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Chords of major scale

Here we will study all the chords corresponding to the Cmajor scale

Also available in (Dispo aussi en): Français

B. Chords for all degres of C major scale

1. Degree I

So now we have seen previously that the I chord is Cmaj7, we will now create chords for all the degres of the C major scale.

2. Degree II

Let’s take back our keyboard:

piano-basic-chord

For the first chord we took the root note C and built the corresponding chord with consecutive third. Now let’s do the same with the root note set to D, so we keep the C scale on the piano but we take D for starting note:

NoteDEFGABCD
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note1 1/2 1  111/21

So for the D chord we will have:

1357
Rootthirdfifthseven
DFAC
Root1  steps 1/23 and 1/2 steps 5 steps

According to what we saw in the previous chapter : the third is Minor so we should write it “min” or “-“, fifth is normal we don’t mention it, and the 7 is not Major so we should write just 7:
This II degree chord is a “Dmin7”
This gives us also a scale called D dorian, and yes it’s the same note as the C scale… So you could ask me, why do we use another name ? because the root is different the value of each note refering to this root note is different: If I take the third when the tonic is C, it will be E, which is a major third. But if I take D as tonic, its third is F, which is minor. Moving the tonic changes the important notes, and the nature of the sounds… So playing in the D dorian scale is using the same notes as C major, but like we start with D, the third defining giving character to this mode will be different, and so it changes the context. It’s also a way to define the scale, for instance if I say “you have to play in C dorian” I have to take the interval we just saw for D dorian:

D DorianDEFGABCD
Steps with previous note1 1/2 1  111/21

So C dorian will be: C, 1 step up gives D, 1/2 step gives Eb, 1 step up gives F, 1  step gives G, 1 step gives A, 1/1 step up gives Bb So C dorian is: C D Eb F G A Bb and the corresponding chords is Cm7

3. Degree III

Now let’s do the same with the root note set to E, so we keep the C scale on the piano but we take E for starting note:

NoteEFGABCDE
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note1/21111/211

So from E we will have:

1357
Rootthirdfifthseven
EGBD
Root1  steps 1/23 and 1/2 steps 5 steps

So: the third is Minor so we should write it, fifth is normal we don’t mention it, and the 7 is not Major so we should write just 7: This III degree chord is a “Emin7” and the corresponding mode is called Phrygian

4. Degree IV

With the root note set to F

NoteFGABCDEF
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note 1 111/2111/2

So from F we will have:

1357
Rootthirdfifthseven
FACE
Root2  steps3 and 1/2 steps 5 and 1/2 steps

So the third is Major so we shouldn’r write it, fifth is normal we don’t mention it, and the 7 Major so we should write maj7: This IV degree chord is a “Fmaj7”

5. Degree V

With the root note set to G

NoteGABCDEFG
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note 1 11/2111/21

So from G we will have:

1357
Rootthirdfifthseven
GBDF
Root2  steps3 and 1/2 steps 5 steps

So the third is Major so we shouldn’t write it, fifth is normal we don’t mention it, and the 7 so we should write : This V degree chord is  “G7”

6. Degree VI

With the root note set to A

NoteABCDEFGA
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note 1 1/2111/211

So from A we will have:

1357
Rootthirdfifthseven
ACEG
Root1 and 1/2 steps3 and 1/2 steps 5  steps

So the third is minor so we should write it, fifth is normal we don’t mention it, and the 7 not Major so we should write 7: This VI degree chord is a “Am7”

7. Degree VII

With the root note set to B

NoteBCDEFGAB
Usual name:rootsecondthirdquartfifthsixtsevenOctave
Steps with previous note 1/2 111/2111/2

So from B we will have:

1357
Root thirdfifthseven
BDFA
Root 1 and 1/2  steps2 and 1/2 steps 5 steps

So the third is minor so we should write it, fifth is flat we mention it 5b, and the 7 is not major so we should write 7: This VII degree chord is a “Bm75b”

8. All Chords

So finally we have:

DegreeIIIIIIIVVVIVII
ChordsCM7Dm7Em7FM7G7Am7B-7 5b

And that’s it we have all our chords for the major scale ! I think you understood what it will be usefull for… Guess what ? II V I and more 🙂

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