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The Bizarre World of Augmented Chords

Let's start with the basics and then gradually introduce a more complex concepts for starters. An augmented. Triad is very easy to build. All you have to do is start on a route like C and then travel four half steps or four Frets and that'll take you to the note E.
And then you just have to travel another four half steps to get to the note G sharp.

Transcription

 Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors.  However, I do hope you find it helpful.   

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For over 10,000 years mankind has pondered the existence of the augmented chord.   

Why is it here? 

What does it want?
And how can anyone use a cord that sounds like this to discover the answers to these questions.   

We must Venture forth into a strange and unfamiliar world the dimension of augmentation.   

Let's start with the basics and then gradually introduce a more complex concepts for starters. An augmented. Triad is very easy to build. All you have to do is start on a route like C and then travel four half steps or four Frets and that'll take you to the note E.
And then you just have to travel another four half steps to get to the note G sharp.
And if you try traveling another four half steps, you'll just end up on a sea again. So the notes C and G sharp are the three notes of a see augmented chord and You can hear all on its own a see augmented chord is not very comfortable.
I think a good way to approach a chord first is just by isolating it quarantining it thinking and try to identify what it sounds like what it feels like can you get a grip on this court? 

 
I wouldn't describe it as bright. I wouldn't describe it as sad it's somewhere in between. It's like this tonal purgatory.
And to me personally. It's very uncomfortable.
It evokes a big floating question mark a real sense of unburned.
Easiness and as a composer when I find a cord that evokes an emotion like that, even an ambiguous emotion, I use that as a composing device a really simple way to use the augmented chord is to just go up and down it and let it be awkward. This is a great way to make something sci-fi and spooky and uncomfortable like the very beginning of this video. That is all I used was nothing but augmented chords because I figured all on their own they have enough weirdness to evoke.
Some really strange emotions.
So a good way to start using augmented chords in the simplest way is to just use them to be weird because they are naturally pretty weird. 

 
However, if you know a little bit of music theory you can go a lot farther than just sounding weird with them.
Hopefully by now, you know that every single major key has seven different chords in it. For example, let's take a look at the Key of a major a major has an A A B minor a c-sharp minor a D major and G major and F sharp minor and a G sharp half diminished.
Those are the seven chords in the key of A.
Hopefully, you also know that the five chord the dominant chord works really well as a way to get back to the one we often hear five to one major to a major. 

 
Sometimes you'll hear it as an E7 instead.
What I'm here to tell you is that we can take the 5 chord and we can make it an augmented chord instead and it'll give us a more colorful and R. It's easier way to get back. To our one chord. So let's build an e augmented Triad. We start on E. We travel 4 half steps. It takes us to the note G sharp. We travel another four half steps. It takes us to the note C.
Technically. We should call that a be sharp, but we're not going to get into that stuff today. And those three notes E G sharp and C.
Give us the notes of Annie augmented chord and G augmented will take us to a major. Do you hear that? He augmented back to a very good resolution. 

 
And to help pop us back into a and it's a little bit chunkier than our normal 521 right are 521 was normally and that's pretty smooth pretty bold pretty clean. This is a little more grotesque the way but I think it's a really fun and interesting way if you haven't heard or played with it before the greatest example of this ever being used is at the very beginning of the Beatles. Oh darling the first thing they serve up for you. Is this grotesque pile? 

 
Of the E augmented chord and then at just the perfect time Paul McCartney comes screaming in in the key of A with the band to hit so long story short, you can always use an augmented chord as your five chord just keep in mind that it is introducing a note that's outside of the key. Like when I play this ee augmented augment that has a c in it or a be sharp and that quote notes not in the key of A. So just be aware of any time you're doing that you're going to have to accommodate for that. Would have to note or that out of key, you know. Now the next step for us will be to add some notes to our augmented Triad. Let's stick around with this e augmented chord for example, which is just an e a g sharp and a c or a be sharp. 

 
And those three notes of the E augmented Triad. What we can do is we can add the flat seventh to that. We could add a denote to that and what we get is a cord called the augmented seventh or we could call it E7 with a sharp 5 both names are suitable for that cord. Art, and once again the serves as a great dominant chord the service is a great way to take us to a major a chunky really tense way to take us back to a major you could also add a major 7th to Yuri augmented Triad. So we've got EG sharp D sharp and D sharp. 

 
And that is a much stranger chord in my opinion and really kind of gets into that total Purgatory. Once again to me. This is one of the strangest chords you can possibly piece together, but it's Lll somehow resolves to a major and you can still use it as a very soon interesting way to get back to your Tonic If You sub it in for your five chord, but you've got quite a bit of out of keenness going on there next. Let's talk about voice leading and how we can get from one chord to another chord by using an augmented Triad voice leading refers to the movement of the notes within the progressions themselves.
And if we look at a simple progression like taking an a major and then augmenting the If that that's really what the word augmented means it means we're taking that Fifth and sharping it and augmenting it up a half step. So we're going from a major which has a C sharp and E. We're augmenting that V. So it becomes an e sharp for an F. If you want to call it that and now we have this natural movement of an E note to an F note and that sort of implies an F sharp Note coming up next. So we have this natural movement within this chord progression that is pulling us to the note f And we could do like an F sharp minor chord there and it completes that passage and after our miners in the key of a right after our miners my six so if I want to get from my one chord to my six chord, I have a really cool way to do that by playing an augmented chord in between and it easily completes that little Gap right there. We could also do it to help get to my four chord. My four chord is D major and that has an F sharp in it. So what if I played a major and then a augmented? 

