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Meter

Each time signature can be classified into a certain meter.


The terms duple, triple, and quadruple refer to the number of beats in a measure.
The term simple means that each of these beats can be broken into two notes.
For example, 2/4 time is classified as simple duple.
Duple refers to the two beats per measure.

Simple states that each of these beats can be divided into two notes.

2/2 and 2/8 are also simple duple.

3/4 time is classified as simple triple.


Triple refers to the three beats per measure.

Again, simple states that each of these beats can be divided into two notes.
3/2 and 3/8 are also simple triple.

4/4 time is classified as simple quadruple due to its four beats which can be divided into two notes.
4/2 and 4/8 are also simple quadruple.

Notice that a time signature in simple meter will always have a 2, 3, or 4 for the top number.
While beats in simple meter are divided into two notes, beats in compound meter are divided into three.
To demonstrate this, we will examine 6/8 time.
The six quavers can either be grouped into two beats (compound duple) or three beats (simple triple).

Since the simple triple pattern already belongs to 3/4 time, 6/8 is compound duple.
Notice that each beat in 6/8 is a dotted crotchet. In fact, all compound meters will have some dotted note as its
beat.

Any time signature with a 6 on top is compound duple. 6/8 and 6/4 are the most commonly used.
9/8 time is classified as compound triple.
There are three beats (three dotted crotchets), thus making the meter triple.
Since each beat is made up of three notes, the meter is compound.

Any time signature with a 9 on top is compound triple. Although 9/8 is the most common; 9/2, 9/4, and 9/16 can
also be used.
Finally, 12/8 time is classified as compound quadruple.
There are four beats, thus making the meter quadruple.
Since each beat is made up of three notes, the meter is compound.
Any time signature with a 12 on top is compound quadruple. 12/8 and 12/16 are the most commonly used.
Simple Meter = each beat can be broken down into two notes (eg. 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 2/8, 3/8).
Compound Meter = each beat can be broken down into three notes (eg. 6/8, 9/8, 12/8)
Duple = 2 beats/measure (eg. 2/4, 2/8).
Triple = 3 beats/measure (eg. 3/4, 3/8).
Quadruple = 4 beats/measure (eg. 4/4, 4/8).
Music meter or metre
Metre or meter is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed "beats",
indicated in Western music notation by a symbol called a time signature. Properly, "meter" describes the whole
concept of measuring rhythmic units, but it can also be used as a specific descriptor for a measurement of an
individual piece as represented by the time signaturefor example, "This piece is in 4/4 meter" is equivalent to
"This piece is in 4/4 time" or "This piece has a 4/4 time signature". Meter is an entrainment, a representation of
changing aspects of music as patterns of temporal invariance, allowing listeners to synchronize their perception,
cognition, and behaviour with musical rhythms. Rhythm is distinguished from meter in that rhythms are patterns
of duration while meter involves our initial perception as well as subsequent anticipation of a series of beats that
we abstract from the rhythm surface of the music as it unfolds in time.
Rhythmic meter
There are four different time signatures in common use:
Simple duple (ex. 4/4)
Simple triple (ex. 3/4)
Compound duple (ex. 6/8)
Compound triple (ex. 9/8)

Two beats per measure


Three beats per measure

Beats divided in two

Beats divided in three

simple duple

compound duple

simple triple

compound triple

If each beat in a measure is divided into two parts, it is simple meter, and if divided into three it is compound. If
each measure is divided into two beats, it is duple meter, and if three it is triple. Some people also label
quadruple, while some consider it as two duples. The latter is more consistent with the above labelling system,
as any other division above triple, such as quintuple, is considered as duple+triple (12123) or triple+duple
(12312), depending on the accents in the musical example. However, in some music a quintuple may be treated
and perceived as one unit of five, especially at faster tempos.
Recognizing Meters
To learn to recognize meter, remember that (in most Western music) the beats and the subdivisions of beats are
all equal and even. So you are basically listening for a running, even pulse underlying the rhythms of the music.
For example, if it makes sense to count along with the music "ONE-and-Two-and-ONE-and-Two-and" (with all
the syllables very evenly spaced) then you probably have a simple duple meter. But if it's more comfortable to
count "ONE-and-a-Two-and-a-ONE-and-a-Two-and-a", it's probably compound duple meter. (Make sure
numbers always come on a pulse, and "one" always on the strongest pulse.) This may take some practice if
you're not used to it, but it can be useful practice for anyone who is learning about music. To help you get
started, the figure below sums up the most-used meters. To help give you an idea of what each meter should feel
like, here are some animations (with sound) of duple simple, duple compound, triple simple, triple compound,
quadruple simple, and quadruple compound

