Augmented 5th Chords


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The Stradella bass accordion can play a lot of chord types, but some are really not practically possible. In this article we will discuss the various “augmented 5th chords”.

There are two commonly used augmented fifth chords: +5 and +7. If you guessed that a +5 is a triad raising the fifth of a major scale and a +7 is a dominant 7 raising the fifth, you go to the head of the class. And, both are just about impossible to play on Stradella.

Note, I did say “just about” not “completely” ...

The +5 triad is actually the harder of the two. For a C+ (also notated Caug) we need the notes C, D and G#. Not going to happen. But, it is “possible”, if you have largish hands and flexible fingers, to press the root note (C) with the second finger, the third (E) with the third finger (it is in the counter bass row right above the root) and the #5 with the pinky (remember Ab is the same as G#). Ouch.

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An +7 is actually easier to deal with! C+7 has the notes C, E, G# and Bb. If you look at the chart at the top of the page you'll see that the C7 button plays C, E and Bb. Hmmm, no G# ... but no G either. This is actually a “good thing” since it eliminates the conflict between a fifth and the sharp fifth you get if you press the M button and have the augmented tone in the melody, a fairly common situation. In addition you can still reach down to the Ab with your pinky (this is so much fun).

Sorry, but augmented chords are a problem with no easy solution. When I encounter them in my playing I either play a +7 if it fits or stick to the single bass root and counter-bass third notes ... in either case I'll try to add in the augmented fifth in my right hand. And, if I'm feeling creative I'll stick in a little bass run in the left hand to avoid the situation completely.

Web Design--Bob van der Poel This page was last modified on 2023-10-10