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Thread: The augmented chord

  1. #1
    dwest2419
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    The augmented chord

    Hi guys back with another thread. Anyway, I just had this question that was on my mind. Which chord family does an augmented chord belong to Tonic, or Sub-dominant, or Dominant? For I know vii* diminished chord belong to the dominant chord family but what about an augmented chord.

  2. #2
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Dominant... sorta.

    Dominants can have augmented fifths.
    Also, in melodic or harmonic minor one can build an augmented III chord that resolves nicely to the tonic.

    Ex: C+ to Am
    Code:
    G#->--A
    E-->--E
    C-->--C
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    Dominant... sorta.

    Dominants can have augmented fifths.
    Also, in melodic or harmonic minor one can build an augmented III chord that resolves nicely to the tonic.

    Ex: C+ to Am
    Code:
    G#->--A
    E-->--E
    C-->--C
    Right - which works (arguably) because C+ is enharmonic with E+ (E-G#-B#) which is an altered dominant (V) chord in A minor.

    V7 chords in minor keys do often have augmented 5ths, but of course the b7 confirms their dominant function. The III chord in harmonic and melodic minor has a maj7, which makes it more ambiguous. So while Cmaj7#5 can resolve in pseudo-dominant fashion to Am, it also resolves in pseudo-secondary dominant fashion to F - again, despite the lack of a b7.
    Last edited by JonR; 01-04-2013 at 10:42 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Right - which works (arguably) because C+ is enharmonic with E+ (E-G#-B#) which is an altered dominant (V) chord in A minor.

    V7 chords in minor keys do often have augmented 5ths, but of course the b7 confirms their dominant function. The III chord in harmonic and melodic minor has a maj7, which makes it more ambiguous. So while Cmaj7#5 can resolve in pseudo-dominant fashion to Am, it also resolves in pseudo-secondary dominant fashion to F - again, despite the lack of a b7.
    I've put aug chords in major keys as well. It showcases the walking motion 5-#5-3 in the case of triads)

    or #5 to 5 or 6 when dealing with sevenths/ninths (6/9s included)

    While enharmonic is correct, I believe the term you're looking for is symmetrical. Diminished chords (triads and both types of likewise 7s) are as well.

    In case, you're looking to point out the "error" regarding half-dims (I can sense it).

    Am7b5 (half-dim) vs. Cm6

    While they are not "purely symmetrical," if you consider the context since m6s are indeed half-dims in first inversion (6/5). Same can be said for Am7/C6 as C6 is still Am7. Again, one must notate the figured bass (6/5) to avoid confusion.

  5. #5
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Right - which works (arguably) because C+ is enharmonic with E+ (E-G#-B#) which is an altered dominant (V) chord in A minor.

    V7 chords in minor keys do often have augmented 5ths, but of course the b7 confirms their dominant function. The III chord in harmonic and melodic minor has a maj7, which makes it more ambiguous. So while Cmaj7#5 can resolve in pseudo-dominant fashion to Am, it also resolves in pseudo-secondary dominant fashion to F - again, despite the lack of a b7.
    That's why I said 'sorta'-it certainly shares more with dominants than with tonic, subdominant or mediant chords.

    And in minor III can serve as a sub for V.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  6. #6
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    That's why I said 'sorta'-it certainly shares more with dominants than with tonic, subdominant or mediant chords.

    And in minor III can serve as a sub for V.
    Common Tones - specially when it comes to inversions; however, as JonR also point some subs won't always work. ii/iii/V for I. However, if either or both chords are extended, then then the subs will work.

    ii and V can sub if the V is a 7 or 9; likewise, V can sub for ii seeing how ii can act as a dominant. "Psuedo-dominant as Jon called it)

    iii can sub for V because of the TP relationship - in lamens terms - common tones as mentioned in the first point. (ie: you can place an Em for G, This would be iii for V in C, but not G for Em in certain situations unless it's a Em7 or 9 which means the I (C) would need to also be a Maj7/9 for it to clearly work)

    Here's an example where subbing works, not necessarily extending the I:

    C-Em-F-G-C. C and Em share the CTs - E, G

    C-Em-F-Em-C. The first Em works, but the second one not so much though iii can swap for V; however, the I-iii-IV-iii-I a case where it doesn't (at least not very well).

    C(M7/9)-Em7-F(M7)-Em7-G7-CMaj7. Both iiis works - even better that there's a V after the second iii (and note how the iii and I chords are extended as is the IV (though it didn't have to be. It was because it made the transition to iii smoother) (I-iii-IV-iii-V-I)

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    I've put aug chords in major keys as well. It showcases the walking motion 5-#5-3 in the case of triads)
    Yes - that would be a similar "sorta" secondary dominant function, as All_Ľour_Bass puts it.[/quote]

    While enharmonic is correct, I believe the term you're looking for is symmetrical.[/quote]Well, it's both. I did mean enharmonic, because I was saying that's why C+ functions the same as E+ (in resolving to Am): C being enharmonic with B# on an E+ chord.
    But of course, that's because the chord is symmetrical .
    Quote Originally Posted by Color of Music View Post
    Diminished chords (triads and both types of likewise 7s) are as well.

