Major Scale Diatonic Chords

Diatonic Chords

Every major scale has seven diatonic chords. Diatonic chords are musical chords formed from using the notes of that particular scale key. 

Diatonic Chords in Major and Minor

Major Diatonic Chords are formed from major scales, and minor diatonic chords are formed from minor scales.

The purpose of the diatonic chords is to create a harmonic sound for music in the same key. 

How to form major scale diatonic chords?

Example: C Major Diatonic Chords

C – D – E – F – G – A –  B – C are the notes of the C major scale.

c major scale

 

Diatonic chords are formed by stacking two generic third notes above each scale note.  The C major scale is now a harmonized C major scale.

a harmonized C major scale

 

C Major Diatonic Chords

These are the seven major scale diatonic chords that come from the C major scale. They are the chords that harmonize the C major scale. 

c major diatonic chords

 

Each diatonic chord is labelled with a roman numeral number:

I,  ii,  iii,  IV,  V,  vi,  viiº

c major diatonic chord names

I – The first chord: C E G (root, major third and perfect fifth) is a major chord (C major chord).

ii – The second chord: D F A (root, minor third, perfect fifth) is a minor chord (D minor chord).

iii – The third chord: E G B (root, minor third, perfect fifth) is a minor chord (E minor chord).

IV – The fourth chord: F A C (root, major third and perfect fifth) is a major chord (F major chord).

V – The fifth chord: G B D (root, major third and perfect fifth) is a major chord (G major chord).

vi – The sixth chord: A C E (root, minor third, perfect fifth) is a minor chord (A minor chord).

viiº– The seventh chord: B D F (root, minor third, diminished fifth) is a diminished chord (B diminished chord).

We use uppercase roman numeral numbers to represent major chords, lowercase to represent minor chords, uppercase with a small plus sign to represent augmented chords, and lowercase with a small circle to represent diminished chords.

First, fourth and fifth chords in major will always be major. Second, third and sixth chords in major will always be minor. Seventh chord in major scale will always be diminished.

This chord quality pattern applies to all major keys: I,  ii,  iii,  IV,  V,  vi,  viiº  

A different pattern applies to minor keys – see diatonic chords in minor.

The seven diatonic chords in the C major key are Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, and Bdim.

c major diatonic chord names

These are the harmonic chords that are diatonic to the C major scale

Major Scale Diatonic Chords in All 12 Major Keys

Diatonic Chords of C Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of C Sharp Major Scale / D Flat Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of D Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of E Flat Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of E Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of F Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of F Sharp Major Scale / G Flat Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of G Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of A Flat Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of A Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of B Flat Major Scale
Diatonic Chords of B Major Scale / C Flat Major Scale

Piano Chord Progression Poster

This piano chord progression poster from Amazon has all 24 major and minor chord sets — The Really Useful Piano Chord Progression Poster – A1 Size – Folded Version

(Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com.)