LinksAugmented Diminished Dementia (David Hodge)
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Augmented - aug
The augmented chord is a triad built with two major thirds. It is usually notated either as aug or + chord. A Caugmented will be either Caug or C+. Got to my Theory series for more on triads, including the augmented triad.
The aug chord is symmetric. You can divide the scale into three major thirds, meaning that for instance Caug and Eaug will have the same notes. In the table below I have tried to illustrate this by giving the notes of five augmented chords. As you see, the Caug and Eaug are both built with the notes C, E and G#. You might say that the Eaug is the same as Caug in first inversion., and that G#aug is the same as Caug in second inversion. But the practical knowledge is that there are basically only four different augmented chords. But they can of course be fingered in many different ways on the guitar.
If you built a harmonized scale from a major scale, you will not get an augmented chord on any of the notes. This mean that it is not a diatonic chord in major. It will have one non-scale note, if you apply the chord in an a basic major context. But if you go to harmonic minor or melodic minor (ascending), you will find the augmented chord on the third note of the scale. For instance in A-minor you will have a Caug. You might try to substitute a V7 with a Vaug (for instance Gaug instead of G7 in C-major), or a V7 in minor with bIIIaug (for instance E7 with Caug in A-minor).
Naming of notes in augmented chords
An augmented chord is built with tow major thirds on to of each other. You get all the thirds by choosing every other note in a scale. But our familiar major and minor scales consists of both major and minor thirds. When we use major thirds only, we have to use notes that are outside of the scale. But the naming of notes still reflects that the chords are built with thirds. If we skip all sharps and flats, a triad (three note chord) should have one of the following groups of notes:
A triad with some kind of C as the root should have one kind of E and one kind of G. A major third up from C is E, and a major third up from E is G#. You might think that G# is the same as Ab, which is correct in one sense. They are enharmonic, meaning that the sound is the same. But if you go from some kind of an E to some kind of an A, the interval is some kind of a fourth, and no longer a third. From E to Ab is a diminished fourth. The distance is still four half steps. But a major third has two whole steps, and the diminished fourth have one whole and two half steps. This means that an Aaug has the notes A-C#-E# (and not A-C#-F). A Baug will be B-D#-Fx (Fx=F double sharp, meaning that it is two half steps above F).
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