Learn piano online - the augmented chord played on the piano creates a "space-like" effect that makes you feel like the Martians are coming! At least I think it does. That's a great thing about music - different sounds affect different people in their own unique ways. Some might say the augmented chord has somewhat of an "open" sound. Once you play it, you decide for yourself.
Let's get a handle on playing the augmented triad, shall we?
If you have not already learned the major triad, please do so here first If you've done that, great! Let's continue...
This is going to be so very easy for you! Play a C Major triad on your piano or keyboard with two hands. Now, see that last note in the chord? The third one, which is furthest to the right (in this case, "G.") Just raise it one half step and you're good to go!
So, that's all there is to it. Simply take that thumb in the left hand and pinkie in the right and move them to the black key just to the right of the key you're on. Yes, you are using the same fingerings as with the major triad (and other triads).
Since there is a black key involved with this chord, you'll want to move your hands slightly inward (toward the back of the keys) so that the finger in each hand playing a black key can easily sit on it, without your hand position becoming "distorted" or uncomfortable. Your hand should remain straight, not twisted to the left or right.
Now play the chord. Oooooooo... Augmented!
Here is a short audio sample of the C Augmented triad being played, first in the left hand position shown above, then the right hand position, then both at the same time:
A little fun: If you play the chord with one key at a time, from lowest note to highest, while holding down the sustain pedal (on acoustic piano, pedal furthest to the right), you get a very interesting sound (that sound I was referring to as "space-like" earlier).
Naturally, I encourage you to play around with this chord as we did with the major triad, playing the notes separately up and down, playing the chords together, and having fun with
What's this? Do I hear space men approaching? I hear them... uhmmmm... but I don't see them... wait, here they are...
Cool effect, eh? Here's how to play it:
Hold the sustain pedal down. Now, play the C augmented triad one key at a time from left to right. Then play the D augmented chord. Then play the E augmented triad... then the E augmented... now the F# augmented... of course you could keep going further...kind of "spacy," don't you think? The augmented chord really is unique!
1) Choose the name of the augmented you want to play (C augmented)
2) Play the major chord of the same name (C Major)
3) Raise the highest key one half step
There you go! I encourage you to play more of these. That way, you can play some additional sound effects like the one we just did together.
There are 12 augmented triads altogether. Interestingly enough, however, you will see that all twelve are not completely unique. We'll get into this another time, but maybe you will discover this on your own as well.
For now, let's take a moment look a little closer at this augmented chord. Play the C Augmented triad again on your piano or keyboard. Look at the intervals (spaces) between the keys. Do you see that they have equal spacing? In other words, there are four half steps between the C and the E. There are also four half steps between the E and the G#.
Isn't that interesting? Four half steps followed by another four half steps. So, another way to look at how to play any augmented triad on the piano: simply play the name of the chord you want to play and count up four half steps, then another four half steps and abracadabra! You have an augmented chord!
How about having some fun with our ears now...
Play any major chord you know well now. Then play the minor chord of the same name... then diminished... then augmented (C Major... C Minor, etc.) how would you describe the different sound textures?
Play major... then augmented. Then play minor... then diminished. Mix it up some more. Play diminished... then augmented. Reverse the order... you get the idea. Have fun with sound!
Below are four short sound samples. Click on one and see if you can identify which of the four basic triads you are hearing. Is it major? minor? diminished? augmented? Then follow up with the other three.
The answers are below, but don't scroll down until you've played this game above.
When you get them right, give yourself a pat on the back for good listening. When you get them wrong, give yourself a pat on the back for the great progress you are making, since you are learning to get better and better at making sound distinctions.
The first example furthest to the left is G Major. The second is G Augmented. The third is G Minor. The last is G Diminished.
Listen to them again and again - go to your piano or keyboard and play them some more on your own.
Remember, friend, the process of training the ear must involve your giving yourself permission to make lots of errors. In order to learn what a particular chord quality sounds like, for instance, you must also learn what it does not sound like.
You're doing absolutely great! Just keep having fun with this. I say that a lot throughout the site, as you may have noticed. The reason? Because that's the bottom line to all this - fun. Also, when it comes to training your musical ears, you will find that your ears are much more receptive when you have a mind set of wanting to have fun.
I have had a lot of fun with presenting the augmented chord to you and hope that you will take it upon yourself to play with all four of the basic chords more and more, since your confidence on the piano will skyrocket in proportion to how much you enjoy yourself at it!
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