The meter of a piece of music is the arrangement of its rhythms in a repetitive pattern of strong and
weak beats. This does not necessarily mean that the rhythms themselves are repetitive, but they do
strongly suggest a repeated pattern of pulses. It is on these pulses, the beat of the music, that you tap
your foot, clap your hands, take a dance step, etc.
Some music does not have a meter. Much ancient music, such as Gregorian chants, some new music,
such as some experimental twentieth-century art music, and some Non-Western music, such as some
native American flute music, does not have a strong, repetitive pattern of beats. Some music, such as
traditional Western African drumming, tend to have very complex meters.
Most Western music does have simple, repetitive beat patterns. This makes meter a very useful way to
organize the music. Common notation, for example, divides the written music into small groups of
beats called measures, or bars. The lines dividing each measure from the next help the musician reading
the music to keep track of the rhythms. A piece (or section of the piece) is assigned a time signature
that tells the performer how many beats to expect in each measure, and what type of note should get
one beat. (For more on reading time signatures, please see Time Signature.)

Conducting also depends on the meter of the piece; conductors use different conducting patterns for the
different meters. These patterns emphasize the differences between the stronger and weaker beats and
also help the performers keep track of where they are in the music.
The conducting patterns depend only on the pattern of strong and weak beats. In other words, they only
depend on "how many beats there are in a measure", not "what type of note gets a beat". So even
though the time signature is often called the "meter" of a piece, one can talk about meter without
worrying about the time signature or even being able to read music.

Classifying meters
Meters can be classified by counting the number of beats from one strong beat to the next. For example, if the
meter of the music feels like "strong-weak-strong-weak", it is in duple meter. "strong-weak-weak-strong-weakweak" is triple meter, and "strong-weak-weak-weak" is quadruple. (Most people don't bother classifying the
more unusual meters, such as those with five beats in a measure.) Meters can also be classified as either simple
or compound. In a simple meter, each beat is basically divided into halves. In compound meters, each beat is
divided into thirds. A borrowed division occurs whenever the basic meter of a piece is interrupted by some beats
that sound like they come from a different meter. One of the most common examples of this is the use of triplets
to add some compound meter to a piece that is mostly in a simple meter.
Ametric music includes chant, some graphically scored works since the 1950s, and non-European folk music
such as honkyoku repertoire for shakuhachi.

The piano intro to "Take Five", a jazz composition in 5/4, note that the rhythm suggests a 12312 division
Once a metric hierarchy has been established, we, as listeners, will maintain that organization as long as
minimal evidence is present. Duple time is far more common than triple. Most popular music is in 4/4 time,
though often may be in 2/2 or cut time such as in bossa nova. Doo-wop and some other rock styles are
frequently in 12/8, or may be interpreted as 4/4 with heavy swing. Similarly, most classical music before the
20th century tended to stick to relatively straightforward meters such as 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8, though variations on
these such as 3/2 and 6/4 are also found. By the 20th century, composers were using less regular meters, such as
5/4 and 7/8.
Also in the 20th century, it became relatively more common to switch meter frequentlythe end of Igor
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a particularly extreme exampleand the use of asymmetrical rhythms where
each beat is a different length became more common: such metres include already discussed quintuple rhythms
as well as more complex constructs along the lines of 2+5+3/4 time, where each bar has a 2-beat unit, a 5-beat
unit, and a 3-beat unit, with a stress at the beginning of each unit; similar meters are used in various folk musics.
Other music has no metre at all (free time) (such as drone-based music as exemplified by La Monte Young),
features rhythms so complex that any meter is obscured (such as in serialism), or is based on additive rhythms
(such as some music by Philip Glass).
Meter is often combined with a rhythmic pattern to produce a particular style. This is true of dance music, such
as the waltz or tango, which has particular patterns of emphasizing beats which are instantly recognizable. This
is often done to make the music coincide with slow or fast steps in the dance, and can be thought of as the
musical equivalent of prosody. Sometimes, a particular musician or composition becomes identified with a
particular metric pattern; such is the case with the so-called Bo Diddley beat.

