Harmonizing Major scales into chords

Every scale has matching chords. In improvisation, scales are played “over” chords. In this context, chords are the harmony while scales can be the melody, a solo, a phrase or a lick.

Here, we take a look upon which triads, four-note and five-note chords the Major Scale can be harmonized into. In other words, which chords that can be built from the scale. Chords related to a scale in this manner are called diatonic chords.

Triads

C Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes C D E F G A B
Chords C Dm Em F G Am Bdim
Notes in chord C-E-G D-F-A E-G-B F-A-C G-B-D A-C-E B-D-F
C# / Db Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes C# D# E# F# G# A# B#
Chords C# D#m E#m F# G# A#m B#dim
Notes in chord C#-E#-G# D#-F#-A# E#-G#-B# F#-A#-C# G#-B#-D# A#-C#-E# B#-D#-F#
D Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes D E F# G A B C#
Chords D Em F#m G A Bm C#dim
Notes in chord D-F#-A E-G-B F#-A-C# G-B-D A-C#-E B-D-F# C#-E-G
D# / Eb Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes D# F G G# A# C D
Chords D# Fm Gm G# A# Cm Ddim
Notes in chord D#-G-A# F-G#-C G-A#-D G#-C-D# A#-D-F C-D#-G D-F-G#
E Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes E F# G# A B C# D#
Chords E F#m G#m A B C#m D#dim
Notes in chord E-G#-B F#-A-C# G#-B-D# A-C#-E B-D#-F# C#-E-G# D#-F#-A
F Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes F G A Bb C D E
Chords F Gm Am Bb C Dm Edim
Notes in chord F-A-C G-Bb-D A-C-E Bb-D-F C-E-G D-F-A E-G-Bb
F# / Gb Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes F# G# A# B C# D# E#
Chords F# G#m A#m B C# D#m E#dim
Notes in chord F#-A#-C# G#-B-D# A#-C#-E# B-D#-F# C#-E#-G# D#-F#-A# E#-G#-B
G Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes G A B C D E F
Chords G Am Bm C D Em Fdim
Notes in chord G-B-D A-C-E B-D-F# C-E-G D-F#-A E-G-B F-A-C
G# / Ab Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes G# A# B# C# D# E# F#
Chords G# A#m B#m C# D# E#m F#dim
Notes in chord G#-B#-D# A#-C#-E# B#-D#-G C#-E#-G# D#-G-A# E#-G#-B# F#-A#-C#
A Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes A B C# D E F# G#
Chords A Bm C#m D E F#m G#dim
Notes in chord A-C#-E B-D-F# C#-E-G# D-F#-A E-G#-B F#-A-C# G#-B-D
A# / Bb Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes A# C D D# F G A
Chords A# Cm Dm D# F Gm Adim
Notes in chord A#-D-F C-D#-G D-F-A D#-G-A# F-A-C G-A#-D A-C-D#
B Major Scale Triads
Degrees I ii iii IV V vi vii°
Notes B C# D# E F# G# A#
Chords B C#m D#m E F# G#m A#dim
Notes in chord B-D#-F# C#-E-G# D-F#-A# E-G#-B F#-A#-C# G#-B-D# A#-C#-E

