Using A Scale To Produce A Chord Progression

Alright, so I will be explaining how I learned how to take a major scale [a minor scale in my next lesson] and to use that scale to produce a chord progression. And it only takes a little knowledge of scales, and a couple words to memorize. And afterwords hopefully you'll be able to, on the spot, produce chord progressions from a scale.

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Okay, so, this is what I consider a pretty simple way to figure out what chords are in a major key [minor keys eventually later] So let's begin: Let's start with an example using the C Major Scale. We should know (And if you didn't, you do now)That the notes in C major are: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and the octave C. And if I write them in their Roman Numerals it would be;
I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII. 
C,  D,  E,   F, G,  A,  B,    C .
So here is all you need to remember:
I   = Major
II  = Minor
III = Minor
IV  = Major
V   = Major
VI  = Minor
VII = Diminished
If you remember that order of: "Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, and Diminished" You will have the basic formula for Major Key Chord Progressions. So if we go back to our example of figuring out chords in the key of C Major, we would have our notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. and apply the one word that goes after each letter, whether it be major, minor, or diminished. I. C Major Chord II. D Minor Chord III. E Minor Chord IV. F Major Chord V. G Major Chord VI. A Minor Chord VII. B Diminished Chord See above we have the scale, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. In that order. And in the same order we have, Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, and Diminished. So we have: C Major, D Minor, E Minor, F Major, G Major, A Minor, and B Diminished. And there's the chords in the key of C Major! So let's test your knowledge. Lets try to figure out the chords in G Major. Take the G Major Scale, which is: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G. And our magic formula above; Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, Diminished. And try to figure out what chords are in the key of G Major. You can write it down or memorize it or whatever you do.
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Okay! What did you come up with? Hopefully it was: G Major A Minor B Minor C Major D Major E Minor F# Diminished Hope this lesson was informative :) Stay tuned for my next lesson on Natural Minor Scale and the chords that belong to them!

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    CPDmusic
    It's a good lesson for beginners. The only thing I'd recommend is explaining where the "major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, dim" pattern comes from (plus, with the knowledge on where that pattern comes from, the same could be applied to literally any scale). But other than that, good beginner lesson.
    frank.mcgar.92
    This is a little late, but the pattern is based on modes. Each time you move up to a different note on the major scale, the mode, or pattern shifts by one. So the major scale pattern for C is W W H W W W H, but if you play the C major scale starting on D the pattern moves up 1 to W H W W W H W, and you use that pattern to figure out the triad chord for D. So now we've got D E F G A B C, in which case the root, 3rd and the 5th is D F A, which is D minor. If we go to E, the pattern shifts to H W W W H W W, which is E F G A B C D. The root, 3rd and 5th of this patterns is E G B, which is E minor. Hope that makes sense.
    JestyrGod
    The only thing I'd recommend is explaining where the "major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, dim" pattern comes from (plus, with the knowledge on where that pattern comes from, the same could be applied to literally any scale).
    This is the main thing that I am looking for now! I got the patterns down and all the ways to make chords involving the major scale, but now I want to apply it to all of the modes, plus my pentatonics.
    kenziedear
    i found this to be rather uninformative. perhaps if there was any sort of explanation to help establish something on a conceptual level vs. straight memorozation and repetition of facts it would be more useful...? maj min min maj maj min dim is fine and dandy and all, but explain why.
    bmwagner72
    Thanks, I appreciate the lesson. Amazing I didn't already figure this out but I'm really slow to see the obvious.
    eakgun
    Hi thank you very much you answered a question spining in my head Very helpful. But really im looking forward for your explaning on where did the pattern (maj,min,min,maj,maj,min,dim) come from. Hope you can prepare a lesson soon
    bombad001
    Thank you, it's very simple and to the point. Maybe make another one going into depth for more advanced players or people studying music theory? Good job though
    megan9987
    Thanks, if I have some time, eventually I will post how the pattern came upon, but I'm busy today
    zeike21
    thanks..!! im one of that (And if you didn't, ... ) thanks a lot!