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Chord Construction

Updated on December 12, 2017
Paul Westphal profile image

Paul studied music at MTSU, focusing on jazz, improvisation, and audio technology.

Intro

Chords and arpeggios are almost the same thing. A chord is a group of notes that are played simultaneously. An Arpeggio is just a chord that is played one note at a time. When we play a chord one note at a time we have arpeggiated it.


Chord Construction

For the sake of memory chords can be broken into 5 families. These families are Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished, and Synthetic. Listed below are 5 tables that show the chords of each family. Please note that these tables do not show all of the chords that exist. It is a vast outline of chords that are commonly perceived as "musical". Being able to recognize different chord types will give you a huge advantage as a musician.

In order to construct a chord we must be very familiar with our major and minor 3rd intervals. The reason for this is because most chords are built by stacking major and minor 3rds on top of one another. Notice that the C major chord below is made of a Major 3rd followed by a minor 3rd.

It is important to note that not all chords will be called the same thing by all people. It depends on the context they are being used in and also how the individual was taught. The more complex the chord the less established the name will be. Complex chords are usually named after the scale degrees that they contain.


Source

Major Chords

Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C major
C E G
1 3 5
C Major 6
C E G A
1 3 5 6
C Major 7
C E G B
1 3 5 7
Cmajor 9
C E G B D
1 3 5 7 9
C Major 6/9
C E G B A D
1 3 5 6 9
C major 6/9 b5
C E Gb A D
1 3 b5 6 9
C Major 9 b5
C E Gb B D
1 3 b5 7 9
C Major 7 #11
C E G B D F#
1 3 5 7 9 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale degrees
G Major
G B D
1 3 5
G Major 6
G B D E
1 3 5 6
G Major 7
G B D F#
1 3 5 7
G Major 9
G B D F# A
1 3 5 7 9
G Major 6/9
G B D E A
1 3 5 6 9
G Major 6/9 b5
G B Db E A
1 3 b5 6 9
G Major 9 b5
G B Db F# A
1 3 b5 7 9
G Major 7 #11
G B D F# C#
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
D Major
D F# A
1 3 5
D Major 6
D F# A B
1 3 5 6
D Major 7
D F# A C#
1 3 5 7
D Major 9
D F# A C# E
1 3 5 7 9
D Major 6/9
D F# A B E
1 3 5 6 9
D Major 6/9 b5
D F# Ab B E
1 3 b5 6 9
D Major 9 b5
D F# Ab C# E
1 3 b5 7 9
D Major 7 #11
D F# A C# G#
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
A Major
A C# E
1 3 5
A Major 6
A C# E F#
1 3 5 6
A Major 7
A C# E G#
1 3 5 7
A Major 9
A C# E G# B
1 3 5 7 9
A Major 6/9
A C# E F# B
1 3 5 6 9
A Major 6/9 b5
A C# Eb F# B
1 3 b5 6 9
A Major 9 b5
A C# Eb G# B
1 3 b5 7 9
A Major 7 #11
A C# E G# D#
