The Augmented Triad

augmented triad on keyring
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Other Names:

Augmented Chord

Symbols & Abbreviations:

+, aug

Scales:

Melodic Minor, Whole Tone

Set Class:

(048)

The augmented triad has the interesting quality of inverting onto itself—that is, if you take the triad in root position, and put the bottom note on the top, you get another augmented triad in root position. As a result of this, there are only four unique augmented triads in the chromatic scale. This limited palate likely contributes to the fact that it’s not used nearly as often as major or minor triads. When it is used, it’s often moving between major and minor triads. There are two common uses: as a V chord replacement, like in the opening of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling,” and as a transition, as found in the Gospel number “Oh Happy Day,” which employs a #I+ chord to move from I to ii on the second “Oh happy day.” 

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