Sometimes just when I think, “I know my triads”, I find a simple exercise that proves me wrong. Playing through some of the Bach violin partitas and sonatas got me working on different types of spread triads in all their inversions. Spread or open triads can help create beautiful melodic shapes and sounds and I find working with them inspiring. I can’t help but think of the prelude to the first Bach cello suite whenever I hear a spread major triad in root position.
This lesson covers a conceptually simple spread (or open) triad exercise that I wrote, which outlines the four basic triads: major, augmented, minor and diminished. Each triad is played in root position, 1st inversion and 2nd inversion and in every key via the circle of fourths, starting on concert C major. The notes are always ordered sequentially although skipping voices can add an even greater challenge. By memorizing, singing and playing this exercise as well as visualizing the triads in their spread inversions clearly, you should develop a strong starting point for introducing larger intervals into your improvisation. I play the exercise at a moderate tempo in the video, so you can play, sing, listen or follow along with the Pdf.
Below is a Sheet Music Pdf (in concert) and a You Tube video of the lesson.