Exploring triad pairs

Well, I’m having a lot of fun playing with triad pairs, so I thought I’d share some insights. I’ve been spending some time with the 4th harmonic environment, and enjoying the characteristic note 7. But note 7 does not appear in the 4 chord, so I’ve been alternating between a 4 chord triad (notes 4 6 1) and a 5 triad (5 7 2). This is a lot more satisfying, to make use of the note 7.

Then I moved on to the 5th HE, and found some nice sounds with the same two triads. I’m sure there’s lots more combinations, and mixing major and minor triads, to be found, in other HEs as well.

It’ll be fun trying this over chord progressions as well, but I’m not there yet. Anyone else tried playing with triad pairs? I think it’s best if they are close (a whole tone or semitone apart) and so don’t share any notes. There’s probably some complex music theory to explain why they work, but it’s a simple idea, and fun to play with.


That could almost be a mission statement for IFR; take a fresh, uncluttered, look at things, discover the basic elements, then play with them. :wink:

I have found triads tricky as they sound completely different with a bass or 4th note. The first one you mention could either be a 4 major chord or a 2 minor chord. Likewise the 2nd triad could also be a 5 dominant or 3 minor chord. I don’t think I’m up to dealing with that ambiguity yet🤔.

Any chance you could post a short video or audio of your triad pair practice?

Not sure I’m ready to ‘go public’ with my practicing, yet! But you can find lots of videos on YouTube demonstrating using triad pairs over simple chord progressions. I especially like those posted by JazzDuets.

I’m also playing with simplifying even more, and just using dyads (2 note chords). Again trying to bring out the flavour/feeling of the background chord or harmonic environment.

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I hear you😁. Me too, although I might post something soon just for the experience of creating a video.

Diads are great fun. A shell chord is just a diad of the 3 and 7 of the 4 note arpeggio. In IFR that means one below and two above the root number. So a 5 shell is 4 and 7; a 3 shell is 2 and 5; a 3D is 2 and #5 etc. You can play a whole progression with just shell chords.

You’re reading my mind! That is exactly what I’ve been playing with, over the Autumn Leaves progression. Just playing the root note, 3rd and 7th for each chord. It’s really nice how, when you keep swapping the 3rd and 7th on each change, there is gradual stepping down happening. Very satisfying to play.

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@mem, thanks for sharing! Do you think what you’re describing is along the same lines of this?

@Dave, yes very similar, only I’ve been limiting myself to just the triad chord notes (so not using the 7th), really trying to get familiar with playing the notes in different orders (inversions), using adjacent strings and skipping strings (helping with my fretboard navigation). Also, I’ve been focusing of specific harmonic environments during my practice, so trying to hear how the triad pairs sound against a specific tonal centre. This is helping with my Seven Worlds exploration.

Thanks for posting the link, I must have missed this one on my video search!