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Joined: way back
Lessons: 4
Karma: 5


by bodom

5 Jul 2007
Views: 24917


Key Major minor minor Major Major minor minor b5
G G A B C D E F#
D D E F# G A B C#
A A B C# D E F# G#
E E F# G# A B C# D#
B B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# F# G# A# B C# D# E#
C# C# D# E# F# G# A# B#

F F G A Bb C D E
Bb Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Ab Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Gb Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
Cb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb
......Above are the 12 Keys and their common chords. At first glance it looks like there are 15 Keys... but... the Key of Gb has the same notes as F# so they are the same. Also... Key of Cb has the same notes as the Key of B so they are the same.... and Db is the same as C#. Therefore we have 12 Keys.

Now How to read this chart?
First pick a Key under the title Key. For example I will pick C. Ok now to find all the notes in this Key I just read left to right. So I now know the notes in the Key of C are C,D,E,F,G,A,B.
For the Key of Bb they are Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A. Easy right!

Now what is a Key?
Well basically it is a group of certain notes. Example If I wanted to play in the Key of Bb then I would play the notes Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A. If I played any other note than these seven I would be "stepping outside the key" or changing keys.

Ok so far we know the Keys and the notes involved in the Keys. So what about the chords? What chords are in what key? This chart makes that simple, for common chords.

First what is a chord?
A chord is just a group of notes played together. I will write a lesson on chords later. Yeah you guessed it this chart will help explain that as well.... but more on that later. Right now I will show you how to tell what chord is in what key, from this chart, I will go into deeper detail when I write the chord lesson. Ok so Im playing C major, F major and G major chords. What key am I in? Well look at the chart again. At the top you can see:
Major minor minor Major Major minor minorb5 (b stands for flat, # stands for sharp)
This tells you what chords are in that key.

Ok take the key of C. The first note in this key is C, If I look above that C there is a Major that is telling me that C Major is a chord in the key of C the next note is a D above that is a minor that is saying that D minor is a chord in the key of C
So I was playing C Major, F Major and G Major if I look at the chart I see that these three chords are in the key of C. There you go now you can find out what key the music is in by the chords played!
If I played the chords Bb Major, A minor and F Major what key am I in? Thats right the key of F.
What about F# Major, B Major and E# minor b5. Yep Key of F#

Well folks that is it in a nutshell if you have any questions or corrections let me know. I will work on more lessons later this week.



I'm gonna read this a few more times, cause I think I can really learn from it. I only had a few guitar lessons so I didn't get to learn a lot of theory, and I think these lessons are the perfect way to learn. If anyone's planning to say it is explained "too" detailed, I'm gonna have to disagree with them right now, cause if this too detailed for you, it's certainly not for a beginer like me.


Good to hear Mici If you have any questions at all just let me know and I will do my est to clear them up for you.


Is it right that to make a minor scale, off the ones above, I just take the last two notes and put them in the front??


Well I didnt really touch on the scales here. But now that you asked that I think I will write a lesson on them. But to answer your question really quick...... Yeah you are right just put the last 2 notes in the front and that is the related minor scale for that KEY.
Example the minor scale in the KEY of "C" is the A minor scale
The minor scale in the KEY of "G" is the E minor scale.


I understand everything ur sayin, but i want to know how would i find the key of a song that i am listening to. i am planning on playing for my church and i only plan on using chords. so i want to know how i would know what key a song is in so i can find the chords to that song. i have a topic about this on the forums. try to answer back there also


Well for alot of simple songs it is usally the first chord played, this is not always true. Another way is to look at the music in front of you. In church they usally play out of that song book thing. Look to the left of the music on the bar staff by the time sig. It will show sharps or flats on the lines. This will help you if you memorize how many flats or sharps are in the Keys. For example if you see there are three sharps then its in the Key
of "A" becasuse this Key has three sharps. If it has 2 sharps its in the Key of "D" Just look above at how many sharps or flats the Key has in it.


yea i get what ur saying. im kinda learning that stuff in my music class. but the songs we play aren't from a book. they're songs and the words are on a LCD projector. almost everyone knows how to sing the song. so couldn't i listen to the song to see whats the first chord of the song and work off of that?


Hey sorry man I forgot all about your question. Why do you want to know what Key you are playing in?


So, if the song is B, A, G........... what scale is that in? and a follow up: what lead would I play?


Well there are a couple of ways to answer this. If you are looking for a scale that you can play over all three of these chords then just use the reverse scale at the top of the page. This will give you a list of all the scales that use those notes. The notes are Bmaj=B,D#,F#, Amaj= A,C#,E Gmaj=G,B,D so the scales it gives you has these notes in it. Now the thing with this is, it going to be a weird sounding one. The problem is that these chords dont all fit in one Key together. So this means that you are going to have to switch between Keys when soloing over the chords. What I suggest to do, which may be more complex but it will sound better, is to use arpeggios. This just means playing the chord as individual notes. So if you are on the B play out the notes B,D# and F# if your on the A play A C# E and so on. Cool thing is it will never sound bad and you can mix the order, so it doesnt have to be B,D#F# it could be D#,D#,B,F#. This will draw out the major feel of the chord because you are only useing the 1 3 5. What if you want to use more than three notes? Well another way is treating each chord as a new key. Now if you want to add more notes, besides the 1 3 and 5, you can draw them from that Key of the chord. So for the Bmaj pull notes from that Key, for the Amaj pull from the Amaj scale. I would suggest to use these notes in passing though, try to finish on the root of the chord you are playing it just sounds better. May I suggest that you look into chord progressions. Im not going to go into this in much detial, cause I probly messed you up enough :p. But basicly each chord wants to be drawn to another chord(within that Key). Now if you are switching Keys that is where the cycle of fourths come into play. Agian you should look this stuff up it will help you create better sounding chord changes, more flow. I went on long enough, I only hope I gave you some ideas or some direction.


