Triad Pairs in Improvisation
In this 5 minute masterclass we’re going talk about different modes, and how a pair of triads can define any mode. I have found this to be a very helpful tool in improvising and understanding the connection between different harmonic functions.
Choosing the Right Pair of Triads
We will first take the C major scale, otherwise called the C ionian mode. If we take a pair of triads a whole step away from each other, F and G major, we have all the notes we need to define C ionian. We can repeat this process for all of the modes of the C major scale and find the pairs of triads that define each mode. Using this process we can then go through the modes of the melodic minor scale and find pairs of triads that define them.
Applying Triad Pairs to Improvisation
The sound of triad pairs works well in addition to using pentatonics as it is very close note-wise. We will look at a 2-5-1, first in a simple form like Cm7 – F7 – Bbmaj7 and see how the same pair of triads fits over all three chords. Then we will look at a more harmonically complex 2-5-1 like Cm7 – F7alt – Bbmaj#11 and find out which triad pairs we can use to generate these more complex structures.
Triad Pairs Lesson Notation File Type: pdf
Pick a tune and identify a triad pair for each chord in the tune.
Triad pairs are helpful for moving from the basic harmony to upper-structure harmony - try making substitutions like Cmaj7#11 for Cmaj7 or G7alt for G7 and find the triads that work with these substitutions.
Practice arpeggiating the triad pair up and down through different inversions, for example, FAC GBD ACF BDG CFA DGB etc.. There are many different combinations to explore.