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C+ to "E" - Help!

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#1 Ligneo Fistula

Ligneo Fistula


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Posted 06 April 2021 - 12:53

I'm terribly confused and have got myself into a most awful pickle!


If you take a C augmented triad (C E G#) and resolve it by "lowering the root by a semitone"** are you left with Cb E G# (and what on earth do you call this chord - Eb6 ?) or an E major 2nd inversion (B G# E)?


**I put this in quotes as I guess (???) strictly if you are lowering the lowest note of the chord by a semitone (minor 2nd) then it is the C that is changing and I suspect this is quite is different to phrasing the change as "resolving the C to a B".


Arghhh!!! Please help.

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#2 Hildegard



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Posted 06 April 2021 - 13:54

I wouldn't resolve an augmented triad by "lowering its root by a semitone" (*). Apart from anything else, totally symmetrical chords such as the augmented triad don't have a root. (All of the notes in the chord are a major 3rd apart, hence the symmetry).

Most commonly, the augmented note (G#) in your example, is treated as a leading note, so C-E-G# typically resolves onto A major (or A minor).

However, like its symmetrical friend, the diminished 7th chord, any of the notes of an augmented triad can be treated as a leading note. So, if you want to treat C as a leading note, your augmented triad could resolve onto a chord of Db major (or C# minor). If you want to treat E as a leading note, your augmented triad could resolve onto a chord of F major (or F minor).

This flexibility of treatment gives the augmented triad the ability (like the diminished 7th) to create a modulation to a variety of unrelated keys - although both chords are more commonly used for chromatic effect rather than modulation.

Does that help?


(*) Perhaps that "lowering the root by a semitone" refers to the bass in your example moving down from C to B while the upper parts continue with E and G#. This doesn't really resolve the chord as the B would simply be a passing note. It would, however, give you a second inversion of E major which would then resolve by moving to a chord of A (major or minor).

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