March rhythms

Polka rhythms

Siciliano rhythms

Waltz rhythms
Polymetre
Polymetre is the use of two metric frameworks simultaneously, or in regular alternation. Examples include Bla
Bartk's "Second String Quartet". Leonard Bernstein's "America" (from West Side Story) employs alternating
measures of 6/8 (compound duple) and 3/4 (simple triple). This gives a strong sense of two, followed by three,
stresses (indicated in bold type): // I-like-to be-in-A // ME RI CA//.
An example from the rock canon is "Kashmir" by the seminal British hard-rock quartet Led Zeppelin, in which
the percussion articulates 4/4 while the melodic instruments present a riff in 3/4. In "Toads Of The Short Forest"
(from the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh), composer Frank Zappa explains: "At this very moment on stage we
have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the
tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his nose." The math metal band Meshuggah uses complex
polymetres even more extensively; typically the songs are constructed in 4/4, with guitar riffing and bass drum
patterns in unusual meters such as 11/8 and 23/16. Usually the riffs are forced to resolve after 4 or 8 measures
resulting in a shorter 'fitpiece' which has a different meter from the rest of the section.
Meter in song
Issues involving meter in song reflect a combination of musical meter and poetic meter, especially when the
song is in a standard verse form. Traditional and popular songs fall heavily within a limited range of meters,
leading to a fair amount of interchangeability. For example, early hymnals commonly did not include musical
notation, but simply texts. The text could be sung to any tune known by the singers that had a matching meter,
and the tune chosen for a particular text might vary from one occasion to another. One case that illustrates the
potential use of this principle across musical genres is The Blind Boys of Alabama's rendition of the hymn
Amazing Grace, which is sung to the musical setting made famous by The Animals in their version of the folk
song The House of the Rising Sun.
Scale
Major scale = WWhWWWh
It is possible to build any major scale. Just start on a first note and follow the formula.
3 type of minor scale Natural, Harmonic and Melodic
Minor scale (natural) = WhWWhWW
Minor scale (harmonic) = Convert from natural minor scale by raising the 7th note by a semi-tone.
Minor scale (melodic) = Convert from natural minor scale by raising the 6th and 7th note by a semi-tone.
Melodic minor is usually used when ascending a scale while natural minor is preferred when descending.
Scale Degree

Scale Degree for Major, Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor

Scale Degree for Natural Minor

Each note on a scale has a special name, called a scale degree.


Eg. First note = tonic; fourth note = subdominant; fifth note = dominant
While the scale degrees for the first six notes are the same for both major and minor scales, the seventh one is
special.
If the seventh note is a half step below the tonic, it is called a leading tone. Musically, the seventh note wants to
lead into the tonic. Leading tones also occur in harmonic minor and melodic minor.
In natural minor, the seventh note is a whole step below the tonic. In this case, the note is called a subtonic.
Contrary to the leading tone, when the seventh note is a subtonic, it lacks the desire to lead into the tonic
musically.
Interval
Generic interval ignores accidental and measures only the interval of notes between space and line on a staff.
(Eg. C-C or C-C# are first or prime; C-D, D-E or E-F are seconds; C-E or E-G are thirdsD-C or E-D are
sevenths; and C-C or E-E, next octave, are all eighths).
Specific interval measures interval of notes between space and line and including accidental, hence, semi-tone
interval. The quality of an interval between 2 notes within a scale, whether it is a major, minor, perfect,
augmented or diminished, can be determined by their specific interval.
Major Second = is a generic 2nd and has 2h intervals
(eg. C to D = C, C#, D and E to F# = E, F#, F; is a generic second on the staff and has 2h intervals)
Major Third = is a generic 3rd and has 4h intervals
(eg. C to E = C, C#, D, Eb, E and E to G# = E, F, F#, G, G#; is a generic third and has 4h intervals)
Perfect Fourth = is a generic 4th and has 5h intervals
(eg. C to F and F to Bb)
Perfect Fifth = is a generic 5th and has 7h intervals
(eg. C to G and B to F#)
Major Sixth = is a generic 6th and has 9h intervals

