Music Guide #2 – The Key Of C Major

Chords In The Key Of C Major

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.

Here are the chords in C major. I shall list both the triads (three note chords) and four note extended chords (with sevenths). 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.

  • 1 – C major, C major seventh (Cmaj, Cmaj7)
  • 2 – D minor, D minor seventh (Dm, Dm7)
  • 3 – E minor, E minor seventh (Em, Em7)
  • 4 – F major, F major seventh (F, Fmaj 7)
  • 5 – G major, G dominant seventh (G, G7)
  • 6 – A minor, A minor seventh (Am, Am7)
  • 7 – 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 is the 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

C major

C major (or the key of C) is a major scale based on C, with the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. C major is one of the most common key signatures used in western music. Its key signature has no flats and no sharps. Its relative minor is A minor and its parallel minor is C minor.

Relative key: A minor

Parallel key: C minor

Dominant key: G major

Subdominant: F major

Component pitches

C, D, E, F, G, A, B

A minor

A minor is a minor scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has no flats and no sharps. Its relative major is C major and its parallel major is A major.

Relative key: C major

Parallel key: A major

Dominant key: E minor

Subdominant: D minor

Component pitches

A, B, C, D, E, F, G


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