Triads

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A triad consists of three notes: a root, a third, and a fifth. Let’s look at a major triad first. It’s composed of a root, a 3rd, and a 5th (1, 3, 5). Triads like this are built by stacking thirds on top of one another. The distance between 1 and 3 is a third, and the distance between 3 … Read More

Inverted Intervals

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So far we’ve only talked above ascending intervals, or intervals whose “base” or “root” note is the lower one. But what if the root note is the higher of the two notes? Then you get something called an “inverted” interval. The formula to figure out an inversion is: 9 – (interval) = (inverted interval). However, once you’ve found the new … Read More

Compound Intervals

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Intervals that span a distance greater than an octave are called “compound intervals.” You can find out their number by adding 7 to the interval regular. Ex.: a “10th” is the distance of a 3rd an octave higher (3 + 7 = 10). We add 7 because there are 7 notes in a scale. This may seem confusing because a … Read More

The Minor Scale Expanded

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First let’s refresh the natural minor scale formula. Where “^” denotes a half-step, the formula is: 1 2^b3 4 5^b6 b7 1. However, there are two very common variations of the minor scale: harmonic and melodic. The simple explanation is that they lead better to the root note (the “1” of a scale). Here’s what harmonic minor sounds like: And … Read More

Interval Basics

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The word “interval” refers to the distance between two notes. The basic intervals are: Unison, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and octave. Each interval can be raised or lowered. We can divide the intervals into two groups: Group 1: Unison, 4th, 5th, and octave Group 2: 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th. Intervals in the first group are called “perfect.” … Read More