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
E Major
E G# B
1 3 5
E Major 6
E G# B C
1 3 5 6
E Major 7
E G# B D#
1 3 5 7
E Major 9
E G# B D# F#
1 3 5 7 9
E Major 6/9
E G# B C F#
1 3 5 6 9
E Major 6/9 b5
E G# Bb C F#
1 3 b5 7
E Major 9 b5
E G# Bb D# F#
1 3 b5 7 9
E Major 7 #11
E G# B D# A#
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Note
Scale Degrees
B Major
B D# F#
1 3 5
B Major 6
B D# F#
1 3 5 6
B Major 7
B D# F#
1 3 5 7
B Major 9
B D# F#
1 3 5 7 9
B Major 6/9
B D# F#
1 3 5 6 9
B Major 6/9 b5
B D# F
1 3 b5 6 9
B Major 9 b5
B D# F#
1 3 b5 7 9
B Major 7 #11
B D# F#
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F# Major
F# A# C#
1 3 5
F# Major 6
F# A# C# D#
1 3 5 6
F# Major 7
F# A# C# E#
1 3 5 7
F# Major 9
F# A# C# E# G#
1 3 5 7 9
F# Major 6/9
F# A# C# D# G#
1 3 5 6 9
F# Major 6/9 b5
F# A# C D# G#
1 3 b5 6 9
F# Major 9 b5
F# A# C E# G#
1 3 b5 7 9
F# Major 7 #11
F# A# C# D# B
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Fegrees
C# Major
C# E# G#
1 3 5
C# Major 6
C# E# G# A#
1 3 5 6
C# Major 7
C# E# G# B#
1 3 5 7
C# Major 9
C# E# G# B# D#
1 3 5 7 9
C# Major 6/9
C# E# G# A# D#
1 3 5 6 9
C# Major 6/9 b5
C# E# G A# D#
1 3 b5 6 9
C# Major 9 b5
C# E# G B# D#
1 3 b5 7 9
C# Major7 #11
C# E# G# B# F##
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Db Major
Db F Ab
1 3 5
Db Major 6
Db F Ab Bb
1 3 5 6
Db Major 7
Db F Ab c
1 3 5 7
Db Major 9
Db F Abc Eb
1 3 5 7 9
Db Major 6/9
Db F Ab Bb Eb
1 3 5 6 9
Db Major6/9 b5
Db F Abb Bb Eb
1 3 b5 6 9
Db Major 9 b5
Db F Abb C Eb
1 3 b5 7 9
Db Major 7 #11
Db F Ab C G
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Note
Scale Degrees
Ab Major
Ab C Eb
1 3 5
Ab Major 6
Ab C Eb F
1 3 5 6
Ab Major 7
Ab C Eb G
1 3 5 7
Ab Major 9
Ab C Eb G Bb
1 3 5 7 9
Ab Major 6/9
Ab C Eb F Bb
1 3 5 6 9
Ab Major 6/9 b5
Ab C Ebb F Bb
1 3 b5 6 9
Ab Major 9 b5
Ab C Ebb G Bb
1 3 b5 7 9
Ab Major 7 #11
Ab C Eb G D
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Eb Major
Eb G Bb
1 3 5
Eb Major 6
Eb G Bb C
1 3 5 6
Eb Major 7
Eb G Bb D
1 3 5 7
Eb Major 9
Eb G Bb D F
1 3 5 7 9
Eb Major 6/9
Eb G Bb C F
1 3 5 6 9
Eb Major 6/9 b5
Eb G Bbb C F
1 3 b5 6 9
Eb Major 9 b5
Eb G Bb D F
1 3 b5 7 9
Eb Major 7 #11
Eb G Bb D A
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Bb Major
Bb D F
1 3 5
Bb Major 6
Bb D F G
1 3 5 6
Bb Major 7
Bb D F A
1 3 5 7
Bb Major 9
Bb D F A C
1 3 5 7 9
Bb Major 6/9
Bb D F G C
1 3 5 6 9
Bb Major 6/9 b5
Bb D Fb G C
1 3 b5 6 9
Bb Major 9 b5
Bb D Fb A C
1 3 b5 7 9
Bb Major 7 #11
Bb D F A E
1 3 5 7 #11
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F Major
F A C
1 3 5
F Major 6
F A C D
1 3 5 6
F Major 7
F A C E
1 3 5 7
F Major 9
F A C E G
1 3 5 7 9
F Major 6/9
F A C D G
1 3 5 6 9
F Major 6/9 b5
F A Cb D G
1 3 b5 6 9
F Major 9 b5
F A Cb E G
1 3 b5 7 9
F Major 7 #11
F A C E B
1 3 5 7 #11