Four-note chords

C Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes C D E F G A B
Chords Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7
Notes in chord C-E-G-B D-F-A-C E-G-B-D F-A-C-E G-B-D-F A-C-E-G B-D-F-A
C# / Db Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes C# D# E# F# G# A# B#
Chords C#maj7 D#m7 E#m7 F#maj7 G#7 A#m7 B#ø
Notes in chord C#-E#-G#-B# D#-F#-A#-C# E#-G#-B#-D# F#-A#-C#-E# G#-B#-D#-F# A#-C#-E#-G# B#-D#-F#-A#
D Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes D E F# G A B C#
Chords Dmaj7 Em7 F#m7 Gmaj7 A7 Bm7 C#ø
Notes in chord D-F#-A-C# E-G-B-D F#-A-C#-E G-B-D-F# A-C#-E-G B-D-F#-A C#-E-G-B
D# / Eb Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes D# F G G# A# C D
Chords D#maj7 Fm7 Gm7 G#maj7 A#7 Cm7
Notes in chord D#-G-A#-D F-G#-C-D# G-A#-D-F G#-C-D#-G A#-D-F-G# C-D#-G-A# D-F-G#-C
E Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes E F# G# A B C# D#
Chords Emaj7 F#m7 G#m7 Amaj7 B7 C#m7 D#ø
Notes in chord E-G#-B-D# F#-A-C#-E G#-B-D#-F# A-C#-E-G# B-D#-F#-A C#-E-G#-B D#-F#-A-C#
F Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes F G A Bb C D E
Chords Fmaj7 Gm7 Am7 Bbmaj7 C7 Dm7
Notes in chord F-A-C-E G-Bb-D-F A-C-E-G Bb-D-F-A C-E-G-Bb D-F-A-C E-G-Bb-D
F# / Gb Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes F# G# A# B C# D# F
Chords F#maj7 G#m7 A#m7 Bmaj7 C#7 D#m7
Notes in chord F#-A#-C#-F G#-B-D#-F# A#-C#-F-G# B-D#-F#-A# C#-F-G#-B D#-F#-A#-C# F-G#-B-D#
G Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes G A B C D E F#
Chords Gmaj7 Am7 Bm7 Cmaj7 D7 Em7 F#ø
Notes in chord G-B-D-E A-C-E-G B-D-F#-A C-E-G-B D-F#-A-C E-G-B-D F#-A-C-E
G# / Ab Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes G# A# B# C# D# F G
Chords G#maj7 A#m7 B#m7 C#maj7 D#7 Fm7
Notes in chord G#-B#-D#-F A#-C#-F-G# B#-D#-G-A# C#-F-G#-B# D#-G-A#-C# F-G#-B#-D# G-A#-C#-F
A Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes A B C# D E F# G#
Chords Amaj7 Bm7 C#m7 Dmaj7 E7 F#m7 G#ø
Notes in chord A-C#-E-F# B-D-F#-A C#-E-G#-B D-F#-A-C# E-G#-B-D F#-A-C#-E G#-B-D-F#
A# / Bb Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes A# C D D# F G A
Chords A#maj7 Cm7 Dm7 D#maj7 F7 Gm7
Notes in chord A#-D-F-G C-D#-G-A# D-F-A-C D#-G-A#-D F-A-C-D# G-A#-D-F A-C-D#-G
B Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes B C# D# E F# G# A#
Chords Bmaj7 C#m7 D#m7 Emaj7 F#7 G#m7 A#ø
Notes in chord B-D#-F#-G# C#-E-G#-B D-F#-A#-C# E-G#-B-D# F#-A#-C#-E G#-B-D#-F# A#-C#-E-G#
A# / Bb Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes A# C D D# F G A
Chords A#maj7 Cm7 Dm7 D#maj7 F7 Gm7
Notes in chord A#-D-F-G C-D#-G-A# D-F-A-C D#-G-A#-D F-A-C-D# G-A#-D-F A-C-D#-G
B Major Scale Four-note chords
Degrees Imaj7 iim7 iiim7 IVmaj7 V7 vim7 viiø
Notes B C# D# E F# G# A#
Chords Bmaj7 C#m7 D#m7 Emaj7 F#7 G#m7 A#ø
Notes in chord B-D#-F#-G# C#-E-G#-B D-F#-A#-C# E-G#-B-D# F#-A#-C#-E G#-B-D#-F# A#-C#-E-G#

