As a musician, you will often find yourself playing chords from more than one major scale. This is due to songwriters not simply adhering to one key when writing songs; rather they may utilize chords from various keys when crafting songs.
To create a triad, just take three notes from the major scale, each spaced a third apart – this forms a C Major chord!
A Major is one of the basic major chords and can be found across many musical genres and musical styles. It has a very hopeful quality to it that can provide comfort during hard times.
Modifying it further creates dominant 7 chords, minor 7 chords and half-diminished 7 chords. By adding a 7th to any triad it becomes more powerful and dramatic sounding, making it particularly suited to rock music – although Ry Cooder also demonstrated this technique with slide guitar as seen here.
The B Major chord may not be used frequently in songs, but it does crop up frequently. While more complex than some beginner-level chords to play on guitar, its presence cannot be ignored.
It’s basically an open A shape with two frets added on, which allows for experimentation of fingering techniques until you find one you prefer. Furthermore, bass notes in your left hand may also provide ample opportunities for exploration within this chord.
C Major is the only major key that does not contain any flats or sharps (black keys), making it easy for beginners to learn.
Tonally possible, but for an easier chord writing process you might opt for writing a Bm7(add9) chord instead. A minor 7th in the third scale degree may not be tolerated as easily.
D Major is a major scale key with two sharps, as well as being an essential chord progression and piano key chord chart key.
Scott Joplin composed his Maple Leaf Rag in D major, while Mozart and Beethoven also both composed their symphonies as well as Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony in this key.
E Major is an extremely versatile chord, adding drama and momentum to Beethoven sonatas, pop ballads, or rock anthems alike.
Like other major scales, E Major octave notes each have their own name. When returning from its highest sound to its starting note they reverse; by learning this pattern you can develop various E Major voicings across the fretboard.
F Major chords offer a wide array of emotional expression. Understanding them will enable you to craft harmonic progressions with greater impact.
Tonally possible, but typically a b9 chord without its minor third is reinterpreted as Bdim(add11) or Bm7(b5,11).
Chord modifications and extensions are covered in detail in the lesson Intervals & Chord Construction.
G major is one of the simpler major scales for guitarists to learn and it is frequently featured in popular music.
Reinterpreting a G6sus4 chord as an ordinary Dm7(no3) or F(#11,no3) chord is possible and often done to make progression more interesting – this process is known as adding chromatic notes. You could even switch a major chord for its relative minor chord and create even more musical varieties!
Major scales all share a universal formula and function identically. It’s an invaluable asset when creating creative chord progressions or improvising freely on stage.
Music theorists refer to the size of an interval between two notes as a tone/semitone or step, giving us all of the information we need to build any major scale starting from any pitch imaginable; additionally, any major scale may also contain flats if necessary.
The I Major chord is a major triad with an energetic sound. New guitarists should learn this chord as one of their first exercises.
Chord progressions in any key can begin and end on the I chord of that key, and then progress through other chords within that key (e.g. C F G) without changing their sound or appearance.