Key Diatonic

guitar help?

how do u play in the key of A

A favored method of songwriting by musicians like Stevie Wonder, the concept of writing around a chord progression involves initially creating an interesting series of chords, and then basing the melody on that chord structure.

To begin writing songs based on chord progressions, we first need to understand that each key has a series of chords that "belong" to it (referred to as a key's "diatonic chords"). What follows is an explanation of how to find out which chords belong to which key.

DIATONIC CHORDS IN A MAJOR KEY
(Don't know how to play diminished chords? Here are some common diminished chord shapes.)

The above is an example of the chords in the key of C major. We arrived at these chords by beginning with a C major scale, and using the notes from that scale to create a series of chords that belong in the key of C major. If this flies way over your head, don't get stressed. It is NOT neccessary to fully understand the above in order to write a great song.

Here is what you should try to bring away from the above:
• in every major key, there are seven different chords. The order of these chords are: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, and diminished. The order is the same for whichever major key you are in.
• the space between each of these chords is as follows: between chords 1&2: tone, 2&3: tone, 3&4: semitone, 4&5: tone, 5&6: tone, 6&7: tone, 7&1: semitone (now we're back to where we started).

So, you'll need to memorize this: tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone, and major minor minor major major minor diminished.

Using this knowledge, let's figure out the diatonic chords in the key of G major. To get the notes, start with the note G, then follow the tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone rule. If this is tricky for you, start by finding the note G on your sixth string. Count up two frets for a tone, and one fret for a semitone. Hopefully, you come up with the notes G A B C D E F# G. Now, just tack the chord types from our other memorized list above (major minor minor major major minor diminished) onto these note names, in order, and we come up with the chords in the key of G major. They are: Gmajor, Aminor, Bminor, Cmajor, Dmajor, Eminor and F#diminished. Try using these rules to figure out the diatonic chords in a bunch of different keys.

With this knowledge, you as a songwriter now have armed yourself with a powerful tool; a means of analyzing other people's songs, in order to dissect them, and use some of their techniques in your own songwriting.

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