Theory Abbreviated

This lesson will provide the basics of chords and scales in an abbreviated format. If you would like to learn about these topics in greater detail, click HERE.

Intervals are the basic building blocks of music. The smallest interval is a half step which is the distance from one note to the nearest neighbor.

The next larger interval is a whole step, which is equal to two half steps.

The Major Scale is made of an alternating pattern of whole steps and half steps in the order Whole Whole Half, Whole Whole Whole Half.

A Major Third is equal to two Whole Steps.

A Minor Third is equal to a Whole Step and a Half Step.

A triad is a chord made by taking a scale, choosing a starting pitch, then selecting the 3rd and 5th notes above it.

The members of a triad are named Root, 3rd, and 5th accordingly, after the scale they came from.

A Major Triad has a Major Third from Root to 3rd, a Minor 3rd from 3rd to 5th, and a Perfect 5th from Root to 5th.

A Minor Triad has a Minor Third from Root to 3rd, a Major 3rd from 3rd to 5th, and a Perfect 5th from Root to 5th.

A Diminished Triad has a Minor 3rd from Root to 3rd, a Minor 3rd from 3rd to 5th, and a Diminished (flat) 5th from Root to 5th.

An Augmented Triad has a Major 3rd from Root to 3rd, a Major 3rd from Root to 5th, and an Augmented (sharp) 5th from Root to 5th.

Print out the following worksheet and write in the Root, 3rd, and 5th for every triad in the key of C.

Then for each triad, determine if it is Major, Minor, or Diminished. There are no augmented triads in the key of C.