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  • Writer's pictureTom Glasson

Grade 1:13 - Tonic Triads

Now that we have looked at notes, intervals and scales, we can start to build chords.

We can use the different notes of the scale to create chords, for grade 1, the chords are made of three notes and they’re called triads. Chords are at least 2 notes, they usually have at least 3 but can contain more, sometimes many more.

In grade one, we will only need to make chords from the tonic, the tonic is the first degree of the scale, (So in C, C is the tonic and it will be a C major triad). You can make a chord from any of the notes in the scale and we will get to more in the next grades, for now we are only using the first degree of our Grade 1 scales (C, G, D or F).

The tonic triad we are making is called a major chord, this is one of several chord types, again, we will get to the others in later grades.

The major triad is made from the 1st, 3rd and 5th degree of the scale. This is always the case for major triads. These notes can be played in any order, but for Grade one, they are always in order, 1st, 3rd then 5th. This is called the root position. Nice and easy.

Here are the tonic triads for each of the keys in the syllabus, You will be able to make them in more than one place, using the notes we are looking at within grade 1, both on the treble stave and bass stave.

Tonic Triads

Tonic Triad in C, G, D and F Major

When writing the chords, check whether there is a key signature, if there is not you will need to add the accidental for the F# in D Major. If there is a key signature, don’t include the accidental, they are already marked. This is important in both the exams and real life music!

A Free Gift for you...

Download the Grade 1 Music Theory Workbook - An Introduction to Music Theory for free. The workbook is a written course which teaches you the entire content of Grade 1 music theory from start to finish, it is the full written version of our video course. It contains activities, with answers, to test your knowledge and give you chance to practice what you are learning.

There are 19 sections, covering every topic as well as reference sheets and materials which will come in handy as you study.

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Introduction to Music Theory Workbook

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