(eg. C to A and Eb to C)
Major Seventh = is a generic 7th and has 11h intervals
(eg. C to B and D to C#)
Perfect Eighth or perfect octave = is a generic 8th and has 12h intervals
(eg. C to C)
A minor interval has 1h less than a major interval, hence, to transform the major intervals to minor interval, less
1h. Since minor intervals are transformed from major intervals, only seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths can be
minor.
Minor Second = has 1h intervals
Minor Third = has 3h intervals
Minor Sixth = has 8h intervals
Minor Seventh = has 10h intervals
An augmented interval is transform from a perfect and major interval by adding 1h.
A diminished interval is transform from a perfect and minor interval by subtracting 1h.

Add 1h.

Add 1h.

Less 1h.

Less 1h.

Less 1h.

Generic
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th

Maj
2
4
9
11

Specific
Per Min Aug
1
3
3
5
5
6
7
8
8
10
10
12
12
13

Dim
0
2
4
6
7
9
11

Circle of Fifths

The letters on the outside of the circle are the major keys and the letters on the inside are minor. The circle itself
shows how many sharps of flats there are in each key, and the key signatures are on the edge.
This is called the Circle of Fifths because each note is a perfect fifth away from another. A perfect fifth is the
distance of 7 notes tones: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E.
When we go clockwise around the circle, we are going "up a fifth". This is also called adding a sharp (because
of what it does to the key signature). When we go counter-clockwise, we are going "down a fourth". This is also
called adding a flat.
(This is also called the Circle of Fourths because when we go "up a fifth", it is the same thing as going down a
fourth. Also when we go "down a fifth", it is the same thing as going up a fourth.)
Chord
A chord is a combination of three or more notes within a scale.
In triads, they are created with a root, generic third and generic fifth.
Major triad chord = root + major third + perfect fifth
Minor triad chord = root + minor third + perfect fifth
Augmented triad chord = root + major third + augmented fifth
Diminished triad chord = root + minor third + diminished fifth

Additionally, there is the seventh chord. Five types of seventh chords are commonly used and three additional
types popular in music and jazz. A seventh chord is the combination of a triad and an interval of a seventh.
Type 1 - Dominant seventh chord (7) = major triad + minor seventh interval
Examples:
C dominant seventh chord
C-E-G is the major triad and C-Bb is the minor seventh
When combined, they form C dominant seventh chord: C-E-G-Bb
F# dominant seventh chord
F#-A#-C# is the major triad and F#-E is the minor seventh
When combined, they form F# dominant seventh chord: F#-A#-C#-E
Type 2 Major seventh chord (M7) = major triad + major seventh interval
Examples:
C major seventh chord
C-E-G is the major triad and C-B is the major seventh
When combined, they form C major seventh chord: C-E-G-B
Ab major seventh chord
Ab-C-Eb is the major triad and Ab-G is the major seventh
When combined, they form Ab major seventh chord: Ab-C-Eb-G
Type 3 Minor seventh chord (m7) = minor triad + minor seventh interval
Examples:
C minor seventh chord
C-Eb-G is the minor triad and C-Bb is the minor seventh
When combined, they form C minor seventh chord: C-Eb-G-Bb
Type 4 Half-diminished seventh chord (7= diminished triad + minor seventh interval
Examples:
C half-diminished seventh chord
C-Eb-Gb is the diminished triad and C-Bb is the minor seventh
When combined, they form C half-diminished seventh chord: C-Eb-Gb-Bb
Type 5 Diminished seventh chord (7) = diminished triad + diminished seventh interval
Examples:
C diminished seventh chord
C-Eb-Gb is the diminished triad and C-Bbb is the diminished seventh
When combined, they form C diminished seventh chord: C-Eb-Gb-Bbb
Type 6 Minor-major seventh chord (mM7) = minor triad + major seventh interval
Examples:
C minor-major seventh chord: C-Eb-G-B
Type 7 Augmented-major seventh chord (+M7) = augmented triad + major seventh interval
Examples:
C augmented major seventh chord: C-E-G#-B
Type 8 Augmented seventh chord (+7) = augmented triad + minor seventh interval

