Augmented chords; playing them is simple enough. I love how they sound ("Oh! Darling") but I'm not sure how to use them when writing my own pieces.

If in the key of G, I could play D augmented (D-F#-A#) and have it easily lead into a G chord, right? Being that there is no A# in a G major scale, is that tone simply added for flavor, and able to be theoretically ignored? The purpose is to add tension, not play augmented chords that contain all diatonic notes (am I wrong here?) Would the G scale still work fine over the augmented chord in question, or would I have to temporarily modulate to a key including A#?

This is probably a really simple question, and I apologize for making it too difficult.
Last edited by matthewt at Aug 22, 2008,
Augmented chords are commonly used in progressions of harmonic and melodic minor.
Yes, you can use an augmented V as a dominant function in major.
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In my experience, they seem to be used often to accompany a a chromatic note. For example:

D F#m Bm Gmaj7 Em Gaug G A D

Those chords contain notes that move chromatically from one to another.

Em: E G B
Gaug: G B D#
G: G B D
A: A C# E

I hope that helped some.

I'll also add this: An augmented chord could have any of three names. Caug, Eaug, and G#aug, for example, are enharmonic. The name you give an augmented chord depends on the key it's in. You have to find the name that would make sense if written in standard notation. An augmented chord has to be made up of a major third stacked on a major third. A flattened fourth on top of a major third would not really be correct.
Last edited by werty22 at Aug 23, 2008,
What you said about chromatic movement within the progression is really interesting. Thanks
An augmented chord can be used as a dominant, which you seem to have guessed already.

In G, you could use D+ as a dominant, and resolve to G. You probably wouldn't use G major over the D+; you could use the D whole-tone scale, or the D altered scale (or something else, but these are the two most common options that I've seen).

As mentioned by werty, an augmented chord can have three different names. This means, with some reinterpretation, an augmented chord can be used to transition between different keys. For example, you might play a progression in G, and get to the D+ as a dominant. However, D+ can also be reinterpreted as F#+, a dominant in the key of B (either major or minor, take your pick).
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i like to approach strange chords by looking at each chord individually and see what intervallic possibilities there are in possible following chords. like one movement i came up with that i think sounds neat is Am - F - E+ - Bb. after an Am - F repeat i felt like it needed some slightly altered tension. alone an augmented chord sounds pretty horrible, but F to E+ is interesting because two of the chord tones go down a half step.

i dont know if there's many other traditional ways to use augmented chords than dominant, and otherwise they'd only be encountered in harmonic minor. that being said they're not in diatonic theory, but its definitely okay to alter a note temporarily and play augmented if you're feeling it.

and ending on an augmented chord can sound pretty dramatic.. the composition in my profile has the F E+ movement and aug chord at the end. could be some inspiriation in there if you're interested

EDIIT: i just thought over the dominant augmented chord and realized that i was doing it unintentionally! lol the E+ i thought i had in my progression must be functioning as C+.. i was preoccupied with the voicing and looking for different places to put chords hehe. ignore what i said about the E+ i guess
Last edited by Ead at Aug 24, 2008,