Chord Toolbox I - Foundational triads and 4-note chords
4.6 (11 ratings)
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Chord Toolbox I - Foundational triads and 4-note chords

Regardless of your musical genre, these powerful chords will revolutionize your music.
4.6 (11 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
599 students enrolled
Created by Greg Howlett
Last updated 7/2014
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • To teach students to quickly build and recognize all important 3-note and 4-note chords.
View Curriculum
  • A computer or other device to watch the class and a printer to print the worksheets.
  • A piano or other instrument to practice the chords on.
  • A working knowledge of how to read music. Students should be able to read notes off a treble and bass staff.
  • A desire to learn improvisation, especially the cool chords that you hear the top musicians in the world use.

This course is for modern musicians of any genre that want to learn how to increase their chord palate and impress their music friends. If you play only classical music, you probably don't want to take this course. If you play by ear, play charts or lead sheets, or have to improvise, an understanding of chords is vital.

Target audience: Musicians of any age and genre that play modern music

Length and format: 75 minutes of video instruction discussing the chords and playing them in real music at the piano. Worksheets and a summary sheet are also provided.

Chords discussed: This course covers five 3-note chords (triads) and ten 4-note chords. (5-7 note chords are covered in another course.) The specific chords covered are: major triad, minor triad, diminished triad, augmented triad, suspended triad, major 7th, minor 7th, dominant, full diminished, half diminished, major 6, minor 6, suspended dominant, minor major 7th, and augmented 7th.

Instructor: Greg Howlett is a concert pianist and well known, successful educator of musicians around the world.

Who is the target audience?
  • Musicians that have at least a cursory understanding of music.
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Curriculum For This Course
10 Lectures
2 Lectures 19:39

Welcome to this important class about the foundational chords that we use in modern music. In this section, I simply talk through the process and give a quick demonstration. Make sure and download the syllabus below. It contains some key definitions and concepts.

Preview 06:19

You need to know some terms to get started. We discuss what a chord is and the factors that define it. We also talk about some intervals that you need to know. Make sure and do the worksheet below after finishing this section.

Preview 13:20
2 Lectures 20:08

There are four primary triads: major, minor, augmented and diminished. This section will teach you how to build and recognize them quickly.

The four primary triads

There is one special triad that is covered in this section: the suspended triad. You will then learn about how the five triads are notated in music. Make sure and do the worksheet after finishing this section.

Suspended triad and triad notation
4-note chords
5 Lectures 33:34

Once you have triads learned, it is time to move on to 4-note chords. In this section, we talk about what 4-note chords are and important intervals you need to know to build them quickly.

Foundation for 4-note chords

The three most common 4-note chords are the major 7th, the minor 7th and the dominant. This section teaches you how to build and recognize all three.

Major 7ths, minor 7ths, and dominants

Two 4-note diminished chords are derived from the diminished triad: full diminished and half diminished. After you watch this section, you will know both.

Diminished 7ths (full and half)

The major 6 and minor 6 chords are popular in modern music and easy to learn. They are the only 4-note chords you will learn in this course that use a 6th instead of a 7th.

Major 6 and minor 6

These three special chords are not as widely used but still very popular in modern music because of their complexity. Make sure and do the worksheet when you finish watching the lecture.

Suspended dominant, minor major 7th, and augmented 7th
1 Lecture 02:10

If you have hung around this long, you know five crucial 3-note chords and ten foundational 4-note chords. In this lecture, we do a quick review and talk briefly about where it goes from here: 5-7 note chords!

Review and thoughts on what to learn next
About the Instructor
Greg Howlett
4.6 Average rating
12 Reviews
611 Students
2 Courses
Concert pianist and educator

Greg Howlett is a concert pianist, writer and arranger of music and a music educator. His diverse professional expertise includes releasing eight CDs, recording two live for-TV concerts that are airing around the world, and producing for many other musicians.

Greg is well known as an educator. He has sold thousands of courses to musicians all over the world in areas of music such as harmony, arranging, and improvisation. He also regularly teaches online classes to musicians (especially pianists).

However, Greg is most known as a producer of music. His earliest release, Timeless Reflections, was a solo piano project that launched his career. He followed up with Reflections on a Journey, an orchestra/piano project collaboration with Steve Mauldin and the world-acclaimed Nashville String Machine. A few years later, he did another orchestra/piano project entitled Portraits of Hope. Since then, he has released four more CDs including a children's project Heirloom in 2014 that generated 100,000 downloads in a month.

Greg recorded his first TV special Live in Charleston in 2010. Recorded in Charleston, SC, it featured Greg with guest musicians including Grammy-winner Andy Leftwich on fiddle. In 2012, he did another TV special in Atlanta, GA that featured forty musicians on stage including an orchestra and band. Both TV specials are widely airing around the world.

Married with four children, Greg lives in Monroe, GA. He spends his time writing music, doing concerts, and producing music for himself and other musicians.