I sorta understand now, but my/my dad's friend said a key is when you play a chord and it is the notes in the chord that make a a key. Like, A = A, C, F, so those would be the chords within the key I thought ? But there is two C notes in the key but still.

And, is it the first chord you play that like decide what key it is or something ?


The notes in the chord determine which Key/Keys that chord is in. Im not sure what you mean by A=A,C,F? Are you talking about what notes are in the "A" chord? The notes in the chord "A" are A,C#,E. So as long as the Key has these notes then the "A" chord can be used.

The first chord played dosent always determine what Key the songis in, but sometimes it does work out that way.


thnx for the help but one question it doesnt show the chords to play for the Dm scale if you could tell me id appreciate it cheers troy.


Well this is a subject that im in the process of writting right now. Basicly every major scale has a relative minor scale with it. To find the relative minor scale for the major go up six notes. Example the Key of F. For the minor go up six. 1=F, 2=G, 3=A, 4=Bb, 5=C, 6=D, 7=E. So the relative minor of the Key of F is D. So playing Dm, all the chords would be the same. However the chord progressions would be different. The 1 chord would now be Dm the 2 chord would be Emb5 the 3 chord would be F major. I will show with pictures when I finish the lesson. So if you wanted to play the chord progression I IV V in F. The chords would be F, Bb, C. If you wanted to play I IV V in Dm then it would be Dm, Gm, Am. Hope that helped a bit.


Or, alternatively, count down three half-steps to find the relative minor!
e.g. F - half step = E
E - half step = Eb
Eb - half step = D
So you've gone F to E to Eb to D

So the relative minor of F major is D

Either way is good, but I think counting down three half steps instead of up 6 scalic notes is quicker.


The quickest is having them memorized and just knowing them. Surprisingly, id doesn't take much to know ALL the notes in a scale.


tnx, i really need 2 know the fretboard tho, u got a pic of it with the notes or somthing like tht?


Go to the "Guitar Scales" on this website. Then just choose the scale you want and it will show it all over the fretboard. So like if you wanted to seethe Key of C all over the fretboard click on C Ionian.


any 1 have a pic i can print of the fretboard? like where all the notes are marked. also i wana say tht this has really heped me with songs and stuff.


Ill send you a private msg with a link to some pictures.




In the keys of C# and F# you have and E#, what is that? In C# you also have a B#, so same question.

And then in the Gb key you have a Cb chord and then an entire key of Cb which contains an Fb. Same questions for these. I didn't think these were actual notes. Are they just referencing

E# = F ?
B# = C ?
Cb = B ?
Fb = E ?

thanks in advance


Yeah they are enharmonic equivalents, meaning they are the same but with different names. I did this so that you can see how many sharps/Flats are in each Key. Its a quick way to determine what Key a piece of music is in. If you look at the Key Signature and you see 3 #s then that piece of music is in the Key of A major. If you see 7 #s then its in major. If you see 3 bs(flats) then its Eb major and so on and so on. If it wasnt done this way then you would end up with 2 keys have 4#s in them. And 2 keys with 5bs in them.


yo man
if im playin G major, A Major then B major is it in the key of G??


nah if you were in G major youd have to play A minor and B minor with it, look at the chart at the top.


If it will help anybody on this lesson, the "minor b5" is also considered diminished(dim). so If any ya'll are having trouble finding a "F# minor b5" chord in the key of G for instance, it would just be called an F# dim.


First of all, thanks for the explenation, it seems to be quite clear but there's actually something I didn't get.

Let see the G Key Gmajor Aminor Bminor CMajor dMajor Emin and then F#b5 ??

how can the F be flat and sharp at the same time? In another blog I found as last chord F#dim7 . how about that?


Is there a GMajor key and a Gminor Key? in that case, is this table for Major or Minor?

Thank you very much for your asnwer.


how can the F be flat and sharp at the same time?

in a F#b5 chord the F is sharp and the fifth is flat


Hi so i just needed to know a few things:
1. So if i want to find the key of something all i have to do is use the above chart and match the chords?
2. Just so i don't have to use this chart whats the best way to remember this (should I just memorize everything on the chart)?
3. so if i find the key say i' m in the key of G I can use any scale that starts with the key of G ?



Hi mused sorry I took so long to answer. I dont come on here anymore. 1. Yes match up the chords and you will find the Key....But remeber songs can change Key. 2.The best way to remeber this chart is to remeber the notes in each Key....that means pretty much memerizing this chart...just practice writting out the chart and you should have it down in no time. Little hint, if you look at the order of the keys top to bottom its the cycle of 5ths. Its helpful to remeber what order the Keys are in and how many #s are in each Key. 3. This question is a little hard to understand... basiclly if your in the Key of G you can play any scale that has the same notes as the Key of G. Meaning if it has the notes G A B C D E F# Then you can use it. It dosent have to have all them but it CANT have any that are not in it like .......the notes F or A# etc. Maybe you should take a look at my lesson on scales. Hope This helped. Hahaha I may not be back on here for awhile.


that helped a lot really clear and simple thanks man,now on to learning all the notes by heart and i have a question, is soloing over a c major cord progression the dorian mode would be the the second interval dmin would i start that "pattern" on the min not resolve it on the root note of said mode and continue on with the major scale shape?
*note i would transition to dorian over the dmin cord were ever it would fall in said progression or can i use it over the entire progression?


What is the different among modes, scales, and keys? They are almost same.

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