"Tertial" redirects here. For the feathers in a birds wing, see tertials.
In music or music theory, tertian is the quality of a chord constructed from thirds, and other things constructed from thirds such as counterpoint. A third may be either minor (3 semitones) or major (4 semitones). Example: the interval A-C is a minor third, because it encompasses 3 semitones (A-Bb, Bb-B, B-C), and C-E is a major third, because it encompasses 4 semitones (C-Db, Db-D, D-Eb, Eb-E).

Chords which may be considered as built from sixths are actually tertian because of inversion. Example: the interval C-A is a major sixth. The inversion is that the interval A-C defines a minor third.

Note that the root progression between tertian chords is most often not by third but by perfect fifth (or its inversion perfect fourth).

Other uses

  • Tertian is a term used at some universities to describe students in the third year of their studies, or the normal standard reached by a student after this time. This description is also the definition for Junior.
  • Recurring at approximately 48-hour intervals —used of malaria.

See also

External links

  • Definition of tertian in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  • Definition of tertian at dictionary.com

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