chords come from the vii degree of major (or ii of minor, ad vii of harmonic minor), and in that scale there's a m3 between the root and b5. Eg, D between B and F in key of C (and A minor).

    Aug chords arise from raising the 5th of a major chord - not of a minor chord. As described above, raising the 5th of a minor chord just produces an inverted major chord. So an aug chord always has a major 3rd, because it begins from a major triad.
    Also, the only natural occurrence of an augmented 5th is from the 3rd degree of the harmonic and melodic minor scales, and the 3rd above that is major. (C-E-G# in A harmonic or melodic minor.)
    There is no common scale that runs C-Eb-G# - to give a "minor augmented" chord. C-Eb-G# will sound like C-Eb-Ab = Ab major.

    The interval between 3rd and 5th of any chord is irrelevant in naming it, btw. You only have to consider intervals from the root, which is why the names of 3rd and/or 5th count (and 7ths when it comes to 7th chords).
    Of course, it's handy to know that a dim chord is two stacked m3s, and an aug chord is two stacked M3s. That's an observation rather than an explanation!
    Last edited by Jon68; 10-26-2017 at 01:19 PM.

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    Thank you Jon68 for the suggestion regarding applying major or minor chord. It will be very helpful for us.

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    There is a name for the change from E-G-B to E-G-C which does change the chord from E minor to C major (and similarly the change from C-E-G to C-E-A and the like). It's termed the 5-6 technique and can be used in either direction. The name comes from figured bass manuals in the 18th century (and later) and from older harmonic theory whch based harmony on the bass note not Rameau's fundamental bass theory. Note that the two chords make a fifth or sixth over the bass. In Rameauion theory (I made up the word to expose lots of vowels), the idea works because sixths and thirds are inversions of each other.

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