We will create a chord chart for each key in the major scale. This will show you each chord in a key and when to use sharps and when to use flats when you are transcribing music into tabs and chord sheets.
I am here to give you a basic understanding of what chords belong in any major key. I will teach you how to figure this out on your own from the ground up. Knowing how this is done will teach you why you cannot mix sharps and flats when you are writing music.
3. We also need to know is when to use a minor chord and when to use a major chord. There is also one diminished chord for every key, too. Since we are writing in the major scale, every key is going to start with a major chord and end with that same major chord. The pattern for this is M-mi-mi-M-M-mi-dim-M. We will add that too our chart, too.
4. The last thing we need to know is that, besides the octave, we can only have ONE of each letter of the alphabet in a key and that we put them in alphabetical order. This is the heart of why we cannot mix sharps and flats! Let's start with the letter A and write each letter, ending on A (the octave) again:
Now that we have our letters in place, we can start using our T-T-S-T-T-T-S pattern to put in our sharps or flats. We will work from the left to the right, starting with A. For now, we will be using sharps to move up to the next semitone. 1. We start with the A chord. The first step in our pattern is T which means we have to go up one whole Tone (two semitones): A > A♯ > B. This lands us on a natural B. No sharps or flats.
2. From the B chord, the next step is another whole Tone: B > C > C♯. Remember, there is no B♯ or E♯ !
3. The next step in our pattern in an S. We only go up a Semitone: C♯ > D.
4. From the natural D, we have to go up a whole Tone: D > D♯ > E.
5. Go up another whole Tone: E > F > F♯. There is no E♯.
6. From F♯, we go up another whole Tone: F♯ > G > G♯.
7. And finally, a Semitone will bring us back to our main key: G♯ > A.
Major/Minor/Diminished chords: You can follow the pattern M-mi-mi-M-M-mi-dim-M to figure out which chords are major, minor, and diminished. Our pattern says the second, third and sixth chords are minor. That means our B is a Bm, our C♯ is a C♯m and our F♯ is an F♯m. Let's update our chart:
Finally, we can add our diminished seventh chord and our chart for the key of A is complete! We now know what the seven chords are in this key.
2. Using our pattern T-T-S-T-T-T-S, we know we have to go up one whole Tone: F > F♯ > G.
3. Again, for the next chord we go up one whole Tone: G > G♯ > A.
4. Here is where things get interesting! Our next move is to go up one Semitone. Since we are using sharps to move up, you would normally go from A > A♯, but we cannot do that because it would give us two A chords. As you know, we can only have ONE of each letter in our chart. If you have filled in your letters, you will see that there is already a B waiting there. This tells us that we need a B♭ in the next spot and NOT an A♯!
!!!Now we know we are working in flats instead of sharps!!! 5. Back to our pattern, we go up another whole Tone from B♭ > B > C. Remember, there is no C♭!
6. Next in the pattern is a whole Tone: C > D♭ > D.
7. We go up another whole Tone: D > E♭ > E.
8. Finally, to get back to our key, we go up one Semitone: E > F. Remember, there is no F♭!
Can you spot the problem? Using the chords that are provided incorrectly, we are missing the D chord and we have two E chords. This is what happens when you write music and mix sharps and flats - you end up mixing keys! The key to knowing whether you need a sharp or a flat is to follow the alphabet! If we take that key of B and write out our notes alphabetically, we would know that we need a D in the third spot like so:
Just follow your T T S T T T S pattern to determine your sharps or flats and then fill in your minor and diminished chords and you have correctly charted this key:
Yes, I know. I told you they did not exist, yet there they are! This is somewhat complex to explain, but I will try. 1. E♯, B♯, C♭, and F♭ do not technically exist as semitones in the major scale. There is no half-step between the notes of E and F or between B and C. If you look at a piano, you will see these as white keys next to each other. There is no sound between these notes. 2. That said, you can still use these names to identify a sound if you need to. One semitone up from B would normally be C. One semitone up from B could also be called B♯ but would still sound like a C. This is two names for the same note; the note that is next to B. One semitone lower than C would usually be a B in the major scale, but, you could call it a C♭ and it would still sound the same as a B. 3. This is a confusing concept, and it is much easier to say that these notes do not exist since most people will not have the occasion to use them. However, when you are writing out a chord chart like the one above, we do need to use them. Again, we go back to one of the golden rules in finding the chords in a key: we can only have ONE of each note in a key, in alphabetical order. 4. Take a look at the key of C♯. If you look at your circle of fifths, you will see that we need seven sharps in that key! Well, there are only seven different chords in a key. That means every single one is going to be a sharp, even the E♯ and B♯. Since we have to use each letter once, there is no way around it. About the Author: By Carrie Petri. Please contact me for comments or corrections: carriep63