This triad chord shape is B, I'm almost sure of that. But how come there are no accidentals? Both B minor and major have accidentals, so why haven't they printed them onto the stave?

If it's a printing error, then I apologise but if I am mistaken, please enlighten me.

A B Something chord

  • 2
    Is this not an example number, e.g. a), b), c), d); Like i), ii), iii), iv). It's sometime very difficult to label to an example or question to a point in the page, with music using so many letters, numbers, roman numerals and symbols. And using them can confuse.
    – user70304
    Jul 10, 2020 at 5:21
  • 7
    You must show, or at least state the clef and the key signature. Without them this information can be interpreted dozens of ways. Jul 10, 2020 at 6:03
  • Well, further clarification on my part would have made figuring things out much easier, you're right. I did say that the triad chord is a B something but perhaps the shape doesn't give that away, maybe you still have to know if I'm talking about a tonic triad. I have, so far only leaned tonic triads and the rest of them are still unknown to me so I can't really say further..
    – Keretto
    Jul 11, 2020 at 7:26
  • clef? key signature? Oct 27, 2020 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


Remember that there are two further triad qualities other than major and minor: diminished and augmented.

These two triads are named after their qualities of fifths, so a diminished triad has a root and diminished fifth, and an augmented triad has a root and augmented fifth. Filling in the gaps, we can also understand diminished triads as a stack of two minor thirds and augmented triads as a stack of two major thirds.

You're right that there's no F♯ here, which is what would make a perfect fifth above B. Thus this fifth is smaller than perfect, meaning it is a diminished fifth. And that D♮ is a minor third above B, making this a B diminished triad.

  • I have been defining triads not via Intervals but by checking if each note that makes up the chord is in a particular scale. If triads are named after their qualities of fifths then when trying to give the chord's name, aren't we just stuck with a fifth and its 3 different types?
    – Keretto
    Jul 11, 2020 at 5:33
  • @Keretto I misspoke; I should have specified that those two triads (i.e., diminished and augmented) are named after their qualities of fifths. The major and minor triads are ultimately named after their qualities of thirds.
    – Richard
    Oct 27, 2020 at 16:55

This is not a chord of B major, nor of B minor, but a chord 'on B' in the key of C major; B being the 7th note of C major, and D and F both being in that key. (Yes, it could be A minor alternatively.)

This chord is usually referred to as VII, because it's based on the 7th note of the key. VII chords are always diminished triads in any key.

In 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', you might use a VII chord on 'How I' before returning to the tonic on 'wondered'.

B major and B minor are not 'in the key of C', because there are no sharps in C major. You would find a B major chord only in a key with B, D# and F# e.g. V of E major or I of the key of B major. B minor chord would be in any key with B, Dn and F#, e.g. III of G major, II of A major, etc.

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