Minor Chords

Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C minor
C Eb G
1 b3 5
C minor 6
C Eb G A
1 b3 5 6
C minor 7
C Eb G Bb
1 b3 5 b7
C minor 9
C Eb G Bb D
1 b3 5 b7 9
C minor 11
C Eb G Bb D F
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
C minor 13
C Eb G Bb D F
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
C minor/ Major 7
C Eb G B
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
G minor
G Bb D
1 b3 5
G minor 6
G Bb D E
1 b3 5 6
G minor 7
G Bb D F
1 b3 5 b7
G minor 9
G Bb D F A
1 b3 5 b7 9
G minor 11
G Bb D F A C
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
G minor 13
G Bb D FA C
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
G minor/ Major 7
G Bb D F#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
D minor
D F A
1 b3 5
D minor 6
D F A B
1 b3 5 6
D minor 7
D F A C
1 b3 5 b7
D minor 9
D F A C E
1 b3 5 b7 9
D minor 11
D F A C E G
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
D minor 13
D F A C E G B
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
D minor/ Major 7
D F A C#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
A minor
A C E
1 b3 5
A minor 6
A C E F#
1 b3 5 6
A minor 7
A C E G
1 b3 5 b7
A minor 9
A C E G B
1 b3 5 b7 9
A minor 11
A C E G B D
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
A minor 13
A C E G B D F#
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
A minor/ Major 7
A C E G#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
E minor
E G B
1 b3 5
E minor 6
E G B C#
1 b3 5 6
E minor 7
E G B D
1 b3 5 b7
E minor 9
E G B D F#
1 b3 5 b7 9
E minor 11
E G B D F# A
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
E minor 13
E G B D F# A C#
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
E minor/ Major 7
E G B D#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
B minor
B D F#
1 b3 5
B minor 6
B D F# G#
1 b3 5 6
B minor 7
B D F# A
1 b3 5 b7
B minor 9
B D F# A C#
1 b3 5 b7 9
B minor 11
B D F# A C# E
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
B minor 13
B D F# A C# E G#
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
B minor/ Major 7
B D F# A#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F# minor
F# A C#
1 b3 5
F# minor 6
F# A C# D#
1 b3 5 6
F# minor 7
F# A C# E
1 b3 5 b7
F# minor 9
F# A C# E G#
1 b3 5 b7 9
F# minor 11
F# A C# E G# B
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
F# minor 13
F# A C# E G# B D#
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
F# minor/ Major 7
F# A C# E#
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C# minor
C# E G#
1 b3 b5
C# minor 6
C# E G# A#
1 b3 b5 6
C# minor 7
C# E G# B
1 b3 b5 b7
C# minor 9
C# E G# B D#
1 b3 b5 b7 9
C# minor 11
C# E G# B D# F#
1 b3 b5 b7 9 11
C# minor 13
C# E G# B D# F# A#
1 b3 b5 b7 9 11 13
C# minor/ Major 7
C# E G# B#
1 b3 b5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Ab minor
Ab Cb Eb
1 b3 5
Ab minor 6
Ab Cb Eb F
1 b3 5 6
Ab minor 7
Ab Cb Eb Gb
1 b3 5 b7
Ab minor 9
Ab Cb Eb Gb Bb
1 b3 5 b7 9
Ab minor 11
Ab Cb Eb Gb Bb Db
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
Ab minor 13
Ab Cb Eb Gb Bb Db F
1 b3 5 b7 8 11 13
Ab minor/ Major 7
Ab Cb Eb G
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Eb minor
Eb Gb Bb
1 b3 5
Eb minor 6
Eb Gb Bb C
1 b3 5 6
Eb minor 7
Eb Gb Bb Db
1 b3 5 b7
Eb minor 9
Eb Gb Bb Db F
1 b3 5 b7 9
Eb minor 11
Eb Gb Bb Db F Ab
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
Eb minor 13
Eb Gb Bb Db F Ab C
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
Eb minor/ Major 7
Eb Gb Bb D
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Bb minor
Bb Db F
1 b3 5
Bb minor 6
Bb Db F G
1 b3 5 6
Bb minor 7
Bb Db F Ab
1 b3 5 b7
Bb minor 9
Bb Db F Ab C
1 b3 5 b7 9
Bb minor 11
Bb Db F Ab C Eb
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
Bb minor 13
Bb Db F Ab C Eb G
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
Bb minor/ Major 7
Bb Db F A
1 b3 5 7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F minor
F Ab C
1 b3 5
F minor 6
F Ab C D
1 b3 5 6
F minor 7
F Ab C Eb
1 b3 5 b7
F minor 9
F Ab C Eb G
1 b3 5 b7 9
F minor 11
F Ab C Eb G Bb
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
F minor 13
F Ab C Eb G Bb D
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
F minor/ Major 7
F Ab C E
1 b3 5 7

