Triad Pairs – Part 2

In my first lesson on Triad pairs I suggested a few ways to practice triads and showed how you can get started choosing triads to fit a chord. In this lesson I am going to give you a few more ideas of how you can make melodies with the triads and also talk a bit about some of the triad pairs that I use often.

The patterns and melodic ideas I used in the first lesson are quite basic and just run up and down the triads But if you start developing more complex patterns you can make melodies that sound less predictable and in fact less like patterns.

Let’s first look at some ideas for patterns

Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 1

The melodic pattern in Example 1 could be described as 3 1 5 where if you have a root position triad (1 3 5) you play it third, root and then fifth, Since you can do that with any 3 note group you can take a pattern like that through the triads and get the run that I played in Ex 1. You can practice this on a specific string set or in a position too, but I always found it more useful to not be limited by that, this demands more overview but makes it technically easier to play.


Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 2


Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 3


If you want to work on connecting the triads more freely it can be a good idea to take a triad pair and make an improvisation exercise with it. You will of course have to have quite an overview of the triads on the neck to do this. It can be practical to start in a position and also to choose the position based on where you often play the sound that you want to use the triads for.

Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 4

It is always a very good idea to also have this technical exercises that involve improvisation and that keep testing your ability to over see the fretboard and what ever you are practicing.

II V I lines with triad pairs

The first example demonstrates how sometimes you do want to include an avoid note in the line. On this II V I in F major I am using F harmonic minor on the C7. One of the very characteristic sounds in that sound is the combination of the C and Db major triads which (to me) is an essential part of the Phrygian dominan sound. You will notic that the Db major contains the avoid note F over C. For the rest the line is fairly straight forward on the G minor the line is based on a 2nd inversion G minor triad and a scale run.

Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 5

The second example makes use of the Gm and F major triads on the Gm7 chord and the combination on the C7alt is the most used: Gb and Ab major triads. On the C7 I am using the melodic technique described in exampe 3, which makes it easy to get a large range on that chord. One disadvantage to this triad pair is that it does not contain the 3rd (E) of C7alt, but whether that is a problem is a matter of both taste and context.

Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 6

In the final example I try to use triad pairs on all chords of the II V I. The one on the II chord is again the combo of Gm and F major triads. The way i use them here you could also think of them as a Gm11 arpeggio. On the C7alt I am using Gb and Eaugmented triads which the resolves to the 7th of Fmaj7 and continues with Am and G major triads that over the F sounds like an Fmaj7(#11).

Triad Pairs Part 2 - ex 7

I hope you can use the examples I presented here to explore triad pairs further and make your own lines using them in different contexts. It is a powerful tool to create melodies with and you can always look for new combinations to put to use on the chords.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here you can do so here:

Triad Pairs Part 2

Check out how I use Triad pairs  in this solo transcription/lesson:

There will never be another you – Reharmonization Solo

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