Composition & Improvisation: Commonly-Used Chord Patterns: C Major Triad

Successful Composition and Improvisation is not just about melodic invention. An enormous range of music can be created by playing chords in a variety of simple patterns. Here, for your consideration are some commonly-used voicings and rhythms for a C Major Triad

Note: Studying-practicing such patterns the right way (as integrated theoretical, visio-spatial, aural, and kinesthetic ideas) in all keys greatly expands your musical comprehension and fluency and develops your ears.


Oom-Pah, Oom-Pah

This simple two-fisted pattern establishes both a solid rhythm and major harmony…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-oom-pah-oom-pah


Waltz

Notice how a simple change in rhythm creates a whole new kind of music, something with a kind of lilt…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-waltz


Arpeggios, Two-Hands, Triplets

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-arpeggios-two-hands-triplets


Block Chord Voicings

Think about playing these chords melodically

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-block-chord-voicings


Arpeggios, One-Hand, Triplets

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-arpeggios-one-hand-triplets


Alberti Bass

A standard accompaniment in classical music…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-alberti-bass


Four Part Choir

Here are the notes arranged as if for the four voices (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) in choir. This is considered an “open” voicing, meaning that the notes are spread out.

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-four-part-choir


Fifties Rock & Roll

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-fifties-rock-and-roll


Ballad Accompaniment Variation 1

Outlining the major harmony in 3/4 time…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-ballad-accompaniment-1

Fingering Suggestion: I prefer to use my middle finger on the G, but some people might prefer to use their index finger. In my experience, this makes the span from G up to E very awkward and tense, but feel free to try both fingerings and see which one you prefer.

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-ballad-accompaniment-1-fingering


Ballad Accompaniment Variation 2

Outlining the major harmony in 6/8 time…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-ballad-accompaniment-2

Fingering Suggestion:

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-ballad-accompaniment-2-fingering


Tango

One of those instantly recognizable rhythms…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-tango(Play one octave lower than written)


Arpeggios, Cascading Quadruplets

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-arpeggios-cascading-quadruplets


New Orleans Rock & Roll

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-new-orleans-rock-and-roll


Two-Handed Chord Melody

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-two-handed-chord-melody


Stride Bass

As used in ragtime and jazz…

piano-ology-composition-and-improvisation-commonly-used-chord-patterns-c-major-triad-stride-bass


Is that it?

Of course not! Countless other chord patterns are possible, but you get the idea. An incredible amount of music can be made by the creative combination of chord voicings and rhythms. Can you think of or invent some other patterns?

About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
This entry was posted in Chords, Composition, Improvisation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Composition & Improvisation: Commonly-Used Chord Patterns: C Major Triad

  1. paula graham says:

    Great…been practising these and trying to improvise a bit around these chords. Recognising the correct note is still slow but..it is improving!! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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