Lesson 7

Diatonic Chords
Chords that fit in a particular Key.

So far we've learned that:

  • a Key is a collection of notes used in a song
  • a Chord is a set of notes, played together, that sound good
  • and we've learned about Major, Minor, and Diminished chords.

Now, since a Key is a limited set of notes used in a song, not all chords fit in a given Key. Some will be Major, some will be Minor, and some will be Diminished.

The chords that fit in a particular Key are called Diatonic Chords.

Which chords fit into the Key of C Major?

To do this, make sure that all the notes in the chord are also in the Key. Hover over each choice to see the included notes.

C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1.
C Major Chord
C Minor Chord
C Diminished Chord
2.
D Major Chord
D Minor Chord
D Diminished Chord
3.
E Major Chord
E Minor Chord
E Diminished Chord
4.
F Major Chord
F Minor Chord
F Diminished Chord
5.
G Major Chord
G Minor Chord
G Diminished Chord
6.
A Major Chord
A Minor Chord
A Diminished Chord
7.
B Major Chord
B Minor Chord
B Diminished Chord

How about E Major?

Again select the chords where all of its notes are in the Key. Hover over each choice to see the included notes.

C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
C#
D♭
D
D#
E♭
E
F
F#
G♭
G
G#
A♭
A
A#
B♭
B
C
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1.
E Major Chord
E Minor Chord
E Diminished Chord
2.
F# Major Chord
F# Minor Chord
F# Diminished Chord
3.
G# Major Chord
G# Minor Chord
G# Diminished Chord
4.
A Major Chord
A Minor Chord
A Diminished Chord
5.
B Major Chord
B Minor Chord
B Diminished Chord
6.
C# Major Chord
C# Minor Chord
C# Diminished Chord
7.
D# Major Chord
D# Minor Chord
D# Diminished Chord

Seven Triads in Any Key

Look at the pattern of chords above. Notice how they are identical?

Well, it turns out that every Major Key has 7 triads that follow the same pattern: Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, Diminished.

This is very handy when switching a song from one Key to another.

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