Part 3 in my Guitar Keys series (see part 1 here and part 2 here)
This blog is going to cover the basics of major keys - what is commonly referred to as the "diatonic" major key. ("diatonic" means consistent with the scale the key is based on) In other words, in a diatonic major key, every note of every chord will conform to the notes of the major scale of the same root. For example, the C major scale is the only major scale with no sharps or flats (accidentals) and consequently, all seven diatonic chords in the key of C major consist of only natural notes.
Some examples of famous songs in major keys are: "Hey Jude", "Sweet Home Alabama", "Beast of Burden" and "Brown Eyed Girl".
Here's a simple process you can use to calculate the seven diatonic chords in all twelve major keys:
1. Pick the key you want to play in.
2. write out the major scale of that key.
3. plug in the following chord quality formula: ("quality" means the suffix of a chord: major, minor, diminished, augmented etc.)
major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished
Example: C major scale= C - D - E - F - G - A - B
diatonic chords in the key of C= C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminished.