Augmented is a term used in music theory to describe a specific type of chord or interval. In this article, we will explore what augmented means in music theory and how it is used in composition.
What is an Augmented Chord?
An augmented chord is a chord that consists of a root note, a major third, and an augmented fifth. The term “augmented” comes from the Latin word “augere,” which means to increase. In the case of an augmented chord, the fifth note is raised one half-step higher than the perfect fifth found in a major or minor chord.
Example: If we take the C major triad (C-E-G), and raise the G note by one half-step, we get C-E-G#. This is called a C augmented triad.
How to Notate an Augmented Chord
In sheet music notation, an augmented chord is usually notated with a plus sign (+) or the abbreviation “aug.” For instance, C augmented can be notated as “C+” or “Caug.”
Note: An important thing to remember about augmented chords is that they are symmetrical. This means that each note in an augmented chord is spaced evenly apart by two whole steps (or four half-steps).
What Is an Augmented Interval?
An augmented interval refers to an interval that has been raised one half-step higher than its perfect or major equivalent. For example, if we take the perfect fourth (C-F) and raise it by one half-step, we get C-F#. This interval is now considered an augmented fourth.
Note: Augmented intervals are often used in compositions to create tension and dissonance.
How to Notate an Augmented Interval
In sheet music notation, an augmented interval is usually notated with a plus sign (+) or the abbreviation “aug.” For example, an augmented fourth can be notated as “P4+” or “aug4.”
How are Augmented Chords and Intervals Used in Composition?
Augmented chords and intervals are often used in compositions to create tension and dissonance. They can be used to add complexity to a melody or harmony, and they are particularly useful in jazz and modern classical music.
Listed below are some common uses of augmented chords and intervals in composition:
- As a substitute for dominant chords in a chord progression
- To create tension before resolving to a major or minor chord
- To add complexity to a melody or harmony
- As part of a chromatic scale run
- To create dissonance when used with other chords or intervals
In music theory, the term “augmented” refers to the raising of either an interval or chord by one half-step. Augmented chords and intervals can be used in compositions to add complexity, tension, and dissonance. Understanding how they work is an important part of becoming proficient in music theory.