Hey, im not sure if im doing everything right, im trying to learned about the construction of major and minor chords and harmonizing a scale. so i harmonized the C major scale and got C Dm Em F G Am Bdim. im wondering that now can i use all these chords and make a chord progression? ive been hearing that you cant use all, and shouldnt use some of them, so which can i use? also, what is a key and how does it work? Is their a formula for finding out the key of a song when you have the chords of that song? so ya, any advice would help me a lot. thanks
If you continue to learn about harmonizing the major scale you will learn about the next step, the next step is degrees of a scale and functions.

You may have seen people talk about a I-IV-V chord progression and wondered what it is, well it just means you use the I, IV and V (1, 4 and 5) chords taken from your harmonized scale.

There are loads of different types of chord progressions, and all they are is really ordering the chords in a different way. After harmonizing your scale, each chord you get has a function. The I chord is the tonic, the V chord the dominant the vii chord is the leading tone or subtonic etc.

If you don't know what a key is then you may be getting ahead of yourself in harmonizing scales. The basic idea of a key is where the music wants to resolve, there are much better definitions out there though.
Last edited by Helpy Helperton at Aug 14, 2009,
If you take a look at your Key Formula:
I Major
ii minor
iii minor
IV Major
V Major
vi minor
vii diminished

Thats your basic outline for the key, so fill in the blanks to the right with your desired key and presto, you now know where the chords fit into the picture. It fits the construction of your major scale (WWHWWWH steps).

You might not want to use all 7 chords for a chord progression, even though you could, it just won't sound too pretty. Mostly look for groups of 3 or 4 chords that sound good together or flow into each other. This way, your verse and chorus sections basically follow each other, but with added depth. You could have 3 chords for the verse, and four for the chorus, or the other way round or however you wish. Your chords hold the harmony of a progression as well as a melody (depending on the high notes of your chords you let ring out). For a good example of chords and melody, take a listen to a few Led Zepellin tracks, ie: Babe I'm gonna leave you, Thank you, Over the hills and far away, Tangerine.

A few chord progressions for you to look into:

I - IV - V
I - vi - IV
I - ii - V
I - ii - iii - IV
IV - ii - V - I
vi - ii - V - I
iii - vi - ii - V - I
I - ii - vii
I - vi - ii - vii

That should help you out a bit. Be sure to listen for the underlying harmony between the chords as well as the melody possibilities that each progression gives. For my beginner students, I usually advise three keys to start off with... those being: C, G and D. Each key gives new possibilities, even though its following the same pattern of I - IV- V or vi - ii - V - I etc, the way the chords lie across the neck add several possibilities.

I hope this short lesson helps you, even though practically its no short lesson. Good luck!
Last edited by evolucian at Aug 14, 2009,