Music Theory

Lesson 15


Triad Inversion


In the previous two lessons we discussed triads created by, or diatonic to, both the major and minor scales.  I would like to begin this lesson by looking at a selection from two pieces of music that each present triads on nearly every scale degrees.  The first piece is the Bourée from Handel's "Royal Fireworks Music."  This movement is written in D minor, and within the first two measures, triads appear on all the scale degrees except the leading tone scale degree.  The complete harmonic progression for this passage is i - iv - VII - III - VI - ii° - V - i.  Notice that the triad qualities correspond to what we have learned about diatonic minor triad quality; the tonic and subdominant triads are minor, the mediant, dominant, submediant, and subtonic triads are major, and the supertonic triad is diminished.  Also notice that my roman numerals are large case for the major triads, and small case for the minor and diminished triads.






© Copyright 2005

Mark McFarland