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Play Piano by chords - Augmented Chords

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In order to play chords on the piano we have to get familiar with four basic chord types: The major and minor chords, the diminished and the augmented chords. In this page we're gonna talk about the augment chords (If you want to start from the beginning just click here.)

In the previous chapter we saw that if we take the major chords and we lower the middle note and the upper note in half a tone we get two intervals of small thirds. That chord is called "A Diminished Chord."

But what happens if we create a chord of two major 3rds?
Well, if we take C major, then we already have a major third between the root note (C) and the middle note (E). All we need to do is raise the upper note in half a note (From G to G#). This Chord is called "An Augmented Chord."

The intervals of C augmented.

The augmented chords as opposed to the diminished chord has a wide sound. I guess you can call it "spacey". The two major thirds create a tension which is expressed in music differently then in the diminished chords.

When you play piano by chords you'll find that the augmented chords have a few functions in music. We're not going to explain them here fully because I'd like us to get to playing piano instead of talking forever.

For now you should know that the augmented chords can function as passing chords that provide an extra tension in harmony progressions or to support the melody when it contains the raised fifth note (G# in C augmented).
If you don't get it don't worry we'll get to it later.

Here's a list of all twelve major chords

A chord list of all augmented chords.

And here's a printable version of the augmented chord chart.

It's interesting to realize that E augment C augmented and G# augmented contain the same notes. They are actually one chord in different positions. That's because the two major thirds create an inner symmetry whitin an octave.

To conclude one can say that we have only for augmented chords in music.

C augmented = E augmented = G# augmented

C# augmented = F augmented = A augmented

D augmented = F# augmented = A# augmented

D# augmented = G augmented = B augmented

This brings us to our next subject on chord playing, the inversions. Click here to learn about chord inversions.

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