    In case, you're looking to point out the "error" regarding half-dims (I can sense it).

    Am7b5 (half-dim) vs. Cm6

    While they are not "purely symmetrical," if you consider the context since m6s are indeed half-dims in first inversion (6/5). Same can be said for Am7/C6 as C6 is still Am7. Again, one must notate the figured bass (6/5) to avoid confusion.
    Well, being "not purely" symmetrical means they are not symmetrical at all . If it's not exact, then it isn't symmetry.
    m7b5s and m6s are inversions of each other, symmetry doesn't come into it.

  8. #8
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Yes - that would be a similar "sorta" secondary dominant function, as All_Ľour_Bass puts it.

    While enharmonic is correct, I believe the term you're looking for is symmetrical. Well, it's both. I did mean enharmonic, because I was saying that's why C+ functions the same as E+ (in resolving to Am): C being enharmonic with B# on an E+ chord.
    But of course, that's because the chord is symmetrical .
    Well, being "not purely" symmetrical means they are not symmetrical at all . If it's not exact, then it isn't symmetry.
    m7b5s and m6s are inversions of each other, symmetry doesn't come into it.
    This is true. I just noted how one could see symmetry when it doesn't exist. Now, that I think about it, this has to do more so with intervals. Major thirds for aug triads (R-3, 3-#5) only and minor thirds for both dim types. (R-b3, b3-b5; R-b3, b5, bb7)

    See? they are important to know.

    But again, you're correct. The way I worded it in my head came out wrong. I do that alot, Thanks for the clarification
    Last edited by Color of Music; 01-13-2013 at 09:56 PM.

  9. #9
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    4 categories, 3 chord types

    You have Major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords. Now, there are three "types". Type 1: Major Type 2: minor Type 3: Dominant.

    Augmented and diminished chords are best used in place of dominant 7th chords. Typically I would use an augmented chord as a turnaround on the 5 chord but you can use it in other places.

    The diminished chord I use also as a 5 chord replacement. Like a II V I in C Major.... The Dminor7 is the II A dominant is the V and the I is C Major.

    Instead of playing Dminor7 to A dominant to C, I would play D minor7, D diminished 7, then C Major. The diminished chord simply becomes a chord sub for the A dominant. It becomes A 7b9.

  10. #10
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929 View Post
    You have Major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords. Now, there are three "types". Type 1: Major Type 2: minor Type 3: Dominant.

    Augmented and diminished chords are best used in place of dominant 7th chords. Typically I would use an augmented chord as a turnaround on the 5 chord but you can use it in other places.

    The diminished chord I use also as a 5 chord replacement.
    If you're talking triads, the dimished chord can have a subdominant function (in minor) as well as a dominant function (in either major or minor).
    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929 View Post
    Like a II V I in C Major.... The Dminor7 is the II A dominant is the V and the I is C Major.
    Er, you mean "G dominant"?
    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929 View Post
    Instead of playing Dminor7 to A dominant to C, I would play D minor7, D diminished 7, then C Major. The diminished chord simply becomes a chord sub for the A dominant. It becomes A 7b9.
    G7b9
    And technically it's Bdim7 (B D F Ab), not Ddim7 which is strictly D F Ab Cb and comes from Eb minor.
    Of course the chord's symmetry means it doesn't matter too much how you spell it (it sounds the same whatever name you give it it, or whatever note you make the bass) . It's just that the right enharmonic spelling reveals the derivation. Bdim7 - in your context - is borrowed from the parallel key, C minor; that's why it works.

    Also, you're adding a diminished 7th to the dim triad, and you're right dim7 chords have a dominant function - either as vii chords or rootless 7b9s.
    It's when you add a minor 7th that they can have either function.
    So Bm7b5 can resolve to C (as vii chord, or rootless G9). But it can also be used as a ii chord in A minor (subdominant function), going to E7 and then Am.
    Last edited by JonR; 01-08-2013 at 09:44 AM.

  11. #11
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Even in plain aeolian minor III (ex: Cmaj > Am) is often used in place of V (Em or E > Am) and it works, it's just stronger in melodic or harmonic minor, because the note G# is a bigger tension in Am than G is.

