What are the chords in the key of C major?
To answer this question we first of all need to take a look at the C major scale. The C major scale consists of the notes C D E F G A B C. Each of the chords in the key of C major are named after one of these notes. Secondly, all the chords in this key (C major) makes use of these notes only.
There is a pattern of naming major chords for every major key. This pattern is Major Minor Minor Major Major Minor Diminished.
To learn more about chords by key (what chords are in what key and why), check out my book, Master Piano Chords By Key And Give Yourself A Big Advantage When Playing, Learning Or Writing Songs.
Here are the chords in C major. I shall list both the triads (three note chords) and four note extended chords (with sevenths). Roman numerals indicate each chord’s position relative to the scale. Numerals that represent a major chord are usually capitalized, and minor and diminished chords are lower case.
- I – C major, C major seventh (Cmaj, Cmaj7)
- ii – D minor, D minor seventh (Dm, Dm7)
- iii – E minor, E minor seventh (Em, Em7)
- IV – F major, F major seventh (F, Fmaj 7)
- V – G major, G dominant seventh (G, G7)
- vi – A minor, A minor seventh (Am, Am7)
- vii° – B diminished, B minor seventh flat five (B°, Bm7b5)
When we add sevenths to these chords we end up with C major seventh, D minor seventh, E minor seventh, F major seventh, G dominant seventh, A minor seventh, and B minor seventh flat five (which on your instrument is the same as B half diminished seventh).
The following Key Chord Chart shows all the triads in C major as well as four note extended chords.
Piano Chords In The Key Of C Major
So what are the notes of these chords?
- Chord I, C major consists of the notes, C – E – G, while C major seventh consists of the notes, C – E – G – B.
- Chord ii, D minor consists of the notes, D – F – A. D minor seventh consists of the notes, D – F – A – C.
- Chord iii, E minor contains the notes, E – G – B. E minor seventh contains the notes, E – G – B – D.
- Chord IV, F major contains the notes, F – A – C. F major seventh contains the notes, F – A – C – E.
- Chord V, G major contains the notes, G – B – D. G dominant seventh contains the notes, G – B – D – F.
- Chord vi, A minor consists of the notes, A – C – E. A minor seventh consists of the note, A – C – E – G.
- Lastly, chord vii°, B diminished consists of the notes, B – D – F, while B minor seventh flat five consists of the notes, B – D – F – A.
Common chord progressions in the key of C major are as follows:
- I – IV – V (C – F- G)
- I – vi – IV – V (C – Am – F – G)
- ii – V – I (Dm7 – G7 – Cmaj7)
The following are diagrams of the C major key signature and the notes of the C major scale on the treble and bass clefs. This scale has no sharps and no flats. On piano, you play white keys only.
Here is the C major scale on piano.
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