Talking Technique: Triads Versus Four-Note Chords

Triads versus four-note chords – which are harder?

Your gut reaction to that question may be that four-note-chords are harder. After all, it means there are four notes to figure out rather than three.

Okay, so from a theory standpoint, if you are still learning your theory, then maybe. And if you just play root-third-fifth, sure. However, once you are playing those triads over an octave (where it gets musically very interesting), we are talking technique. And that’s when those string crossings come in that mean triads are way harder than four-note chords.

Check it out, why it’s useful and how it sounds! Download the PDF for this lesson and follow along with the video.

Austrian-gone-Californian Ariane Cap is a bassist, educator, blogger and author. In her book Music Theory for the Bass Player and corresponding 20-week online course, she teaches music theory, bass technique, bass line creation and fretboard fitness in a systematic, practical and experiential way. She just released a brand new course on ear training for the bass player: Ear Confidence - 6 Paths to Fearless Ears. Contact her via her blog or website.

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  1. James Davis

    May I just say, your accent in English is IMPECCABLE! Ich kann (noch) ein bisschen (schreckliches) Deutsch sprechen, but I don’t think I EVER had the kind of native-sounding accent you do in English. Bravo!

    Can I point out one teeny-tiny thing I heard that gave you away? The word ‘finger’ is spelled the same both languages (okay, there’s a lowercase f in the English, and a capital F in the German), but in English the ‘g’ is pronounced at the beginning of the second syllable: ‘fing-ger’ and not, as in the German ‘fing-er’. Does that make sense? The first syllable is the same as in German, but the second sounds like you’re saying “grrr”. (Just don’t overdo it, people will think you’ve got rabies.)

    Also, both syllables are stressed equally, which is unusual in English, infamous for its random scattering of syllable accents. I mean, just look at the word ‘in-sti-TOO-shun’. You could blow a candle out with the third syllable! My wife is French Canadian and just GUESSES at which syllable to put the stress on…and almost NEVER gets it right! (laugh emoji)

    There, now you will never be identified as anything other than a pure US native, from Kansas, and grew up on the farm next to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Okay, I know this is somewhat obsessive, but a bass teacher needs to say the word ‘finger’ a thousand times a day. And at the end of that day, we want our students laughing at our jokes, not our pronunciation. You were a very mild case. Me, when I first got to Germany, I was playing ping pong in front of all my new schoolmates and teachers. Every time I made a mistake, I kept yelling “Missed!” and every time I noticed everyone kind of flinch. It was only later that I learned what the German word “Mist” meant. Oops.

    Anyway, I do hope you take this as intended. I know I don’t mind being corrected or helped out when speaking French, so I sincerely hope you don’t feel offended, insulted, ridiculed, etc. Like I said, you have an unbelieveably good, nearly “invisible” accent and your usage is absolutely SPOT ON. You’re also pretty good at bass guitar (sarcasm) AND you’re a damn good teacher (God’s honest truth)!

    All the Best,
    with All Things Bass

    (plus all those other pesky
    intrusions known as Life)

    – Jim Davis, Montreal