Every time my intermediate students learn how to identify triads with Roman numerals, I remind myself that I need to make a fast activity that will make this easier and more fun. With the help of my students who tested it and made suggestions, I finally came up with this one which we named Triad Trios, because it only takes 3 cards in a column to win. It is a fast game for student and teacher.
Since this is an introductory activity, the key signature is C Major. I successfully used this with students who had no experience with the concept and they learned it much faster than when I simply explained it to a student with a worksheet.
I am a little hesitant about posting it here, however. Triad Trios is an easy game to explain in person, but I found it difficult to write the instructions. I’ve made some graphics that I hope will help. I suggest you print the instructions and save the with the cards.
I found this game to be fantastic in teaching a very hard concept and making it easy to learn. Teachers who prepare students for exams such as your state theory exam or ABRSM, as well as the AP music exam will find Triad Trios very helpful.
- On the grand staff in the key of C major, identify I, IV, and V triads with the correct Roman numeral.
- Use the correct Arabic numeral for inverted triads, using the bass note as the identifier.
- Triad Trios uses only 9 cards per player, and is printed on front and back. You will make two sets, one for each player, using a different color for each set.
- The file has 2 pages, but the second page is for the back of the cards.
- Print only one page, then print on the back however your printer does that.
- Alternately, instead of printing the second page on the back, which can be tricky, you can hand write the Roman numerals on the back.
- The purpose of the colored card stock is to quickly separate the decks. If you only have white card stock, mark them in some way.
- This activity is for two players: student and teacher, or two students.
- Each player has a deck of one color of cards. The “front” of the card show a triad on the staff. The back has the Roman numeral answer.
- Each player has his deck on a table in front of him with the front of the cards (the grand staff side) facing up.
- Before starting, explain that all the cards are in the key of C Major. Review the I, IV, and V chords in C.
- Without turning the card over to see the back, the first player identifies the top card in his stack, saying, for example, I6 (one six). The player turns the card over to see the answer. Then he places it on the table with the answer (the back of the card) facing up.
- The second player repeats this, and puts his card on the table also.
- The play continues in this fashion. Every time a card is drawn it is placed on the table. The cards should be arranged in columns, so that all the Roman numeral I cards are in the first column, all the Roman IV cards are in the second column, and all the Roman numeral V cards are in the third column.
- The first player who has all three inversions (I, I6, and I6/4 or IV, IV6, and IV6/4 OR V, V6 and V6/4) in a column is the winner.
- Since I use this game as a teaching tool, there is no penalty if they get the answer wrong. I simply help them figure it out.