Cool Things You Can Do With Augmented Triads.
If you don’t know the augmented chord and arpeggio fingerings yet, you can check these out in following blogs:
Here are some more useful augmented chord fingerings
We’ll cover some uses of these chords here:
- Add new exciting colors to chord progressions adding augmented chords.
Am C+ G Gm Dm Fm C
- As a modulation tool to modulate to the relative minor scale.
To modulate from a major key to its relative minor key, you could use the Iaug as a pivot chord to modulate into the relative minor.
Following chord progression shows a modulation from the key of C into the key of A minor via a Caug triad. (Which for reasons explained later, would be better called Eaug in the following chord progression).
C | F | G | C | C+ | Am | Dm (etc. in the key of Am from here)
Looking at this example a little closer, Caug (or C+) really is also an Eaug chord.
Remember that the augmented triad is a symmetrical chord.
One of the features of symmetrical chords is that due to the equal spacing between all the notes, there is no set root.
Another way of saying this is that every note in the chord is the root.
Yet another way of explaining this is that a C+ chord is also at the same time an E+ chord and a G#+ chord.
In the above example, it would have been better to call the C+ chord, an E+ chord instead.
E+ makes more sense as a chord name in that example because it resolves down a 5th to the Am chord.
As such: the E+ serves as an E dominant chord with augmented 5th, resolving down to the new I chord of the new key which is A minor, making for a smooth modulation from the key of C to the key of A minor.
- On the V Chord.
The V chord in a scale is called “the dominant” for a reason. It is the chord in the scale that has the most tension and that wants to resolve back to the first chord of the scale.
The more tension a chord has, the sweeter the resolution sounds.
One of the ways you can “augment” (pardon the pun) the tension in the already tense V chord, is by making the V chord a V+ chord.
As in: I | V+ ||
In the key of C, the V chord is G.
Instead of playing a regular G chord in your C major songs, you could play G+ chords instead.
Always fun to discover and use new colors.
A great example is the intro to Stevie Wonder’s “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, which alternates between I and V+ in the key of B
It goes from 2 bars I chord (B) to 2 bars V chord F#
B | B | F#aug | F#aug |
- As a line cliche.
The following example shows how you can walk from the I chord to the V chord via a line cliche.
The line cliche, in this case, is an ascending line moving up chromatically from the note
G, the 5th in the C chord, to the note
G#, the #5 in the C+ chord, to the note
A, the 6th in the C6 chord, to the note
Bb, the b7th in the C7 chord.
That C7 chord resolves down a 5th to the F chord, as dominants always do.
||: C | C+ | C6 | C7 | F | Fm | C | G :||
In this above example, the line cliche happens on the I chord, as a walk up to the IV chord in that key.
That same line cliche can also be applied to the V chord.
This is a fun way to walk from a V chord to a I chord.
Following example in the key of F, shows this:
F | Bb | C C+ | C6 C7 | F ||
In this chord progression, the 5th moves up to the #5th to the 6th to the b7th.
- As a Passing Chord
F | F#aug | Gm | C |
F | F#aug | Bb | C7 |
- In Harmonic Minor, Harmonic Major and Melodic Minor Scale Chord Progressions.
The 3rd chord in harmonic and melodic minor is a bIII+ chord.
The following example is a chord progression in A harmonic minor
A-maj7 | Caug | Dm | E7 |
In the harmonic major scale, the 6th chord is bVI+
The following example is a chord progression in C harmonic major
| C | G | Ab+ | C ||
- As an approach chord.
In the following example, the Am chord is approached from an augmented triad a half step below.
| C | Ab+ | Am | F |
- Improvise over 7#5 and maj7#5 Chords.
Any time you have a chord with an augmented 5th, you can use the augmented triad arpeggio to solo over that chord.
Hit me up anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to send you fun backing tracks to solo over with these arpeggios.
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