    Another good pseudo-dominant use of Aug chords is on the bII of a mjaor or minor key.
    Db+ > C or Bb+ > Am

    They can also be used in place of major chords in some places for a bit of flavor

    Repeatedly switching between the two (maj and aug) on the same root note implies a maj add b6 chord-these work nicely in minor if you need/want to have a major chord without detracting from the 'mood' of minor.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  12. #12
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    Even in plain aeolian minor III (ex: Cmaj > Am) is often used in place of V (Em or E > Am) and it works, it's just stronger in melodic or harmonic minor, because the note G# is a bigger tension in Am than G is.
    Just because C > Am "works" doesn't mean it's anything like a dominant function. It doesn't sound much like Em > Am and even less like E > Am. A plain C triad is simply the mediant, and a move to Am is quite weak, not really a cadence of any kind.
    The G# makes all the difference, because that's the leading tone, the essential element of a dominant-function chord.
    One half-step makes all the difference!
    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    Another good pseudo-dominant use of Aug chords is on the bII of a mjaor or minor key.
    Db+ > C or Bb+ > Am
    Interesting, not heard that before.
    (bII chords do have a strong "pseudo-dominant" function, but usually have a perfect 5th.)
    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    They can also be used in place of major chords in some places for a bit of flavor

    Repeatedly switching between the two (maj and aug) on the same root note implies a maj add b6 chord-these work nicely in minor if you need/want to have a major chord without detracting from the 'mood' of minor.
    These are all interesting ideas, but there's still a crucial difference between a maj and an aug triad. Like I said, one half-step makes all the difference. If we ignore half-step differences between chords, we gloss over a hell of a lot of essential distinctions in music.
    IOW, this is not about what "works nicely", it's about what we call these effects so we don't get out theoretical concepts confused.

    If all we care about is what "works nicely" - and we know how to get those sounds - then we don't need theory at all.
    And I have no quarrel with that!
    Thing is, things can "work" in many different ways, and sometimes it's good to be able to assign different labels to the different kinds of "working" . Neither "work" nor "nice" are very useful as theoretical terms.

  13. #13
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    If all we care about is what "works nicely" - and we know how to get those sounds - then we don't need theory at all.
    And I have no quarrel with that!
    I always thought that was exactly what theory was (well part of it anyway) -what works and how to obtain it.

    Even though the discussion is really about "What 'family' of chords does augmented belong to?" it has turned into "What can one do with them?"
    My ramblings are more tied into that second question.
    I only added that because many people with some basic theory knowledge know what an augmented chord is and how to make one, but they have no idea what they can use use them for-which is why I added that bit at the end.

    Also I wasn't ignoring the difference between major and augmented chords, but pointing out that in certain situations you could swap a maj for an aug for a different flavor.

    I'm not arguing with you btw, I just wanted to clear some things up about what I said, and why I said them.

    This is a good discussion.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  14. #14
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    I always thought that was exactly what theory was (well part of it anyway) -what works and how to obtain it.
    Yes it is! But the idea is to differentiate the sounds carefully and define them separately.
    Otherwise theory books would be full of statements like "this chord change works, ie, sounds nice. And so does this one. This one is maybe a bit less nice; whereas this one is really nice...."
    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    Even though the discussion is really about "What 'family' of chords does augmented belong to?" it has turned into "What can one do with them?"
    My ramblings are more tied into that second question.
    Yes, but you then seemed to be going further and likening augmented chords with major, which is trickier.

    They can be seen (obviously) as major chords with raised 5ths - that will enhance a dominant (or secondary dominant) function if the major chord already has one. Or it can suggest a dominant function by virtue of the augmented chord's symmetry - ie implying a different root.

    So if we start with E > Am and raise the 5th of E, then we get more tension, and an enhanced dominant function (because E is already the dominant).
    If we start with C > Am, and raise the 5th of C, we get an implied dominant function, but that's because C+ is the same notes as E+.
    IOW, the dominant sound is dependent on E being the true root, not C. We have turned a C-root (III) chord into (effectively) an E-root (V) chord.

    IOW, C+ > Am sounds the same (pretty much) as E+ > Am. But in terms of that function, C+ relates to an E triad, not a C triad.
    What I mean is, we understand the sound - in terms of labelling its function anyway - by thinking of the chord as E+ rather than C+.

    I know I'm being pedantic here - but when we talk about music we need to use our language carefully, or risk misunderstanding and talking at cross purposes. We all hear the same sounds. It helps if we give them all the same names .
    The problem is, of course, some sounds are ambiguous and can be heard different ways (that's one of the charms of music ), so the same sound might get given two or more names. Detail and context can help in improving clarity of language,
    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass View Post
    I only added that because many people with some basic theory knowledge know what an augmented chord is and how to make one, but they have no idea what they can use use them for-which is why I added that bit at the end.

    Also I wasn't ignoring the difference between major and augmented chords, but pointing out that in certain situations you could swap a maj for an aug for a different flavor.

    I'm not arguing with you btw, I just wanted to clear some things up about what I said, and why I said them.
    Sure - that's my aim too!

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