Some people may assume that augmented chords are something to avoid when it comes to playing with the ukulele. Given the fact that these chords produce music which highlights the tension and the lack of stability in the sound, this anxiousness about augmented chords is only relevant.
However, we are here to tell why how these same chords can make your music sound splendid if applied effectively.
You can also read: How To Play Power Chords
What do the augmented chords do?
In simple words, these chords help to raise the 5th of a chord by a single fret or in other words, by a semitone. They are of the same shape as the major chord. However, it does not mean that you are only able to augment the major chord. You may do the same to the seventh chords.
The augmented chords come in two different shapes. Furthermore, they repeat after every 4 frets. To summarize, when using the augmented chords, you will be required to head back to your major chord.
The augmented chord is nothing but a major chord which has the fifth degree raised by half a step. In other words, there will be two full steps between the first and the third degrees as well as between the third and the fifth degree of the ukulele music.
When to use the Augmented 7th Chord?
Exactly before you are about to go back to the home chord, you can use the augmented 7th chord to bring an end to the chord progression. Why is it effective? Well, as stated before, the augmented chords will create a sense of instability, leading you to feel restless.
Hence, when you use the augmented chord right before going back to the home tune, you will produce a sense of anticipation amidst the audience, drawing the attention, taking them to a climax, and making the music lively.
At times, when you play the 7th augmented chord, your music will sound somewhat incomplete and it will force the course to go back to a chord to bring the sound to the expected polish.
Using Augmented Chord in the Introduction
When you are playing for an audience, you will need a powerful opening. What is better than an introduction coupled with a sense of uncertainty and melancholy? This is exacted what an augmented chord successfully does. That is why, it happens to be the perfect opening chord for songs like ‘Oh Darling’ by The Beatles.
Augmented Chords for Blues Songs
The Blues songs have been making use of augmented chords on a regular basis. This is due to the natural ability of the kind of music to push the advancement of the sound forward by leading you to long for the augmented chord to switch to something more relaxed once you have been indulging into an intense sound.
Augmenting the V chord
Another regular practice is using the augmentation in the V chords of the ukulele. Why is this so common? Well, this is one of the safest chord that can undergo augmentation. The V chord has the highest tension in most of the music progressions. Augmenting the V chord gives a natural and nice propulsion towards the root chord.
Chromatic Notes use Augmented Chords
Augmented chords are used to crop up in several instances. One such instance is in the progression of chromatic notes. Think about ‘Life on Mars’ by Bowie. It comes with notes that rise chromatically against the otherwise stationary chords.
Adding the Dramatic Touch
Coming back to the example of ‘Oh! Darling’ by The Beatles, which has the E+ as the starting or opening chord, we can demonstrate why an augmented chord works best when wishing to add dramatic touch to the music. In the song, the 7th chord is replaced by the augmented chord, as is common in several other cases.
For Descending Line Clichés
You must be wondering what we mean by line cliché. It is just the stepwise line of melody, played against a unchanging chord. This is an easy location to exercise or create the augmented chord which can begin in a minor chord. You can visualize, for instance, starting on the minor C chord. When you start the cliché by dropping C to B, whilst leaving the other notes the way they are, you will create the augmented chord.
In place of diminished chords
It is a common practice among several musicians, or songwriters, to make use of a long series of diminished 5th s with the aim of producing a wobbly feeling in solo music pieces or just any song. Instead of this, it is an idea to use augmented chords, or rather a good series of augmented triads in that location. For example, you can try to play a nice progression of all these augmented chords on the basis of the existing pitches of the major scale. This will enable you to give rise to an unfamiliar, unexpected and discordant sound.
A stimulating fact about the + chords is that they follow a symmetry, even better to call them recurring chords. This is another reason why they give a dramatic vibe to the song you play. Enharmonically, they will be similar, or even same. You can play around to check for the vibe you are looking to add to your music.
Many songs from the sixties, seventies and eighties have made use of augmented chords to add the intense dramatic and mysterious effect to the songs or music, giving rise to anguish yet holding the audience hooked to their seats.
Though not too popular in the music of today, they can certainly be great to try to add flavours to your music. You are now aware of where, when and how to use augmented chords and what you can expect to hear as output. Feel free to experiment and enrich your music experience.