What Chords Are Major in a Major Key?

First step to understanding major and minor chords is understanding how a major scale works.

Music is all about patterns, and once you understand its rules it can become easy to find your way around a key.

To create a major chord, simply take the first, third and fifth notes from your scale – this forms diatonic major chord or triad.

1. A Major Chord

Learning chords from the major scale can help develop your knowledge of creating and transposing chord progressions to other keys. Chords are built from triads, with their quality determined by how closely together their root, third, and fifth notes lie.

A major chord consists of the first, third and fifth notes in any given scale; this structure is known as a major triad.

2. B Major Chord

B major is an often-heard chord in popular and jazz music, often appearing at key points throughout tracks.

Learning it may take longer than other beginner chords, but this one’s an invaluable one to add to your arsenal. From creating chillier sounds like Bon Iver or Guns N’ Roses’ music theatre showstopper performances.

3. C Major Chord

Chords composed from major scale are typically more upbeat and optimistic than their minor scale counterparts, due to the order of notes within each chord.

Major chords consist of three notes that combine to form what is known as a major triad – consisting of the root note, major third note and perfect fifth.

4. D Major Chord

D major chord is an immensely versatile chord used across many genres of music as either the tonic or dominant chord. Additionally, it makes an excellent starting point for exploring extensions, inversions & different bass notes.

A D major chord contains its root, major third, and perfect fifth (steps one through five of the D major scale), making for an interesting progression when combined with suspensions or sevenths.

5. E Major Chord

E major chord is an extremely versatile shape; below are some of its more prevalent shapes.

It is an extremely versatile chord, capable of leading the progression for high-energy bangers or adding intensity to melancholy ballads. Furthermore, its use forms the basis for numerous extension chords – you may even use it solo! See how! Its relative minor is C minor.

6. F Major Chord

Once you’re comfortable with playing an F major chord, practice switching it with other chords in its key. F major is part of a major triad, consisting of its root (F), third (A), and fifth chord (C). Major triads have an upbeat sound!

Major triads can also be transformed into minor diatonic chords by adding seventh notes, such as D-F-A or E-G-B for instance. This process creates minor diatonic chords.

7. G Major Chord

G Major chord is one of the easiest major chords to learn on guitar, ukulele or piano and provides a clean yet satisfying sound ideal for anything from soft ballads to Drum ‘n Bass or Trap.

As with other major chords, the G major chord is formed from its first, third and fifth notes of the G Major scale. You can learn more about creating these scales in our lesson Building Chords from Major Scale.

8. H Major Chord

Typically speaking, chords can be distinguished as major or minor depending on how many half steps they contain; scales consist of whole steps and half steps and will contain different quantities depending on its quality.

Diatonic chords can be distinguished from those which use major second as they involve three semitones of movement between C and D; therefore these types of chords are known as diatonic.

9. I Major Chord

Major triads have long been a symbol of joy and lightness in Western music, from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony’s opening chords to Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison – most western composers employ major triads for creating musical moments full of happiness and positivity.

Major chord intervals create a positive experience for listeners, and belong to Ionian music mode.

These chords are known as diatonic major chords because they contain all three scale degrees – 1st, 3rd, and 5th – within them.

10. J Major Chord

Chord progressions form the backbone of almost all songs, providing key emotion and atmosphere-related characteristics of songs.

A major chord comprises three elements, including its root, major third and perfect fifth. A flattened major seventh also falls into this category but with a darker sound.

Beginners often start out playing major because it doesn’t contain as many sharps and flats than other keys.