Triads and Inversions

Triad Types

A triad is a stack of three notes, including the bottom note, or root.  Above the root is a 3rd and a 5th.  
A major triad has a major 3rd and a perfect 5th above the root.
A minor triad has a minor 3rd and a perfect 5th above the root.
A diminished triad has a minor 3rd and a diminished 5th above the root.
An augmented triad has a major third and an augmented 5th above the root.

Inverted Triads

Three voicings are possible for a triad; Root position, First inversion, and Second inversion.  Triads are "inverted" when the 3rd or 5th appears in the bass, rather than the root.  When using lead sheet symbols, simply put the bass note under a slash to indicate inversion.  If using figured bass, the inversion numbers are as follows:
Root position:          No figured bass needed (5/3 is assumed)
First inversion:         6 (the 3rd is assumed)
Second inversion:   6/4 (this incates a 6th and a 4th above the bass)

Music Courseware Activities

Visitors – Select the Activity Written: Triad Quality

Students – Take a test or quiz assigned by your instructor.

Scroll to Top