An Easy Way to Work Out the Chords in any Major Key

To find the Diatonic chords in any Major key, the scale notes are played using an 'every-other-note' approach, to 3 notes at a time, then played together as a 3 note chord (Triad): e.g C Major scale = C D E F G A B (C) 3 every other notes starting on C = C E G.

Then, 3 every other notes starting on D = D F A.

Then the pattern continues: E G B, F A C, G D B, A C E , B D F

These 'Triads' are the basic forms of the chords in C Major. They spell-out the chords - C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, B diminished

To quickly find the Chords in ANY Major key, we simply do 2 things:

  1. Work out the names of the notes in the Major scale (the Major key you want to find the chords for)
  2. Apply the 'formula' Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor (Relative Minor), Diminished to these scale notes to create the chords.

So, in G Major: 1) Scale notes are: G A B C D E F# (G) 2)

Applying the 'formula', the Chords therefore are - G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em (Relative minor), F# diminished.

This is great example of learning a simple 'formula', and getting a lot of information for a very small amount of effort.

You will need to be able to name the notes in the scale, so that's yet another good reason to learn the notes on the guitar neck.

Also, you will need to be able to play the progression of chords, in various orders without pausing. But that's another lesson ...

Good luck
Martyn