A Summary of Triads
The terms major, minor, diminished, and augmented refer to the quality of the chords. In this case, the term quality does not refer to something that is good or bad, but it is simply a description that allows us to distinguish one chord from another.
There are several different systems of symbols used for identifying triads. This website will use the following symbols for each chord:
Major = Maj
Minor = min
Diminished = dim
Augmented = aug
These abbreviations are commonly used in printed music, and allow us to avoid writing the complete name of the quality of each chord.
Listen to each triad in the Flash example below. (If you are unable to hear them, visit www.adobe.com for the latest Flash update.)
There are other abbreviations that can be used for each of these chords. Major triads are sometimes indicated simply with an upper case letter, or with the chord name followed by the upper case letter “M”.
C major = C or CM
Minor triads are also represented with a lower case letter “m” or a minus sign “-”
C minor = Cm or C-
Diminished chords can also be indicated with a small circle after the letter name of the chord.
C diminished = Cº
Augmented chords can be designated with a plus sign “+”
C augmented = C+