Okay so I believe that when your playing in a major key you use major chords except the second and the sixth are minor. But when playing in a minor key (using say dorian or melodic minor scales) what chords are major and what chords are minor?
not quite. check the theory sticky.
The third is also a minor chord and the seventh is a diminished chord in major scale.

I can never remember for the minor scale, as I just remember it as major chords but resolving to the sixth (and throwing in the harmonic minor note occasionally for a stronger cadence).
Go through the scale, look at the relative third from the note you are playing. If it is a major third, the chord for the note you are on should be major, if it is a minor third, the chord is minor. This works for any minor/major scale/mode.
Last edited by bnull24 at Jan 21, 2009,
A minor key is generally considered to have the following pattern: i iio III iv V VI VII. Any deviations from that would be using chromaticism, which is a topic to cover after you understand major and minor keys, or modal playing, which is a topic to cover when Arch and I deem you "ready for modes."

I'm fooling around, but the true definition of the modes confuses everyone at first, mostly because it seems like such a cool aspect of music and young guitarists want to jump into modes before they learn basic theory. This is akin to a youngster (6th grade, for this example) being told that differential equations (remember: Sue=math major) can model and predict biological processes, so the youngster tries to read a book on Diff EQs before even having a solid background in algebra, let alone differential and integral calculus.
Quote by michal23
The third is also a minor chord and the seventh is a diminished chord in major scale.

I can never remember for the minor scale, as I just remember it as major chords but resolving to the sixth (and throwing in the harmonic minor note occasionally for a stronger cadence).
Thats what I do

Major scale is I ii iii IV V vi viio I
So natural minor is i iio III iv v VI VII i

So for eg for C maj/A min

Major scale => C Dm Em F G Am Bdim C

Relative Minor scale => Am Bdim C Dm Em F G Am
i - minor
ii - Minor d5
III - Major.
iv - minor
V - Major
VI/vi - Can be either, depends on where you want your third.
vii - minor d5

And thats the Harmonic minor scale...

Drop the 7th down a semitone (halfstep) to get melodic.
Last edited by Conformist at Jan 21, 2009,
Quote by zhilla
Thats what I do

Major scale is I ii iii IV V vi viio I
So natural minor is i iio III iv v VI VII i

So for eg for C maj/A min

Major scale = C Dm Em F G Am Bdim C

Relative Minor scale = Am Bdim C Dm Em F G Am
Yes but no. In practice, the 5 chord in a minor key is major; it resolves better to the i chord.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
A minor key is generally considered to have the following pattern: i iio III iv V VI VII. Any deviations from that would be using chromaticism, which is a topic to cover after you understand major and minor keys, or modal playing, which is a topic to cover when Arch and I deem you "ready for modes."

I'm fooling around, but the true definition of the modes confuses everyone at first, mostly because it seems like such a cool aspect of music and young guitarists want to jump into modes before they learn basic theory. This is akin to a youngster (6th grade, for this example) being told that differential equations (remember: Sue=math major) can model and predict biological processes, so the youngster tries to read a book on Diff EQs before even having a solid background in algebra, let alone differential and integral calculus.

My trumpet teacher, who is a jazz genius, says you don't have you worry about modes and the extra knowledge won't really help you make better music. But thank you for clearing that up, when I started playing guitar a few years ago I realized that band class does a good job of teaching scales but doesn't introduce any chord theory which I find annoying.
Yes but no. In practice, the 5 chord in a minor key is major; it resolves better to the i chord.

Officially the 5th chord is minor, nothing more, nothing less. v-i works fine. It just depends what you want in that particular situation. Because using your reasoning, the 5th chord could also be a V7b9 (which resolves even better to the i chord than a V chord). v is diatonic in the key of i-minor, any other chord than v-minor will not be harmonized to the diatonic scale, and thus is not officially the chord that belongs to i-minor.

(remember that classical composers introduced the harmonic and melodic minor to get better resolving progressions, a V chord in a minor progression would be in the harmonic minor scale of i-minor, so it doesn't belong to i-minor.)
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Yes but no. In practice, the 5 chord in a minor key is major; it resolves better to the i chord.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that with the use of harmonic minor?
Since that raises the 7th, which would be the 3rd of the dominant triad of a minor scale, and so altering it's tonality?

Unless you're referring to the associated board of music theory outlook, this being that the natural minor scale does not exist and minor should automatically be considered harmonic minor, therefore allowing for a perfect cadence in a minor progression?

If i'm wrong please explain, thanks
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Last edited by dark_gilbert at Jan 21, 2009,
It borrows from the parallel harmonic minor scale, yes, but its use is so widespread that v - i is considered unusual. The chords in the key of Am are considered Am Bdim C Dm E F G, even though that G note should yield an Em chord.

So yeah, it's using harmonic or melodic minor, but minor keys are more complex than major keys.