What are tetrads

What's a Tetrad Chord - Music Theory

What are tetrad chordsWhat's a Tetrad ?

A basic chord is built with three notes this is what we call "triad chords" or "triads". Tetrad chords aka "four note-chords" are simply chords containing four notes, “tetra“ is a Greek root meaning four. This means that tetrads have an additional note, a major seventh or a minor seventh. In other words , a tetrad is a triad with a supplementary note. This article will enlighten you on how these tetrad chords are built and how they can be classified.

Tetrads are essentially seventh chords. Seventh chords are what happens when you stack one minor or major third on top of a triad. Common-practice music uses five types of tetrads (m7, Maj7, dom7, dim7 and half-dim7). You will find below the formulas and guitar shapes to play drop 2, drop 3 chords and drop 2-4 tetrad chords on guitar.

  • Major Seventh Chords

Formula is 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 

(e.g. C major 7 : C-E-G-B)

Major 7 tetrad chords


  • Minor Seventh Chords

Formula is 1 - b3 - 5 -b7

(e.g. C minor 7 : C-Eb-G-Bb)

Minor 7 tetrad chords

  • Dominant Seventh Chords

Formula is 1 - 3 - 5 - b7

(e.g. C7 : C-E-G-Bb)

Dominant 7 tetrad chords

  • Half-Diminished Chords

Formula is 1 - b3 - b5 - b7

(e.g. Cm7b5 : C-Eb-Gb-Bb)

Minor 7b5 tetrad chords

  • Diminished seventh

Formula 1 - b3 - b5 - b

(e.g. Cdim7: C-Eb-Gb-A)

Dim7 tetrad chords

However, jazz uses all of the tetrads chords previously seen plus some others as :

  • Augmented Seventh Chords

Formula is 1 - 3 - #5 - b7

(e.g. Caug7 : C-E-G#-B)

Augmented 7 tetrad chords

  • Minor/major seventh 

Formula is 1 - b3 - b5 - 7

(e.g. CminMaj7 : C-Eb-G-B)

Minmaj7 tetrad chords

  • Augmented Major Seventh 

Formula is 1 - 3 - #5 - 7

(e.g. CMaj7#5 : C-E-G#-B)

Augmented maj7 tetrad chords


You can also check out the infographic about tetrad chords.

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