 
Going to help pull me to D. Major his D major has a high F sharpen. 

 
Once again that voice is leading us to that. Next note in the chord. What about my 2 chord? Right? My 2 chord is B minor B minor has an F sharp in it. So once again a major a augmented helps lead me to be minor with an F sharp in the belly and then I could complete this progression by playing my regular 5 chord E major so a major a augmented be A minor and then the five now, if you remember we can use our five chord we can throw it on mounted cord there instead or we could do an augmented 7th chord instead. So let's do that. Let's play instead of e major. Let's play a augmented seventh or yeah. Yeah argument that seven to help us get back to a and we'll have a major a augmented B minor the augmented seventh back to a and you can hear this is got a lot of old time ritzy flavor to it. It I kind of think of like Ragtime and you know, it's a little bit older when you start getting a lot of augmented chords and I think I like swing music. I don't know maybe I'm miss hearing how much augmented stuff was going on back then but it certainly doesn't feel like modern music when you've got a lot of augmented chords going on. Now one thing you may have picked up on by now is that since there's only three notes in this augmented chord.
And since it's a symmetrical chord, that means there can really only be four different augmented chords if I look at the notes of a see Did they are the exact same notes as Annie augmented and the same notes of the G sharp augmented. The only difference between these chords is what note is on the base. 

 
So a see augmented is Annie augmented and it is a G-sharp augmented and the bass note is really the only thing that determines the order of those notes. Now once you realize that there's only for augmented chords you May challenge yourself to write a piece using all four of them. And here's what I did to complete that challenge starting off with a C major and then immediately augmenting it to play a see augment that will help voice lead. To get to a D minor chord after that I play my five chord, which is just G7 and I augment that and that'll help voice lead me to an E minor which is the three chord from there. I'm going to snap into what I would have played as an A7, but instead of a 7. I'm going to play it as an a augmented to get me to a d chord and once I get to D. It's like I can play the entire chord progression over again just modulated up a whole step. So once again, I'm going to take my tonic and And I'm going to augment it and then I'm going to help take that to my 2 chord which would be E minor and then I'm going to go to my five chord and then augment that and then it's going to take me to my six chord and then the 505 with the five of to to take me to a Brand New Key, which is going to be E major now. So I've got this infinitely modulating chord progression and augmented chords are the main device of modulation right there. Think them as dominant chords and secondary dominant chords now, it's really not convenient for me to play it on the guitar. And I thought it would sound great as like a Ragtime piece. So I sent these cords off to my friend Mike Mowgli and he was able to take these cords and put a pretty good spin on them. He also live stream the whole process. So if you're interested in seeing them work, you can check out the video below.
Now fair warning things are going to get really weird here. The augmented Triad on its own is pretty disconnected. It's pretty uncomfortable. 

 
What if I told you we can have a whole tonality that is built around that. Augmented chord.
Well, we could and if you think about the melodic minor scale, it has an augmented coordinate and we could write in that modal key. Let's take a look at F sharp melodic minor and figure out all those chords and all those notes, but instead of focusing on F sharp minor will focus on is the third chord which is a augmented.
So we're playing the notes of F sharp melodic minor. We're playing the chords of F sharp melodic minor, but it's all being centered.
word around an a augmented Triad and what you get is this scale with a root a second a third a sharp for a Sharp five a six and a seven and a tonic which is just a weird very uncomfortable very Indistinct tonality and openly there's not a lot of use cases for this but if you're in a film score or if you're into like cinematic ambient stuff, I feel this is a very valuable tool to not be in a tonality at all to not be in major or minor. I feel it's so like gross and uncomfortable and weird that you could take the most innocent happy imagery and pair it up with this kind of music and you're going to get creeped out or curved Now there's one last relationship here that I want to bring up about these augmented Triads.
Let's take any augmented Triad like a augmented which is a C sharp and F. I'm going to call it enough.
Now if we pick any note in an augmented Triad like let's pick the F and think about the note that's a half step above it. That's an F sharp. 

 
And if I put F sharp on the bass boom, I've got an F sharp minor and major 7th chord.
All right, and that'll happen at any note in the chord. So once again, here's an a augmented Triad.
Let's pick another note in that Triad which was C sharp a half step above that is the note D.
And if I play a d on the base, I've got the notes of the D minor. Major 7th pretty weird. Right and I could do it on the other note here. The other note my cord was an a a half step above that is the note a sharp or B flat. So if I put a B flat on the base listen, I have the notes of a B-flat minor Major Seventh chord. So when you hear minor major 7th chords and they feel a little augmented to you. There's no questioning why I mean, there's actually augmented Triads within every minor Major Seventh chord so you could really call something like This was that D Minor major 7th, we could call this a augmented /d I just think that's a very you know, sometimes that might be the right way to call it. Sometimes it might not but it is important to keep in mind that any augmented Triad is only one note away from being a minor Major Seventh chord. Now that pretty much does it for me. It's taken me a very long time in my musical career to really get any grasp on augmented and even after all these years this is about all I've got for you they sound weird and Uncomfortable you can use them as dominant chords. Try stacking some other tones on top of them. But this is just the stuff that I've discovered. I really do encourage you to experiment and also check out other lessons on these topics because no one teacher is going to have all the answers and all this tricks for you. But if you enjoy the tricks that I had in this video, please thank my patreon supporters for making these lessons possible without them. These lessons would not exist. If you'd like to join them, you can't there's links Below in the description. But if you don't want to do that, please leave a like or a comment or subscribe all that kind of stuff helps me out. Yep. Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time.




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