Augmented Chords

Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C Augmented
C E G#
1 3 #5
C Augmented Major 7
C E G# B
1 3 #5 7
C Augmented Minor 7
C E G# Bb
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
G Augmented
G B D#
1 3 #5
G Augmented Major 7
G B D# F#
1 3 #5 7
G Augmented Minor 7
G B D# F
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
D Augmented
D F# A#
1 3 #5
D Augmented Major 7
D F# A# C#
1 3 #5 7
D Augmented Minor 7
D F# A# C
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
A Augmented
A C# E#
1 3 #5
A Augmented Major 7
A C# E# G#
1 3 #5 7
A Augmented Minor 7
A C# E# G
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
E Augmented
E G# B#
1 3 #5
E Augmented Major 7
E G# B# D#
1 3 #5 7
E Augmented Minor 7
E G# B# D
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
B Augmented
B D# F##
1 3 #5
B Augmented Major 7
B D# F## A#
1 3 #5 7
B AugmentedMinor 7
B D# F## A
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F# Augmented
F# A# C##
1 3 #5
F# Augmented Major 7
F# A# C## E#
1 3 #5 7
F# Augmented Minor 7
F# A# C## E
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C# Augmented
C# E# G##
1 3 #5
C# Augmented Major 7
C# E# G## B#
1 3 #5 7
C# Augmented Minor 7
C# E# G## B
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord notes
Scale Degrees
Ab Augmented
Ab C E
1 3 #5
Ab Augmented Major 7
Ab C E G
1 3 #5 7
Ab Augmented Minor 7
Ab C E Gb
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Eb Augmented
Eb G B
1 3 #5
Eb Augmented Major 7
Eb G B D
1 3 #5 7
Eb Augmented Minor 7
Eb G B Db
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Bb Augmented
Bb D F#
1 3 #5
Bb Augmented Major 7
Bb D F# A
1 3 #5 7
Bb Augmented Minor 7
Bb D F# Ab
1 3 #5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F Augmented
F A C#
1 3 #5
F Augmented Major 7
F A C# E
1 3 #5 7
F Augmented Minor 7
F A C# Eb
1 3 #5 b7

Diminished Chords

Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C Diminished
C Eb Gb
1 b3 b5
C Half-Diminished
C Eb Gb Bb
1 b3 b5 b7
C Fully-Diminished
C Eb Gb Bbb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
G Diminished
G Bb Db
1 b3 b5
G Half-Diminished
G Bb Db F
1 b3 b5 b7
G Fully-Diminished
G Bb Db Fb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
D Diminished
D F Ab
1 b3 b5
D Half-Diminished
D F Ab C
1 b3 b5 b7
D Fully-Diminished
D F Ab Cb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Names
Chord Notes
Scale degrees
A Diminished
A C Eb
1 b3 b5
A Half-Diminished
A C Eb G
1 b3 b5 b7
A Fully-Diminished
A C Eb Gb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
E Diminished
E G Bb
1 b3 b5
E Half-Diminished
E G Bb D
1 b3 b5 b7
E Fully-Diminished
E G Bb Db
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
B Diminished
B D F
1 b3 b5
B Half-Diminished
B D F A
1 b3 b5 b7
B Fully-Diminished
B D F Ab
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F# Diminished
F# A C
1 b3 b5
F# Half-Diminished
F# A C E
1 b3 b5 b7
F# Fully-Diminished
F# A C Eb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chords Notes
Scale Degrees
C# Diminished
C# E G
1 b3 b5
C# Half-Diminished
C# E G B
1 b3 b5 b7
C# Fully-Diminished
C# E G Bb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Ab Diminished
Ab Cb Ebb
1 b3 b5
Ab Half-Diminished
Ab Cb Ebb Gb
1 b3 b5 b7
Ab Fully-Diminished
Ab Cb Ebb Gbb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Eb Diminished
Eb Gb Bbb
1 b3 b5
Eb Half-Diminished
Eb Gb Bbb Db
1 b3 b5 b7
Eb Fully-Diminished
Eb Gb Bbb Dbb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Bb Diminished
Bb Db Fb
1 b3 b5
Bb Half-Diminished
Bb Db Fb Ab
1 b3 b5 b7
Bb Fully-Diminished
Bb Db Fb Abb
1 b3 b5 bb7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F Diminished
F Ab Cb
1 b3 b5
F Half-Diminished
F Ab Cb Eb
1 b3 b5 b7
F Fully-Diminished
F Ab Cb Ebb
1 b3 b5 bb7

