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Uncle Bob's Guitar Lessons
Lesson 3 - Elementary Chords And Theory
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Music Theory and Chords

Chords Found in a Major Scale

I hope I didn't scare anyone in the preceding section, and I promise this will all make sense. But more importantly, here's the great part, because this is where it does get easy - the sequence of chords in any major scale is always the same:

  1. Major triad (I)
  2. Minor triad (ii)
  3. Minor triad (iii)
  4. Major triad (IV)
  5. Major triad (V)
  6. Minor triad (vi)
  7. Diminished triad (vii)

I always teach my students just to remember the following:

"Major - Minor - Minor - Major - Major - Minor - Diminished"

In the previous example, we applied this to the C Major scale. As a reminder, the C Major Scale contains the following notes:

C  -  D  -  E  -  F  -  G  -  A  -  B
1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th

Those notes are the root notes for the following chords:

C Maj - D Min - E Min - F Maj - G Maj - A Min - B Dim

Normally, though, you would see the chords written like the following:

C - Dm - Em - F - G - Am - Bdim

So if you take this information and apply it to any scale, this lets you know which chords can be built from that scale.  For example, if you were in the key of G, the notes in the Major Scale are:

G  -  A  -  B  -  C  -  D  -  E  -  F#
1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th

These are the root notes for the following chords:

  1. G Major (I)
  2. A Minor (ii)
  3. B Minor (iii)
  4. C Major (IV)
  5. D Major (V)
  6. E Minor (vi)
  7. F# Diminished (vii)

In the key of D, the notes in the Major Scale are:

D  -  E  -  F# -  G  -  A  -  B  -  C#
1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th

These are the root notes for the following chords:

  1. D Major (I)
  2. E Minor (ii)
  3. F# Minor (iii)
  4. G Major (IV)
  5. A Major (V)
  6. B Minor (vi)
  7. C# Diminished (vii)

This is great when you're playing backup for someone; you generally only have to know three or four chords to play the entire song.


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