Examples:
C augmented seventh chord: C-E-G#-Bb
Diatonic Triads
Every major and minor scale has seven special triads, called the diatonic triads. To identify the diatonic triads,
follow the three steps.
1.
2.
3.

First, construct the scale. We will be using the C major scale for our first example.
Next, stack two generic thirds on top of each note.
Finally, analyze and determine the resulting triads.

Examples:
C major scale
1st triad is CEG, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, the triad is major.
2nd triad is DFA, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is minor.
3rd triad is EGB, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is also minor.
4th triad is FAC, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is major.
5th triad is GBD, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is also major.
6th triad is ACE, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is minor.
7th triad is BDF, a minor third and a diminished fifth. Therefore, it is diminished.
8th triad is a repetition of the first (CEG), making it major.
C Natural Minor scale
1st triad is CEbG, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, the triad is minor.
2nd triad is DFAb, a minor third and a diminished fifth. Therefore, it is diminished.
3rd triad is EbGBb, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is major.
4th triad is FAbC, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is minor.
5th triad is GBbD, a minor third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is also minor.
6th triad is AbCEb, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is major.
7th triad is BbDF, a major third and a perfect fifth. Therefore, it is also major.
8th triad is a repetition of the first (CEbG), making it minor.
The natural minor is converted to harmonic minor by raising the seventh tone by 1h, altering the third, fifth and
seventh chords, thus they need to be re-analysed and determined.
T he harmonic minor is converted to melodic minor by raising the sixth tone by 1h, altering the second, fourth
and sixth chords, thus they need to be re-analysed and determined.
Diatoninc Seventh Chord
In addition to the diatonic triads, every major and minor scale has seven diatonic seventh chords. To identify the
diatonic triads, follow the three steps.
1.
2.
3.

First, construct the scale.


Next, stack three generic thirds on top of each note.
Finally, analyze and determine the resulting triads.

Examples:
C major scale
1st chord is CEGB, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.
2nd chord is DFAC, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a minor seventh chord.
3rd chord is EGBD, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is also a minor seventh chord.
4th chord is FACE, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.
5th chord is GBDF, a major triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a dominant seventh chord.
6th chord is ACEG, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a minor seventh chord.
7th chord is BDFA, a diminished triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a half-diminished
seventh chord.
8th chord is a repetition of the first (CEGB), making it a major seventh chord.

The natural minor is converted to harmonic minor by raising the seventh tone by 1h, altering the first, third, fifth
and seventh chords, thus they need to be re-analysed and determined.
T he harmonic minor is converted to melodic minor by raising the sixth tone by 1h, altering the second, fourth,
sixth and seventh chords, thus they need to be re-analysed and determined.
Principal chords
Principal chords are main chords built from each scale and they can be used and played in replacement of other
chords that are built from a scale.
There are three principal chords in each scale. In the major keys, the three are tonic major chord (I),
Subdominant major chord (IV) and dominant seventh chords (V7). In the minor keys, the three are tonic minor
chord (i), Subdominant minor chord (iv) and dominant seventh chords (V7). To avoid using too many chords
and chords that are not pleasant to your ears, you can use these three principal chords to replace other chords in
a scale. (see dominant triads)
Dominant Triads
The "perfect fifth" is the strongest interval in music, next to the octave. Two chords whose roots are separated
by a perfect fifth have a close relationship. The tonic note of every scale has two such closely related triads: the
one a fifth above the tonic is the dominant triad, and the one a fifth below is the subdominant.
So every tonic tone is the center of a trio of strongly related chords, for example, F...C...G, where C is the tonic,
G the dominant, F the subdominant.