Circle of Fifths

Synthetic Chords

Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C Power Chord
C G
1 5
C sus 2
C D G
1 2 5
C sus 4
C F G
1 4 5
C Dominant sus 2
C D G Bb
1 2 5 b7
C Dominant sus 4
C F G Bb
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
G Power Chord
G D
1 5
G sus 2
G A D
1 2 5
G sus 4
G C D
1 4 5
G Dominant sus 2
G A D F
1 2 5 b7
G Dominant sus 4
G C D F
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
D Power Chord
D A
1 5
D sus 2
D E A
1 2 5
D sus 4
D G A
1 4 5
D Dominant sus 2
D E A C
1 2 5 b7
D Dominant sus 4
D G A C
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
A Power Chord
A E
1 5
A sus 2
A B E
1 2 5
A sus 4
A D E
1 4 5
A Dominant sus 2
A B E G
1 2 5 b7
A Dominant sus 4
A D E G
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degres
E Power Chord
E B
1 5
E sus 2
E F# B
1 2 5
E sus 4
E A B
1 4 5
E Dominant sus 2
E F# B D
1 2 5 b7
E Dominant sus 4
E A B D
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
B Power Chord
B F#
1 5
B sus 2
B C# F#
1 2 5
B sus 4
B E F#
1 4 5
B Dominant sus 2
B C# F# A
1 2 5 b7
B Dominant sus 4
B E F# A
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F# Power Chord
F# C#
1 5
F# sus2
F# G# C#
1 2 5
F# sus 4
F# B C#
1 4 5
F# Dominant sus 2
F# G# C# E
1 2 5 b7
F# Dominant sus 4
F# B C# E
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
C# Power Chord
C# G#
1 5
C# sus 2
C# D# G#
1 2 5
C# sus 4
C# F# G#
1 4 5
C# Dominant sus 2
C# D# G# B
1 2 5 b7
C# Dominant sus 4
C# F# G# B
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Ab Power Chord
Ab Eb
1 5
Ab sus 2
Ab Bb Eb
1 2 5
Ab sus 4
Ab Db Eb
1 4 5
Ab Dominant sus 2
Ab Bb Eb Gb
1 2 5 b7
Ab Dominant sus 4
Ab Db Eb Gb
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Eb Power Chord
Eb Bb
1 5
Eb sus 2
Eb F Bb
1 2 5
Eb sus 4
Eb Ab Bb
1 4 5
Eb Dominant sus 2
Eb F Bb Db
1 2 5 b7
Eb Dominant sus 4
Eb Ab Bb Db
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
Bb Power Chord
Bb F
1 5
Bb sus 2
Bb C F
1 2 5
Bb sus4
Bb Eb F
1 4 5
Bb Dominant sus 2
Bb C F Ab
1 2 5 b7
Bb Dominant sus 4
Bb Eb F Ab
1 4 5 b7
Chord Name
Chord Notes
Scale Degrees
F Power Chord
F C
1 5
F sus 2
F G C
1 2 5
F sus 3
F Bb C
1 4 5
F Dominant sus 2
F G C Eb
1 2 5 b7
F Dominant sus 4
F Bb C Eb
1 4 5 b7

When someone says that a chord progression is a I, vi, ii, V in the key of C, they are referring to those number triads in that key. In order to play a melody over that chord progression you would simply play the C major scale over top of it, while making up interesting rhythms and note combinations. If you wanted to be a little more complex you could play a different scale for each chord. You could do this by finding scales that correspond with each chord. This is a characteristic of Jazz. If you are playing a scale over a C Major chord then you would want to use a C scale that has the same notes that are contained in the C Major chord. These notes are of course C, E, and G. There are many scales that you can choose from or make up that are compatible with the C Major chord. C Ionian is just one example.

Chord Progressions

Chord progressions are a huge part of making music. The chords provide the backdrop of a piece of music. The melody is then played over top of the selected chord progression, This common practice for most Western Tonal music.

If you play a chordal instrument you should be able to construct chord progressions on your instrument. The cool thing about chordal instruments is that they can play both chords and melody, unlike some other instruments. Even if you play a non-chordal instrument it still helps to understand chord theory and chord progressions. Doing so will allow you to know what scales you should play when confronted with a certain chord progression. First let us use a reference key in order to determine the 7 different chords that are in a key. I will use C major for simplicity sake. Notice that the major chords have capital roman numerals and the minor chords are represented by lowercase roman numerals. This is standard practice in music theory.

C D E F G A B C

Chords I, IV, and V will always be Major in Major keys. Chords ii, iii, and vi will always be minor in Major keys. Chord vii will always be diminished in Major keys.

Roman Numeral
Notes
Chord Quality
Scale Degrees
I
C E G
Major
1 3 5
ii
D F A
minor
2 4 6
iii
E G B
minor
3 5 7
IV
F A C
Major
4 6 1
V
G B D
Major
5 7 2
vi
A C E
minor
6 1 3
vii
B D F
diminished
7 2 4

Chord Construction

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    • chasmac profile image

      chasmac 

      6 years ago from UK

      Nicely laid out info - clear and simple.

      Just a typo correction though, augmented chords are 1 3 #5, not 1 #3 #5

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