Five-note chords

C Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes C D E F G A
Chords Cmaj9 Dm9 Em7(b9) Fmaj9 G9 Am9
Notes in chord C-E-G-B-D D-F-A-C-E E-G-B-D-F F-A-C-E-G G-B-D-F-A A-C-E-G-B
C# / Db Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes C# D# E# F# G# A#
Chords C#maj9 D#m9 E#m7(b9) F#maj9 G#9 A#m9
Notes in chord C#-E#-G#-B#-D# D#-F#-A#-C#-F E#-G#-B#-D#-F# F#-A#-C#-E#-G# G#-B#-D#-F#-A# A#-C#-E#-G#-C
D Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes D E F# G A B
Chords Dmaj9 Em9 F#m7(b9) Gmaj9 A9 Bm9
Notes in chord D-F#-A-C#-E E-G-B-D-F# F#-A-C#-E-G G-B-D-F#-A A-C#-E-G-B B-D-F#-A-C#
D# / Eb Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes D# F G G# A# C
Chords D#maj9 Fm9 Gm7(b9) G#maj9 A#9 Cm9
Notes in chord D#-G-A#-D-F F-G#-C-D#-G G-A#-D-F-G# G#-C-D#-G-A# A#-D-F-G#-C C-D#-G-A#-D
E Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes E F# G# A B C#
Chords Emaj9 F#m9 G#m7(b9) Amaj9 B9 C#m9
Notes in chord E-G#-B-D#F# F#-A-C#-E-G# G#-B-D#-F#-A A-C#-E-G#-B B-D#-F#-A-C# C#-E-G#-B-D#
F Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes F G A Bb C D
Chords Fmaj9 Gm9 Am7(b9) Bbmaj9 C9 Dm9
Notes in chord F-A-C-E-G G-Bb-D-F-A A-C-E-G-A# Bb-D-F-A-C C-E-G-Bb-D D-F-A-C-E
F# / Gb Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes F# G# A# B C# D#
Chords F#maj9 G#m9 A#m7(b9) Bmaj9 C#9 D#m9
Notes in chord F#-A#-C#-G# G#-B-D#-F#-A# A#-C#-F-G#-B B-D#-F#-A#-C# C#-F-G#-B-D# D#-F#-A#-C#-F
G Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes G A B C D E
Chords Gmaj9 Am9 Bm7(b9) Cmaj9 D9 Em9
Notes in chord G-B-D-E-A A-C-E-G-B B-D-F#-A-C C-E-G-B-D D-F#-A-C-E E-G-B-D-F#
G# / Ab Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes G# A# B# C# D# F
Chords G#maj9 A#m9 B#m7(b9) C#maj9 D#9 Fm9
Notes in chord G#-B#-D#-F-A# A#-C#-F-G#-C B#-D#-G-A#-C# C#-F-G#-B#-D# D#-G-A#-C#-F F-G#-B#-D#-G
A Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes A B C# D E F#
Chords Amaj9 Bm9 C#m7(b9) Dmaj9 E9 F#m9
Notes in chord A-C#-E-F#-B B-D-F#-A-C# C#-E-G#-B-D D-F#-A-C#-E E-G#-B-D-F# F#-A-C#-E-G#
A# / Bb Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes A# C D D# F G
Chords A#maj9 Cm9 Dm7(b9) D#maj9 F9 Gm9
Notes in chord A#-D-F-G-C C-D#-G-A#-D D-F-A-C-D# D#-G-A#-D-F F-A-C-D#-G G-A#-D-F-A
B Major Scale Five-note chords
Degrees Imaj9 iim9 iiim7(b9) IVmaj9 V9 vim9
Notes B C# D# E F# G#
Chords Bmaj9 C#m9 D#m7(b9) Emaj9 F#9 G#m9
Notes in chord B-D#-F#-G#-# C#-E-G#-B-D# D-F#-A#-C#-E E-G#-B-D#-F# F#-A#-C#-E-G# G#-B-D#-F#-A#

Six- and seven-note chords

If including up to seven notes, some of the possible chords are Imaj13, iim13, iiim11 add(m2), IV6/9, V11, vi11.
Using C Major Scale as an example, these would result in: Cmaj13, Dm13, Em11 add(m2), F6/9, G11, Am11.

Understanding the tables

The tables give plenty of information and if you didn't grasp it all please read on.

Degrees: Referring to the relations of the notes in the scale on a general basis. These have Roman numerals, why is explained below.
Notes: Simply referring to the notes in the particular scale.
Chords: Referring to the chord with the same tonic as the note.
Notes in chord: Simply referring to the notes belonging to the chord.
Roman numerals: Roman numerals indicate chord categories. Uppercase Roman numerals represent major chords while lowercase Roman numerals represent minor chords.
°: The degree symbol represents diminished (dim).
Ø: This symbol represents a half-diminished chord.

Notes

You may notice that B# and E# are used in chord names. The reason for this it to avoid mentioning the same letter twice. Thus, B# and E# should be treated like C and F.

Finally, the presented chord categories don't not include all chords that can be constructed with three, four and five notes from the Major Scale. Suspended and added chords, are two among several more categories that have been left out.

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