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Ultimate Guide To Piano Chords: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our blog series on all the things you need to know about piano chords. If you are new to chords, and are not sure what they are, or how to construct them, be sure to check out the first part of our piano chords blog series before continuing with this article.


To recap, in our last article, we discussed the basics of what chords are, and introduced you to two basic types of triads: the major triad and the minor triad. In this blog article, we will be sharing with you four more types of triads.



Table Of Content

  1. Diminished Triad

  2. Chord Symbol

  3. Chord Construction

  4. Augmented Triad

  5. Chord Symbol

  6. Chord Construction

  7. Suspended 4th Triad

  8. Chord Symbol

  9. Chord Construction

  10. Suspended 2nd Triad

  11. Chord Symbol

  12. Chord Construction

  13. What's Next: Beyond Triads

Diminished Triad


The first type of triad that we will be discussing is the diminished triad. The chord symbol for a diminished triad may be written in a few different ways:

  • Xdim

  • Xm(b5)

  • X-(b5)

In the above chord symbols, 'X' refers to the root note from which the chord is constructed from.


A diminished triad is constructed by stacking the following intervals:

  • Minor 3rd interval above the root note

  • Diminished 5th interval above the root note

If you're not familiar with the terminology for intervals, it is also possible to construct a diminished triad with the following steps:

  • Go up 3 semitones from the root to get the next chord tone

  • Go up another 3 semitones to get the last chord tone of the diminished triad

Another way that might be helpful to think about a diminished triad is to relate it to a minor triad - compared to a minor triad, a diminished chord contains the same chord tones, with the exception of the flattened (or lowered) 5th. Hence, the diminished triad is also called a 'minor flat 5' chord and an alternative chord symbol for the diminished triad is Xm(b5).



Without any particular musical context, a diminished chord, by itself, has a dark quality to its sound.


Augmented Triad


The next type of triad we will be learning about is the augmented triad. The chord symbol for an augmented chord may be written in few different ways:

  • Xaug

  • X(+5)

In the above chord symbols, 'X' refers to the root note from which the triad is constructed from.


To construct a augmented triad, you would do the following:

  • Stack a major 3rd interval above the root note

  • Stack a augmented 5th interval above the root note

If you're not familiar with intervals, it is also possible to construct an augmented triad using the following steps:

  • Go up 4 semitones from the root note to get the next chord tone of the augmented triad

  • Go up another 4 semitones to get the last chord tone fo the augmented triad

Another possible way to think about the augmented triad is to relate it to the major triad. You will find that the major triad and augmented triad share the same chord tones, with the exception of the raised 5th in the Caug triad. This is why the augmented triad is also called a 'sharp 5' chord. For example, a Caug chord may be verbally referred to as a 'C sharp 5' chord. This is also why the chord symbol for a Caug triad may also be written as a C(+5) chord symbol.



Without any particular musical context, an augmented chord, by itself, has a dreamy quality to its sound.


Suspended 4th Triad


The next triad that we will be learning about is the suspended 4th triad, whose chord symbol can be as follows:

  • Xsus

  • Xsus4

In the above chord symbols, 'X' represents the root note of the chord from which the chord is constructed from.


Between the above two chord symbols, the usage of Xsus is more common than Xsus4, as specifying the 4 is somewhat redundant. However, it is still valid as a chord symbol.


To construct a suspended 4th triad, we would stack the following intervals above the root note:

  • Perfect 4th interval above the root note

  • Perfect 5th interval above the root note


Another way to think about a suspended 4th chord would be to relate it to a major chord. The term 'suspended 4th' means to replace the 3rd in a major chord with the 4th scale degree in the major scale formed off the same root note.



If you are neither familiar with intervals or major scales, you may also opt to construct a suspended 4th chord by using the following steps:

  • Go up 5 semitones (or half-steps) from the root note to get the next chord tone

  • Go up another 2 semitones (or half-steps) to get the last chord tone of the suspended 4th triad


Suspended 2nd Triad


The last type of triad that we will be discussing is the suspended 2nd triad. The chord symbol for a suspended 2nd triad is as follows:

  • Xsus2

In the above chord symbol, 'X' refers to the root note from which the triad is constructed from.


A suspended 2nd triad may be constructed by the following intervallic structure:

  • Major 2nd interval above the root

  • Perfect 5th interval above the root


Another way to think about a suspended 2nd triad is relate it to a major chord. The term 'suspended 2nd' refers to the fact that to construct a suspended 2nd triad, you would take the 3rd in a major chord and replace it with the 2nd scale degree in the major scale formed off the same root note.