A dominant chord must be major, so that its middle tone is a half step away from the root of its partner triad and
can "lead" back to the tonic. It's the 'leading tone." In the key of C, the leading tone is B, which is the middle
tone of the G major chord. (see scale degree)
The subdominant is the reverse: the tonic chord is a fifth above the subdominant and if the tonic is major it has
just the same relationship to the subdominant as the dominant has to the tonic.
The leading effect of a dominant can be further enhanced by adding a minor seventh to the major triad. That's
like adding another leading tone, this one seeming like it wants to move to the middle tone of the tonic triad. For
example, G-B-D-F sets up a strong sense of movement to C-E-F. That's called a "dominant seventh chord."
In every key there is just one dominant seventh chord that can be spelled using the notes naturally available in
the scale. In major keys it's the chord built on the dominant tone, a fifth above the tonic.
You can alter other chords, though, to make them sound like a dominant. In C major you could change the
normal d minor chord to major and it will start to sound like the dominant of G, a fifth below D. Add a seventh,
making D-F#-A-C, and the effect is even stronger. That's a "secondary dominant" - a dominant chord made by
altering notes in a chord that is not ordinarily a dominant. This can be used to modulate to another key, or just to
give a particularly strong sense of movement, as in the progression C major, a minor, D dom7, G dom7, C
major.
Composing with Minor Scales
Unlike the major scale, there are 3 different minor scales. Composers will often merge two of these scales
natural and harmonic for a more pleasing composition.
Recall the diatonic triads of both scales and notice that many of the triads are the same. Three pairs of triads
(IIIIII+, vV, and VIIviio) are different due to harmonic minor's raised seventh degree.

In composition, III is preferred to III+. This is because III+, being an augmented chord, has a peculiar sound. V
is preferred to v since V contains a leading tone (and therefore is stronger). This does not mean that v cannot be
used. VII and viio are both used equally.

As you will later learn, each has a different function. The merged minor scale contains nine different diatonic
triads.
Source : http://www.musictheory.net/
What Chords are in what Key and why?
Source : http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/what_chords_are_in_what_key_and_why.html
Source : http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chord-theory/minor-key-theory.html
Basic Triads
Each diatonic scale has 7 different notes, which gives way to 7 possible triads for each key in music. A triad is
the 1st, 3rd, and5th notes of a scale played simultaneously to form a chord.
All chords are formed based on their respective major diatonic scale. A C chord is built on a C major scale, a D
chord is built on a D major scale, etc. There are 7 chords for each key, which correspond to the 7 notes in each
key's scale. Some chords can be in more than one key - for example, a D major chord can be in the keys D, A, or
G.
I'll use the key of C as an example: The key of C includes the notes C D E F G A B C. Each note of the scale
corresponds to a scale degree as shown:
Note

C D E F GAB C

Degree :
1 2 34 56 7 1
You can form 7 basic chords (triads) from the notes in the key of C. Each different note is the root of a different
chord. There are 3 combinations of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes that will be covered in this lesson. There are 3
more, but they are not included.
Major triad
:13 5
Minor triad
: 1 b3 5
Diminished triad : 1 b3 b5
Your first chord will be a C chord, because C is the first scale degree. Now, since this is a C chord, it will be
based on the C major diatonic scale. Take scale degrees 1 3 5 as shown below:
Note
:
Degree :

C D E F GAB C
1 2 345 6 7 1
*... *... *

This gives you notes C, E, and G. Since all 3 of those notes are in the key of C, you do not have to modify them
to fit, and you have a major triad (1 3 5). So your first chord is C major.
The second chord will be a D chord, because D is the 2nd scale degree. It's based on the D scale, which is D E
F# G A B C# D. Now, take 1 3 5 of this scale:
Note
:
Degree :

D E F# G A B C# D
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*... *.... *

This gives notes D F# A. This presents a problem - F# is not in the key of C! In order to keep this chord in key,
we have to flat the F# (lower it by 1/2 step) down to F natural. This gives D F A, which is scale degrees 1 b3 5
of the D major scale. 1 b3 5 is the formula for a minor triad. Therefore, your second chord is D minor.
The seventh chord will be a B chord, because B is the 7th scale degree. It's based on the B scale, which is B C#
D# E F# G# A# B. Now, take 1 3 5 of this scale:
Note
:
Degree :

