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I know that in the key of c major there are no sharps flats, but with the relative minor and its variations (melodic and harmonic), can I still play the chords built off of the notes (the sixth and 7th?). Will it sound good like the diatonic chords? I mapped out all of the triads, I haven't done the seventh chords yet.

Diatonic Chords within the Scale

Those are all of the diatonic chords for each of those scales. But since A minor is relative to C major, can I also play the diatonic chords of say A Melodic Minor even though some the accidentals in the triads do not exist in the C Major Key signature? I have the same question for the seventh chords. Sorry if I typed out the chords wrong, I'm not familiar with the correct notation. Thanks.

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I have thought about it for a bit, and it may be possible that the chords derived from the melodic/harmonic minor keys just happen to be secondary dominants. Eg. D+ is the dominant of the G+ chord, E+ to A-. I am not sure if secondary dominants can also be minor7/minor-major 7 with Bmin chord. Any thoughts on this would be great. Thanks. –  user2620463 Nov 22 '13 at 21:23
4  
The plus sign is not usual for major. Since the major is the 'datum point', you don't need a sign. In fact, + is often used to denote augmented.Minor is usually shown with a small 'm' as in Am. You seem to have mixed 'm' and '-'. Diminished is often 'o' and half diminished 'o' with a line through. My qwertyboard lacks this key...The major scale uses Dm, not Ddim.The nat. min. will have exactly the same chords as the rel. maj.There have been several questions directly related to yours. –  Tim Nov 23 '13 at 10:01

4 Answers 4

If you're looking for advice about what chords are allowed when composing, I personally use only one rule: If it sounds good, I use it! I routinely use chords that use notes outside of the scale, including changing between major and minor sounds liberally and using chords completely out of the scale.

For example, one particularly exotic chord progression that I often use is:

CMaj AbMaj BbMaj FMaj

It starts out in the key of C major, then uses an AbMaj and a BbMaj chord, which are completely out of the key but in C minor. Then it goes to an FMaj chord, which is in C major again.

So if you want to know if you can do the relatively conservative modulation from C major to one of the A minor scales that adds accidentals, I see no problem whatsoever.

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Of course, if you're looking for a music theory analysis, my answer isn't going to help you out much. =P –  Kevin Nov 23 '13 at 2:37
1  
M=Major? Major 7th? Minor? –  No'am Newman Nov 26 '13 at 13:59
    
Major. I'll edit my post soon to make that more clear. (I'm on a smartphone right now.) –  Kevin Nov 26 '13 at 17:30

There are seven basic triads based on the diatonic keys of any scale. I'll use C major as an example. Capital indicates major chord, lowercase minor.

I - tonic (C)
ii - sub-dominant (d)
iii - mediant (e)
IV - sub-dominant (F)
V - dominant (G)
vi - relative minor (a)
vii - dominant (b diminished)

In a minor scale, the roles will be different but the count will still be seven . By definition, a diatonic scale only has seven notes, so there will be seven triads. That's not including sevenths or inversions, of course.

That doesn't mean you can't play chords with accidentals, or that it won't "sound good." For example, in C major, D major is often used as a dominant of the dominant. So to answer your second question, sure, you can play chords that borrow accidentals from A melodic minor. It just won't technically be diatonic in terms of C major.

Edit: This link explains the seven diatonic triads, including the ones for minor.

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This isn't really answering the question, it feels like it should really be a comment on the original question instead –  Alexander Troup Nov 28 '13 at 12:59
    
@AlexanderTroup thank you, you have a good point. I edited my post to answer the question more directly. –  Agargara Nov 29 '13 at 0:54

just for the standard 7 note keys (not including the harmonic minor and all that), there are about 62 chords give or take...

example:

F# Major/D# minor


F#,G#,A#,B,C#,D#,F


  1. F# Major -------------- (F#,A#,C#) -------- I Major -------------- (1,5,8)
  2. F# sus2 -------------- (F#,G#,C#) -------- I sus2 -------------- (1,3,8)
  3. F# sus4 -------------- (F#,B,C#) -------- I sus4 -------------- (1,6,8)
  4. F# 6 (Gadd13) ----- (F#,A#,C#,D#) -------- I6 -------------- (1,5,8,10)
  5. F# Major7 -------------- (F#,A#,C#,F) ---- I Major 7 -------------- (1,5,8,12)
  6. F# add 9 -------------- (F#,A#,C#,G#) ----- I add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,15)
  7. F# add 11 -------------- (F#,A#,C#,B) ------ I add 11 -------------- (1,5,8,18)
  8. F# 6 add 9 -------------- (F#,A#,C#,D#,G#) -- I6 add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,10,15)
  9. F# Major 9 -------------- (F#,A#,C#,F,G#) --- I Major 9 -------------- (1,5,8,12,15)
  10. G# minor -------------- (G#,B,D#) ------------ II minor -------------- (1,4,8)
  11. G# sus2 -------------- (G#,A#,D#) -------------- II sus2 -------------- (1,3,8)
  12. G# sus4 -------------- (G#,C#,D#) ------------- II sus4 -------------- (1,6,8)
  13. G# minor 6 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F) --------- II minor 6 -------------- (1,4,8,10)
  14. G# minor 7 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#) ---------- II minor 7 -------------- (1,4,8,11)
  15. G# minor 9 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#,A#) ------ II minor 9 -------------- (1,4,8,11,15)
  16. G# minor 11 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#,A#,C#) -- II minor 11 -------------- (1,4.8.11,15,18)
  17. G# 7 sus4 -------------- (G#,C#,D#,F#) ------------ II7 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11)
  18. G# minor 13 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#,A#,C#,F) -- II minor 13 -------------- (1,4,8,11,15,18.22)
  19. G# minor7 add11 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#,C#) --- IIminor7 add11 -------------- (1,4,8,11,18)
  20. G# minor7 add13 -------------- (G#,B,D#,F#,F) --- IIminor7 add13 -------------- (1,4,8,11,22)
  21. A# minor -------------- (A#,C#,F) ---------------------- III minor -------------- (1,4,8)
  22. A# sus4 -------------- (A#,D#,F) ----------------------- III sus4 -------------- (1,6,8)
  23. A# minor 7 -------------- (A#,C#,F,G#) -------------- III minor7 -------------- (1,4,8,11)
  24. A# 7 sus 4 -------------- (A#,D#,F,G#) -------------- III7 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11)
  25. A# minor7 add11 -------------- (A#,C#,F,G#,D#) ----- IIIminor7 add11 -------------- (1,4,8,11,18)
  26. B Major -------------- (B,D#,F#) -------------- IV Major -------------- (1,5,8)
  27. B sus2 -------------- (B,C#,F#) -------------- IV sus2 -------------- (1,3,8)
  28. B 6 -------------- (B,D#,F#,G#) -------------- IV6 -------------- (1,5,8,10)
  29. B Major 7 -------------- (B,D#,F#,A#) -------------- IV Major 7 -------------- (1,5,8,12)
  30. B add 9 -------------- (B,D#,F#,C#) -------------- IV add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,15)
  31. B Major7 add13 -------------- (B,D#,F#,A#,G#) -------------- IVMajor7 add13 -------------- (1,5,8,12,22)
  32. B 6 add 9 -------------- (B,D#,F#,G#,C#) -------------- IV6 add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,10,15)
  33. B Major b5 -------------- (B,D#,F) -------------- IV Major b5 -------------- (1,5,7)
  34. B Major 9 -------------- (B,D#,F#,A#,C#) -------------- IV Major 9 -------------- (1,5,8,12,15)
  35. C# Major -------------- (C#,F,G#) -------------- V Major -------------- (1,5,8)
  36. C# sus2 -------------- (C#,D#,G#) -------------- V sus2 -------------- (1,3.8)
  37. C# sus4 -------------- (C#,F#,G#) -------------- V sus4 -------------- (1,6,8)
  38. C# 6 -------------- (C#,F,G#,A#) -------------- V6 -------------- (1,5,8,10)
  39. C# 7 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B) -------------- V7 -------------- (1,5,8,11)
  40. C# 9 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B,D#) -------------- V9 -------------- (1,5,8,11,15)
  41. C# add 9 -------------- (C#,F,G#,D#) -------------- V add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,15)
  42. C# 11 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B,D#,F#) -------------- V11 -------------- (1,5,8,11,15,18)
  43. C# 7 sus4 -------------- (C#,F#,G#,B) -------------- V7 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11)
  44. C# 13 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B,D#,F#,A#) -------------- V13 -------------- (1,5,8,11,15,18,22)
  45. C# 6 add 9 -------------- (C#,F,G#,A#,D#) -------------- V6 add 9 -------------- (1,5,8,10,15)
  46. C# 7 add 11 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B,F#) -------------- V7 add 11 -------------- (1,5,8,11,18)
  47. C# 7 add 13 -------------- (C#,F,G#,B,A#) -------------- V7 add 13 -------------- (1,5,8,11,22)
  48. C# 6 sus4 -------------- (C#,F#,G#,A#) -------------- V6 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,10)
  49. C# 9 sus4 -------------- (C#,F#,G#,B,D#) -------------- V9 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11,15)
  50. D# minor -------------- (D#,F#,A#) -------------- VI minor -------------- (1,4,8)
  51. D# sus2 -------------- (D#,F,A#) -------------- VI sus2 -------------- (1,3,8)
  52. D# sus4 -------------- (D#,G#,A#) -------------- VI sus4 -------------- (1,6,8)
  53. D# minor 7 -------------- (D#,F#,A#,C#) -------------- VI minor 7 -------------- (1,4,8,11)
  54. D# minor 9 -------------- (D#,F#,A#,C#,F) -------------- VI minor 9 -------------- (1,4,8,11,15)
  55. D# 7 sus4 -------------- (D#,G#,A#,C#) -------------- VI7 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11)
  56. D# minor 11 -------------- (D#,F#,A#,C#,F,G#) -------------- VI minor 11 -------------- (1,4.8.11,15,18)
  57. D# minor add9 -------------- (D#,F#,A#,F) -------------- VIminor add9 -------------- (1,4,8,15)
  58. D# minor7 add11 -------------- (D#,F#,A#,C#,G#) --- VIminor7 add11 -------------- (1,4,8,11,18)
  59. D# 7 sus4 -------------- (D#,G#,A#,C#) -------------- VI7 sus4 -------------- (1,6,8,11)
  60. D# 9 sus4 ------------ (D#,G#,A#,C#,F) --- VI9 sus4 ----- (1,6,8,11,15)

