Print Version ]

www.ChristianGuitar.com
Christian Guitar Tab & Bass Tab

Uncle Bob's Guitar Lessons
Lesson 3 - Elementary Chords And Theory
(Back to home / Back to contents)

Music Theory and Chords (cont.)

Roman Numeral Notation

In addition, you will often see chords written using roman numerals like the following:

I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - vii°

The way to read this is:

  • Major chords are in capital letters (e.g. the IIV, and V chords)
  • Minor chords are in lower-case letters (e.g. the ii, iii, and vi chords)
  • Diminished chords are in lower-case letters with a marker (e.g. the vii° chord)
Chords Listed by Major Scale

(Please see the" Chords Found in a Major Scale" page first.)

This is a list of chords that you would find in each of several major scales:

Scale/Chord I ii iii IV V vi vii°
C Major C Dm Em F G Am Bdim
D Major D Em F#m G A Bm C#dim
E Major E F#m G#m A B C#m D#dim
F Major F Gm Am Bb C Dm Edim
G Major G Am Bm C D Em F#dim
A Major A Bm C#m D E F#m G#dim
B Major B C#m D#m E F# G#m A#dim
Determining the Major Key of a Song

The chord structure also helps you determine what major scale, or "key", a song is in by looking at the respective minor or major chords.

For example, using the chords found on the Chords Listed by Major Scale section, if you picked up a sheet of music and saw the chords F major, C major, and G major, you would know that the song is in the key of C major because that is the only key based on a major scale that will have those three chords, and in this case those chords are the IV, I, and V chords, respectively.

Fairly often you can find the key of a song simply by finding the IV and V chords, because only one key based on major scale will have two consecutive major chords.

For example, using the chords found on the Chords Listed by Major Scale section, if you picked up a sheet of music and saw the chords D major and E major, from that alone you could deduce that the song is probably in A Major because that is the only key based on a major scale that will have those two chords consecutively.

Learning Music based on Chords Found in a Major Scale

The information in the Determining the Major Key of a Song section is especially helpful when learning new songs as well, because knowing which chords belong in which key helps you "fill in the blanks" when learning new music.

For example, if you were playing along with a CD that features a song that you're trying to learn, and you figured that the song contained a G major and A major chord, you could deduce that the song is in the key of D major, and therefore the only other major chord that you will normally find in the song will be a D major. You can also assume that the only minor chords that you will normally find in the song will be E minor, F# minor, and B minor. Usually this should give you enough building blocks to learn the entire song.

There are, of course, exceptions to this method, such as changing keys within a song. When that happens, you simply reapply the same technique to the part of the song that follows the key change.

Note: You should also take a look at the Common Chord Progressions section for some ideas on specific patterns of chords that are used in songs.


Previous PageBack to TopNext Page
Puller - Sugarless Lost Dogs - Real Men Cry Fourth Estate - Finesse & Fury Life Of Riley - Life Of Riley Imperials, The - Big God Parkening, Christopher - Christopher Parkening plays Bach Godspell - Godspell [2000 Cast] MxPx - Vol. 2-Way of the Buffalo Every Day Life (EDL) - American Standard All Star United - All Star United
Copyright © 2001 -2017