Looking for the C major chord scale? Then look no further. In this article we’ll be covering everything you need to know about the key of C, and we’ll include a free infographic that you can use to combine chords in the key of C major!
Highly recommended: check out our Piano Chord Poster – there are over 120 chords on 1 sheet & it’s great for practice!
What Are The Chords in The C Major Scale?
To find the chords in the C major scale, firstly we need to understand what the C major scale is. It’s a series of 7 notes, that are combined together to create a key you can use to create melodies that sounds good together.
The C major scale consists of 7 notes:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B
Every note in the scale has a chord that is assigned to it, and you can find these chords by using a specific chord scale formula.
The two most common chord scale formulas are:
- Major: Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, Diminished
- Minor: Minor, Diminished, Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major
Once you have this formula, you’ll need to understand how to use chord spellings to craft the chords in the C major scale from scratch.
The most common chord spellings (built from a major scale) are:
- Major – 1, 3, 5
- Minor – 1, b3, 5
- Diminished – 1, b3, b5
- Augmented – 1, 3, #5
You can use all of these spellings with no flat 3, as long as you use a major scale for major chords + augmented, and a minor scale for minor chords+ diminished chords.
If you take a note, you can use the spellings above to build a chord.
For instance, if you took the A note, and wanted to build a major chord, you would use the A major scale. You would then take the major chord spelling, and apply it to the scale you want.
If you want a B diminished, you’d use the B major scale. This is the same if you wanted a F minor chord – you’d use the F major scale and apply the major spelling above.
3 step guide to making chords
Decide What Chord You Want
Decide whether you want a major, minor or diminished chord, & decide the note you’re going to use.
Find The Scale You Need To Use
If you want a A major chord, use the A major scale. If you want a B minor chord, use the B major scale.
Use The Correct Spelling
Choose the major spelling for major chords, the minor for minor chords & so on…
You can plug these into the C major scale to get the chords.
- C major
- D minor
- E minor
- F major
- G major
- A minor
- B diminished
As you can see from the above, we can make triads out of these chords, which are 3 note chords. We can also add extensions to these chords if we like, which can make them sound more colourful.
Extensions are extra notes on the end of your chord, or inverted amongst the notes. For instance, a 7th, is just the 7th note in the scale. So, if we had a Cmaj7, you’d count up 7 notes in the scale. If you were adding a 9th, you’d count 9 notes in the scale.
! Remember !
For chord extensions, you will need to use the correct key to find the correct extension for your chord. To give an example, for a Cmaj7, you use C major – for an Amin7, you use A minor & so on.
Chords in The C Major Scale
As you can see above, we’ve include an infographic that breaks down the chords in the C major scale. You can use any of these chords together in a sequence and they will sound in key. They may not always make a nice progression, but use them together, try different combinations and you can make some awesome melodies.
Combine this with your MIDI piano roll, and the MIDI formulas, and you’ll be flying in no time.
What Are The Notes in The C Major Chord Scale Chords?
So now you know what the chords in the C major chord scale are, but what are the notes in the different chords? Let’s go over them now.
- C major – C, E, G
- D minor – D, F, A
- E minor – E, G, B
- F major – F, A, C
- G major – G, B, D
- A minor – A, C, E
- B diminished – B, D, F
Common Chord Progressions in C Major
Having the knowledge of chord scales is fantastic and you can use them to build any progression you want. You can also plug and play common chord progressions that already work! To do this, you use the Roman numerals provided in the infographic we have above.
Here are some common chord progressions (uppercase = major, lowercase = minor):
- ii, V, i
- I, IV, V
- I, V, vi, IV
- I, V, vi, iii
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ’d on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he’s done it, tested it, tried it.