B C# D# E F# G# A# B
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*.... *.... *

This gives notes B D# F#. D# (3) and F# (5) are not in the key of C, and must be flatted to D (b3) and F (b5),
respectively. This gives us scale degrees 1 b3 b5, which is the formula for a diminished triad. Based on these
examples, you can figure out the rest of the chords. However, they always follow a pattern:
I - major
ii - minor
iii - minor
IV - major
V - major
vi - minor
viio diminished
By applying this pattern, you can quickly figure out that the chords in the key of C are:
Cmaj
Dmin
Emin
Fmaj
Gmaj
Amin
Bdim

All the notes contained in the above chords will be in the key of C. This pattern works for any of the keys in the
Circle of 5ths. It does not, however, cover any scales that are not the major scale (such as the harmonic minor
scale, for example. That has its own pattern of chords).
This lesson will teach you how to use simple knowledge of a minor scale to get 7 chords from it. And all it will
take is a little memory. Lets take a scenario to get started. To begin we'll take the example and use the D minor
Scale which is: D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C, and the octave D. And we're going to be referring to the 'b' as a flat. If we
add the roman numerals to the notes it would be:
D
E
F
G
A
Bb
C

=I
= II
= III
= IV
=V
= VI
= VII

Now using that ^ up there, this is all that you need to remember to get 7 of the chords from the key of D minor:
i
iio
III
iv
v
VI
VII

= minor
= Diminished
= Major
= minor
= minor
= Major
= Major

This would mean that the chords in D minor key are: D minor, E Diminished, F Major, G minor, A minor, Bb
Major and C Major.
If you remember: "minor, Diminished, Major, minor, minor, Major, Major." In that same order you would have
the chords in D Minor, or whatever minor key you want.
For the key of E minor, the E minor scale, which happens to be: E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, and E the octave. You also
know that "minor, Diminished, Major, minor, minor, Major, Major." should give you the chord: E minor, F#
Diminished, G Major, A minor, B minor, C Major, and D Major.
Extended chords
Okay, so you've got the basic triads down? Great! Now on to extended chords. First, you must learn the
formulas for the 4 types of 7th chords.
Major 7th
Minor 7th
Dominant 7th
Minor/Major 7th

:1357
: 1 b3 5 b7
: 1 3 5 b7
: 1 b3 5 7

- Abbreviation: maj7
- Abbreviation: min7
- Abbreviation: 7, dom7
- Abbreviation: min/maj7

Now, let's return to our first chord. We know it's a major chord from Part 1. We can now figure out what type of
7th chord it is using the same method.
Note
: C D E F GAB C
Degree : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*... *... *... *
Your notes are C E G B, all in the key of C. No changes are needed to the notes, and so this is a maj7 chord. Our
second chord was a minor chord in Part 1. Let's take it to the next level, a 7th chord.
Note
: D E F# G A B C# D
Degree : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*... *.... *... *

The notes are D F# A C#. F# (3rd) and C# (7th) are not in the key of C, and must be flatted on down to F natural
(b3rd) and C natural (b7th). Therefore, your scale degrees for this chord are 1 b3 5 b7. This gives us a min7
chord. Our 5th chord is a G chord - let's find the 7th.
Note
: G A B C D E F# G
Degree : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*... *... *... *
Our notes are G B D F#. F# (7th) must be flatted to an F natural (b7). Our scale degrees are 1 3 5 b7, which is
the formula for a dominant 7th chord. Our 5th chord is G7! The seventh chord is a Bdim chord as shown in Part
1. Extending this chord, we find that it is a min7(b5) chord.
Note
: B C# D# E F# G# A# B
Degree : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
*.... *.... *..... *
This gives notes B D# F# A#. The D#, F#, and A# are all flatted 1/2 step to give degrees 1 b3 b5 b7. This is the
formula for a min7(b5) chord, also known as a half diminished chord. Using the same method you can figure
out the other chords. They also follow a pattern. That pattern goes as follows:
1 - maj7
2 - min7
3 - min7
4 - maj7
5 - dom7
6 - min7
7 - min7(b5)
And, as you may have guessed by now, the chords in the key of C are:
Cmaj7
Dmin7
Emin7
Fmaj7
G7 OR Gdom7 (they are the same chord)
Amin7
Bmin7(b5)
List of Major Scales and Diatonic Triads/Chords
C Maj Scale/C key
Notes
: C-D-E-F-G-A-B
Diatonic Triads : C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim
G Maj Scale/G key
Notes
: G-A-B-C-D-E-F#
Diatonic Triads : G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim
D Maj Scale/D key
Notes
: D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#
Diatonic Triads : D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#dim
A Maj Scale/A key
Notes
: A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#
Diatonic Triads : A, Bm, C#m, D, E, F#m, G#dim
E Maj Scale/E key
Notes
: E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#
Diatonic Triads : E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C#m, D#dim

