scales.chords, help

scales.chords, help    13:21 on Friday, January 6, 2012          

(5 points)
Posted by dazzzer

I have a question And also if i am wrong about something in my explanation please point it out as I am new to learning music,

I have been learning scales C major and D major in 2 octaves now I have been looking for information on how to use scales , it comes down to making chords
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
C D E F G A B C This is the c scale now the progression is C,F,G are major with know sharps and rest are minor .

Now say this was in the key of D , D,G,A would be major chords This is the part where I am a bit confused DFA > GBC>ACE> are the notes in the D major chords would they not be any sharps in there like
D F# A and GBC# AC#E ? I know the Key of D has two Sharps in the D scale

Re: scales.chords, help    14:32 on Friday, January 6, 2012          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Yes, you are correct. D major has two sharps, F and C. The sharps, or flats, in a key signature apply to all the notes in the music whether they are in the melodic linear single line or the chords.

so your D scale is,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
D E F# G A B C# D

Major Chords are always built on degrees 1, 4 and 5.
So your major chords will be. D,F#,A/ G,B,D/ and A,C#,E.

Re: scales.chords, help    17:45 on Friday, January 6, 2012          

(5 points)
Posted by dazzzer

So am i right in saying they will only ever be 6 chords from one scale ? also if you take the c scale of 6 chords, 3 major and 3 minor does this mean you cant play any other chord like say play a B major or A major as an example when playing in a c scale?

Re: scales.chords, help    15:10 on Saturday, January 7, 2012          

(24 points)
Posted by DiesIrae

Not sure what exactly what you mean, but I assume you're talking about diatonic chords (chords built from the pitches in a Ionian[major] scale). Because there are 7 pitches in the major scale, we get 7 basic triads. So, if we are in the key of D major:

^1 (scale degree 1)= D Major, D F# A
^2 = E minor, E G B
^3 = F# minor, F# A C#
^4 = G major, G B D
^5 = A major, A C# E
^6 = B minor, B D F#
^7 = C# diminished (flat 3 and flat 5), C# E G

This is the same for any ionian mode, useful nomenclature for this kind of analysis if Roman Numerals

I, ii, iii, IV, V, iv, vii-dim(dim is represented by a small circle)

Hope that makes sense. If not, I'm happy to try to explain it more clearly.

Re: scales.chords, help    16:04 on Saturday, January 7, 2012          

(24 points)
Posted by DiesIrae

As for playing other chords, like B major while in the key of C Major, you can almost always find a way to use any chord you want. These chords are no longer diatonic but still follow traditional tonal harmony.

* A lot of information is coming, and can be difficult to keep track of without someone being there in person to guide you through it. A good way to keep track of it is by getting some manuscript paper and writing the notes of each chord down, then labling them with the Roman Numeral analysis (like I, iii, V, and V/V).*

One way to get non-diatonic chords is through the use of secondary dominant chords. The Dominant is simply a name for the major chord build of the 5th of a tonic (In the key of C major: C is the Tonic, G is the Dominant). Now, a secondary dominant means the dominant of something that isn't the tonic. For example, a common progression is I-II-V-I (note that the ii [D, F, A] is replaced by II [D, F#, A]). The chord II is actually the dominant of V (D being the 5th note in G major). So instead of II we could also write this as V/V (five of five, or dominant of the dominant). With me?

Now, another common cadential progression is iii-II-V-I (or in our case, E minor, D major, G Major, C major). We can modify this progression with a B Major functioning as the dominant of iii (B is the fifth note in E minor). Therefore, B Major is the dominant of E minor, which is written as V/iii.

So our progression is VII-iii-II-V-I. Or, V/iii-iii-V/V-I. B major- E minor- D major- G major, C major.

Alright...I know that's a lot of information is you're not familiar with it, but tonal harmony is really fun when you get a hang of it. As a re-cap, one way of creating tonal progressions that have non-diatonic (with pitches that are not in the scale of the tonic, in our example C major) chords, is by using secondary dominant chords (which are major chords of the 5th scale degree of any chord that are not the tonic).

If you're confused, don't worry, I was too when I was learning this. Check out some on-line resources for Tonal Harmony. There are a ton of interactive lessons out there!


also look at the 8notes theory page

Re: scales.chords, help    23:25 on Monday, January 9, 2012          

(2 points)
Posted by dapianomon

It sounds like you are one the right track. I am a music director in a local church. I have given piano lessons by ear since many years ago. I always start my students out with first learning how to build the major scale in every key. Then we discuss the three primary chords in each key. Usually referring to key of C. I usually teach how to play a simple song using only the three major chords 1,4 and five. Example might be Mary had a little Lamb. It is important to take your time and get a completed understanding on the basic common chord progressions that many simple songs follow. Once you master this, you can play many,many songs for the first time by ear right after hearing them. From there I would start discussing with you how to apply your 2,3 and 6 chords and how to train your ear to hear them in any given song. Good Luck. May I suggest a great program for someone such as yourself? I believe you will find this program extremely valuable worth every the long run...MUCH cheaper than taking lessons!! Good Luck!

Rocket Piano - Learn Piano Today!
Go at your own pace with our online interactive Piano tutorial.

Re: scales.chords, help    19:06 on Thursday, January 12, 2012          

(173 points)
Posted by egretboy

You seem to be grasping the basic theory of major scales well (don't forget the F#), but make sure to also learn about minor scales. Usually, the minor scale has the seventh (and sometimes the sixth as well) of the scale moved up a half step to provide a leading tone to the tonic. This makes the chord based on the dominant, or fifth note of the scale, become a major chord.

You should never feel limited to the use of just I, IV, and V, or even all seven diatonic triads! Not only is modulation very acceptable (and has been for hundreds on years) , but the use of seventh/sixth/ninth (etc) chords is very widespread.


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