61, F° ---------------------- (F,G#,B) --------------- VII° ------------------- (1,4,7)

62, Fø -------------- (F,G#,B,D#) -------------- VIIø -------------- (1,4,7,11)

sorry it didn't post well. the margins weren't wide enough and I had to work it in.

This does not include inversions because there's no need to include them. inversions are simple. the notes are the same in an inverted chord.. just start from the 2nd note up in the chord for a 1st inversion, the 3nd note up for a 2nd inversion, etc ex: 1st inversion of C Major is E,G,C 2nd inversion of C Major is G,C,E

also the intervals I listed are not standard ones. Instead I listed them out of all 12 notes instead of out of the notes in the key so it's easier for new comers to figure out any key and so it shows the difference between majors and minors and all of that.

oh and relative minors are just the same chords as their relative majors but you just start from the 6th chord of a major to make it a minor ;)

I probably made a couple mistakes or missed a few because it's a big list to assemble so feel free to correct anything :)

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You got the right chords for C maj. In minor keys, the fith chord is made dominant to create a strong cadence. The raised 7th (3rd of the 5th) replaces the normal flat 7 when the V chord is played. This alteration does not mean that the chord based on raised 7 is part of the key. In fact it's a diminished chord that functions very similarly to the dominant because it's just the dominant V7 chord played without the root.

The 6th degree is raised (especially in ascending melodies) to reduce the gap between the 6th and the raised 7th (from a min third to a maj second). The chord built off of the raised 6 (diminshed chord) isn't considered part of the key. And most probably it would be perceived as an incomplete dominant chord missing the root. For example in A min, the F# dim can function as a Eb dom7, the secondary dominant of Ab.

In C maj, you can also borrow the E maj chord from A min to modulate to the relative minor key. This is not uncommon, but it doesnt make E maj a chord of C maj. The chords of a key are those built from the notes of that key. If the key is min, the fifth cord has a sharp third, but that's the only exception. The other chords are all built from the natural minor scale.

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