by bodom (Jul 05, 2007)


Key  Major   minor   minor   Major   Major   minor   minor b5
G G A B C D E F#
D D E F# G A B C#
A A B C# D E F# G#
E E F# G# A B C# D#
B B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# F# G# A# B C# D# E#
C# C# D# E# F# G# A# B#

F F G A Bb C D E
Bb Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Ab Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Gb Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
Cb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb
......Above are the 12 Keys and their common chords. At first glance it looks like there are 15 Keys... but... the Key of Gb has the same notes as F# so they are the same. Also... Key of Cb has the same notes as the Key of B so they are the same.... and Db is the same as C#. Therefore we have 12 Keys.

Now How to read this chart?
First pick a Key under the title Key. For example I will pick C. Ok now to find all the notes in this Key I just read left to right. So I now know the notes in the Key of C are C,D,E,F,G,A,B.
For the Key of Bb they are Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A. Easy right!

Now what is a Key?
Well basically it is a group of certain notes. Example If I wanted to play in the Key of Bb then I would play the notes Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A. If I played any other note than these seven I would be "stepping outside the key" or changing keys.

Ok so far we know the Keys and the notes involved in the Keys. So what about the chords? What chords are in what key? This chart makes that simple, for common chords.

First what is a chord?
A chord is just a group of notes played together. I will write a lesson on chords later. Yeah you guessed it this chart will help explain that as well.... but more on that later. Right now I will show you how to tell what chord is in what key, from this chart, I will go into deeper detail when I write the chord lesson. Ok so Im playing C major, F major and G major chords. What key am I in? Well look at the chart again. At the top you can see:
Major minor minor Major Major minor minorb5 (b stands for flat, # stands for sharp)
This tells you what chords are in that key.

Ok take the key of C. The first note in this key is C, If I look above that C there is a Major that is telling me that C Major is a chord in the key of C the next note is a D above that is a minor that is saying that D minor is a chord in the key of C
So I was playing C Major, F Major and G Major if I look at the chart I see that these three chords are in the key of C. There you go now you can find out what key the music is in by the chords played!
If I played the chords Bb Major, A minor and F Major what key am I in? Thats right the key of F.
What about F# Major, B Major and E# minor b5. Yep Key of F#

Well folks that is it in a nutshell if you have any questions or corrections let me know. I will work on more lessons later this week.