B Maj Scale/B key


Notes
: B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A#
Diatonic Triads : B, C#m, D#m, E, F#, G#m, A#dim
F# Maj Scale/F# key
Notes
: F#-G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E#
Diatonic Triads : F#, G#m, A#m, B, C#m, D#m, E#dim
Db Maj Scale/Db key
Notes
: Db-Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C
Diatonic Triads : Db, Ebm, Fm, Gb, Ab, Bbm, Cdim
Ab Maj Scale/Ab key
Notes
: Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F-G
Diatonic Triads : Ab, Bbm, Cm, Db, Eb, Fm, Gdim
Eb Maj Scale/Eb key
Notes
: Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C-D
Diatonic Triads : Eb, Fm, Gm, Ab, Bb, Cm, Ddim
Bb Maj Scale/Bb key
Notes
: Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-A
Diatonic Triads : Bb, Cm, Dm, Eb, F, Gm, Adim
F Maj Scale/F key
Notes
: F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E
Diatonic Triads : F, Gm, Am, Bb, C, Dm, Edim
C min Scale/C min key
Notes
: C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb
Diatonic Triads : Cm, Ddim, Eb,Fm, Gm, Ab, Bb
G min Scale/G min key
Notes
: G-A-Bb-C-D-Eb-F
Diatonic Triads : Gm, Adim, Bb, Cm, Dm, Eb, F
D min Scale/D min key
Notes
: D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C
Diatonic Triads : Dm, Edim, F, Gm, Am, Bb, C
A min Scale/A min key
Notes
: A-B-C-D-E-F-G
Diatonic Triads : Am, Bdim, C, Dm , Em, F, G
E min Scale/E min key
Notes
: E-F#-G-A-B-C-D
Diatonic Triads : Em, F#dim, G, Am, Bm, C, D
B min Scale/B min key
Notes
: B-C#-D-E-F#-G-A
Diatonic Triads :Bm, C#dim, D, Em, F#m, G, A
F# min Scale/F# min key
Notes
: F#-G#-A-B-C#-D-E
Diatonic Triads : F#m, G#dim, A, Bm, C#m, D, E
C# min Scale/C# min key
Notes
: C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A-B
Diatonic Triads : C#m. D#dim, E, F#m, G#m, A, B

G# min Scale/G# min key


Notes
: G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-F#
Diatonic Triads : G#m, A#dim, B, C#m, D#m, E, F#
Eb min Scale/Eb min key
Notes
: Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-Cb-Db
Diatonic Triads : Ebm, Fdim, Gb, Abm, Bbm, Cb, Db
Bb min Scale/Bb min key
Notes
: Bb-C-Db-Eb-F-Gb-Ab
Diatonic Triads :Bbm, Cdim, Db, Ebm, Fm, Gb, Ab
F min Scale/F min key
Notes
: F-G-Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb
Diatonic Triads : Fm, Gdim, Ab, Bbm, Cm, Db, Eb
How to determine the scale from key signature

1)
2)
3)
4)

From the last sharp move up 1 half-tone to find major key.


Down 3 half-tone from the root of major to find minor key.
Second to last flat is the major key. Memorised key for 1 flat.
Down 3 half-tone from the root of major to find minor key.

Chord Progression
To find out.