Music Theory

Lesson 14


Diatonic Minor Harmony


I would like to begin this lesson by looking at the opening of Liszt’s “Faust Symphony.”




This composition begins on an Ab, followed by the twelve notes of the chromatic scale.  These notes are arranged into four groups of three notes which are a series of four triads: EbGB, BbDF#, FAC# & CEG#.  These are indeed triads since there is a root, a third, and a fifth for each chord.  However, what kind of triads are they?  They do not follow any of the formulae that we learned in the last lesson.  Using the first of these triads as an example, there is a major third (G) and an augmented fifth (B) placed above the chordal root (Eb), or two superimposed major thirds (Eb - G & G - B); the following triads follow the same formula using roots of Bb, F, and C.  These triads are augmented in quality, and the reason we did not discuss them last lecture was because they are not found in the major scale.  However, they are found in the minor scale, which is the topic of this lesson.




© Copyright 2005

Mark McFarland