Ok, so I know this question has been asked before.

But I cannot, for the life of me, find the answer:

If I want to play chords (power chords and regular chords) in a certain key, how do I know if they fit in.

I understand where regular chords like A, E, etc. fit in. But what about minor chords? What about power chords?

I mostly do a lot of picking, so I'm pretty weak when it comes to these things.
Power chords can semi fit in anywhere because they are just the root, 5th and octave, they don't have a 3rd to dictate major or minor.

When I say semi fit in, depending on what key you're playing in, you can usually get away with playing power chords when someone is playing either major or minor chords, but sometimes it doens't quite work.
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Scales. Learn them, understand them, know what they're about.
EDIT: I don't understand how you can 'understand' how major chords fit in a certain key, but nog how any other chord fits in one. Do you know what a key is? Again: learn your scales...
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Oh you're good.
Last edited by Base Ics at Sep 20, 2008,
Since no one has actually explained WHY, I guess I will. Take for example C major, C D E F G A B C, now, using these notes to make basic triads (major or minor) you get

C major (C E G)
D minor (D F A)
E minor (E F G)
F major (F A C)
G major (G B D)
A minor (A C E)
B diminished (B D F) (You probably shouldn't worry about these chords yet, learn the other 6 first)

As you can see, all the notes in these chords are taken from the C major scale. Now, I don't know if you know how to form chords, so I'm going to assume you don't simply so I don't have to post twice. If you know how then ignore the rest of this post.

To create a major triad, you take the first, third and fifth degrees of the parent scale (so if your making a D major chord you use the D major scale).

ex. The D major scale consists of the notes D E F# G A B C# D, now, to make the chord you take the first degree, being D, the third being F# and the fifth being A. So you play a D major chord you just play those three notes, with D being the lowest note in pitch (thicker strings).

For a minor chord, you just lower the third degree of the scale by a half step, what is called flattening, and add that to the chord instead of the regular third.

So, now you can see the C major chord, C E G, is made from the first third and fifth degrees of the parent scale, which is C major.

Now, extending on the example in C major, let's use D. The first degree of the scale is D, which is in the C major scale. Third degree is F#, which is not in the C major scale, however, F is. F also happens to be the minor third of D, so the D triad in C major becomes minor (as the fifth stays the same)

Hope I helped.
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Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.

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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
Yeah, sweet, that helped a lot.


I'm definitely gonna have to keep studying this out. There's so much behind the use of scales that I just don't get yet.
learn the intervals in a scale and understand them

tonic dominant etc a noob tip - a minor chord 3 frets down from a major in any (ionian) key all ways fits