A common assertion is that music has three principal elements: rhythm, melody and harmony. The purpose of this part of the site is to examine the building blocks of harmony, which are chords.

A chord is the simultaneous combination of two or more notes. But out of all the possible combinations of notes, some are used much more than others.

In particular the major and minor triads are felt to be the fundamental building blocks of most harmonic music. There is something unified, something which is more than the sum of their parts, which seems to make these triads unique in regard all other possible forms.

Certain chord types also seem to exert a powerful tonal function, such as the dominant seventh and the augmented sixth chords, the diminished and augmented triads, and the major and minor triads when in second inversion.

Each of these chords and their function is analysed in their own pages:

The major and minor triads
The dominant seventh and augmented sixth chords