Chords in C Major Scale


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How many CHORDS IN C MAJOR SCALE do you know? With out using the circle of fifths, you can determine those chords. Let Me Help You Out!
But also lets say for a moment that you know these chords already. If that is you great! this with give you the why and how of these chords.

But for a moment let me put together a scenario for you. Lets say you stumble upon an opportunity to fill in with a show band who’s guitarist is out sick. Upon your arrival the music director or band leader greets you and tells you what tunes your playing and adds that they play them just a little different. No Problem right? Till this happens.

Then he hands you the sheet music of the arrangement they use. Then he tells you to be there tomorrow night about half an hour before curtain time. Then he rushes out before you can ask any further questions. Let me add to this, the entire band is gone also.

This happens more often than not!  So let me strip all the problems away from this and narrow it down to just one problem!  What Key is this tune or tunes played in?  Do you know by the sheet music where to find that information?  I’m going to show that to you as well but first.

Toes – Zac Brown & Jimmy Buffet

Why C Major Scale Chords Will Make You Question Everything

There are few chord combinations that are as essential or as commonly used as C, F, and G. Master these three and you will be able to play an infinite number of popular songs from the last 100 years or so, from John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane”  to Neil Young’s “Love is a Rose” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind”  to my favorite Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffet singing “Toes”

This is why most lessons teaching guitar chords for beginners start with these three chords. What are chords? Several notes played together make up a chord. The C chord, for example, is made up of the notes C, E, and G, which is also called a Triad meaning a chord built using three notes.

This is also the first chord in the key of C Major. (A key is a musical term for a set of chords whose root notes form the major scale). Further, a key’s chords will sound like they belong together when played in a chord progression.

The remaining six C Major Scale Guitar Chords are D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, and B diminished. All major scales contain seven notes and they all use the major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished chord formula. All of these chords are built by stacking thirds on top of each other.

Will Formulas Ever Rule The World


Chord Chart

So to build the first chord, we start at “C”, stack a third (the third note “E”) and another third (G). That’s how we get the C major chord. C- E- G.

Next is the D chord. Again, starting at D, begin stacking thirds. So if the first note is “D”, the third note will be “F” and the fifth note will be “A”. Thus, D- F- A = D minor.

Going by the same formula, the E minor will have the notes E- G- B.

The F Major chord will be made up of the notes F- A- C.

The chord from the fifth degree of the C Major Scale is G Major. Its notes, G- B- D.

A minor is made up of A- C- E , and the B diminished consists of B- D- F.

Keeping It Simple

This is known and taught as the simplest key due to its lack of sharps or flats.  Also as a side note, a common way to number these chords is by using Roman numerals I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii (numerals that represent a major chord are usually upper case, while minor and diminished chords are normally lower case).


Working Musician

So in conclusion, the chords in C Major Scale are C- D- E- F- G- A- B.  Key Signature: No sharps or flats, only natural notes. Scale Formula: 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7 and Scale Intervals: W- W- H- W- W- W- H.

My Final Thoughts



As you can see some aspects of music really isn’t as hard as you might think.

A little knowledge will take you a long way. I do hope this helped in some small way.

What is the 2nd most popular key that pop music is written in today?

 Leave me a Comment Below and Share this on your Social Platforms.




4 thoughts on “Chords in C Major Scale

  1. Jason Thomas

    Hi Markus, this is a great informative site. I must confess, when it comes to the theory side to guitar, I’m a little late to the party. I’ve been playing the best part of 30 years and I’m only now starting to take an interest in it, i was a typical guitarist wanting to cut corners and get to the good stuff.

    I now understand and realize how important it is to have at least a basic understanding of the guitar neck and the notes, it helps you become a more creative player all round.

    i also personally think, even if you only like one particular genre, it’s always worth listening closely to all players, as there is always something to learn going on.

    I’ve actually started relearning a lot of stuff that I skipped through or have forgotten over the years as I get a lot of people asking me questions when we jam etc. I then struggle to explain what I’m doing because I play without knowing the theory behind what I’m actually doing. This is fine when you are playing for your own entertainment, but when people want to actually learn from me, I want to tutor them properly. A bit like you’re doing here with your site.


    1. Markus Post author

      Whats up Jay? Thanks for stopping by and taking a peak at what we’re all about here.I do try to keep it informative as I can.
      Well Jay you know its better late than never coming to the party to begin with.:) Besides theory is pretty dry.
      I did the same thing being a typical guitarist ( bassist,horn player, vox) get right to the heart of things.

      In my own little way I’m trying to help those who are thinking about learning to play the guitar do it the right way by learning music.
      Because if that is really what one wants to do as a profession and not as a hobby, then you can make a good living with it. Without being a “SuperStar”.
      I know in my case I’ve got the position simply because I could read music and the other guitarist couldn’t. And the other player could out play me by a long shot.

      Your right with the one genre music! I did the same thing and when I broke loose from that it was almost like re-learning. Theres a lot we can learn from all styles.
      And whats cool is we can work those techniques into our own style. Thus becoming the type of player we are. Plus you learn a lot of music people pay to hear.

      Thats excellent Jay relearning what you skipped through. I try to do that once a year getting about 5-10 lessons to brush up with. I think it helps in the long run.
      Jay again thanks for stopping by, come by and see us again as I do look forward to talking with you. If I can point you in a direction let me know will be glad to help.

      Thanks 🙂

  2. Harrison Welshimer

    Hi Markus,

    Great info! I’m just starting to pick up guitar after having played the sax for 17 years. My ear is my weakest link, so I’m addressing it with learning guitar and how to sing.

    But my real business is online marketing, which I pursue through my passion for music at MusicMunch. I review my favorite modern pop/indie rock here in addition to popular products.

    I’ll be stopping by more and more as I learn the “C Chord”! Thanks for the info,

    1. Markus Post author

      Hello Harrison,pleasure to hear from you. Your going to really enjoy playing the guitar and after playing the sax for so long you already know whats entailed in learning it.
      I’m glad you got something out of the post on the Chords in C Major Scale. I look forward to you stopping by again to say hey, until then keep in touch.

      Thanks 🙂


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