Harmonize a Major Scale and Take Your Guitar Skills to the Next Level

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Learning to harmonize a major scale will help you a great deal in knowing the right chords to play while you are doing an accompaniment for a song on a particular key – with your band while jamming or on stage or if you are trying to learn a song off the record. Harmonization is the process of creating a chord (or harmony) from each note on a scale.

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Harmonize a Major Scale and Take Your Guitar Skills to the Next Level

  1. 1. Learn to Harmonize a Major Scale &Take Your Guitar Skills to the Next Level Image Courtesy: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
  2. 2. L earning to harmonize a major scale will help you a great deal in knowing the right chords toplay while you are doing an accompaniment for a song on a particular key – with your bandwhile jamming or on stage or if you are trying to learn a song off the record. Harmonization isthe process of creating a chord (or harmony) from each note on a scale.What is Harmonization?Harmonization is done by taking each note on the scale and counting the 3rd and 5th note fromthat root to build the triads or chords, by comparing it to its major scale of origin and adjustingthe corresponding notes to the notes of the scale being harmonized. Confused? Don’t worry!You will have a clearer picture of what I am talking about if you read through, so read on!Believe me it’s pretty interesting and easy to follow!Here you will learn how to harmonize a Major Scale using the C Major Scale.By applying the Major Scale formula W W H W W W H we can easily build a C Major Scale asC–D–E–F-G –A–B–CAfter harmonizing this scale we would have 7 chords from each note on the scale, starting withC and ending with B.Pre-requisitesBefore you can fully understand the process of harmonizing, I would urge you to check outthese 3 lessons on building Major Chords, Minor Chords and Diminished Chords from my blog -as harmonizing a major scale is all about building these chords or Triads.Deriving the 1st ChordLet’s build the 1st chord by picking the first note “C”, and then picking the 3rd and 5th notes of thescale counting from the root i.e. C.And those notes are C – E – GNow we must compare these notes with its major scale of origin, which in this case is C Major,so there is no need of any interval adjustments.So we could easily build the first chord of a harmonized C Major Scale as C Major Chord (alsodenoted as C) or a C Major Triad. The notes of the chord are C-E-G.Deriving the 2nd ChordNow pick the 2nd note of the scale, which is D, and pick the 3rd and 5th notes from the root (nowthe root is D). The 3rd and 5th counted from D are F and A.So we got the notes for the second chord as D-F-ANow we need to compare this Triad with the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes its original scale, which is DMajor.
  3. 3. D Major Scale notes are D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D, and its 1st, 3rd and 5th are D-F#-ANow when you compare the notes picked up from the C Major Scale (D-F-A) to the notes fromit’s scale of origin (D-F#-A) you can see that the C Major Scale has a natural F, whereas it’soriginal scale, i.e. D Major Scale has a raised or sharpened F or F#. So in order to bring the F#to a natural F, we need to lower it a half step.This ultimately gives us a Minor Chord formula, 1-b3-5. Now, apply this formula to the notes (D-F-A) of the C Major, and we get the 2nd chord of the harmonized C Major Scale as D Minor orDm (D-Fb-A).Deriving the 3rd ChordNow take the 3rd note (E is the root now) and count along the scale to pick up the 3rd and 5thnotes, G and B, from that root.So the notes for the 3rd chord from C Major Scale are E-G-BNow pick the corresponding 1-3-5 notes from its original scale, which is an E Major Scale.The E Major Scale is E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E whose 1-3-5 notes are E-G#-BNow compare them. We can see that the G note from the G Major Scale needs to be flattenedto make it a G Natural note, which again gives us a Minor chord formula which is 1-b3-5.Appling this formula to the notes that we picked from C Major Scale gives us an E Minor Chordor Em – E-Gb-B as the 3rd chord of the harmonized C Major Scale.Deriving the 4th ChordThe 1-3-5 notes from the 4th note of C Major Scale are F-A-CScale of origin for the root note F is an F Major Scale – F G A Bb C D E FThe 1-3-5 notes from F Major Scale are also F-A-C. So both the sets have equal intervals; so there is no need to adjust any notes from the F Major Scale, which gives us a Major chord formula 1-3-5. Applying this, gives us the 4th chord of the harmonized C Major Scale, as a F Major Chord(also denoted as F), F-A-C.Deriving the 5th ChordFor ease of counting the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes from the 5th note G of C Major Scale, it’s torearrange the notes of the C Major scale starting from G in this format G – A – B – C – D – E – F– G since you need to count the 5th note by starting all the way from the beginning of the scale.Now it’s easy to pick the 1st 3rd and 5th notes starting from G which are G-B-D, whose scale oforigin is G Major - G A B C D E F# G
  4. 4. The 1-3-5 notes from G Major Scale are also G-B-D. So once again, both the sets have equalintervals; so there is no need to adjust any notes from the G Major Scale, which retains theMajor chord interval. This ultimately gives us the 5th chord of the harmonized C Major Scale, asa G Major Chord (also denoted as G), G-B-D.Deriving the 6th ChordJust like the previous chord, for ease of counting the 1-3-5 notes from the 6th note A of C MajorScale, it’s good to rearrange the notes of the C Major scale starting from A in this format A – B –C – D – E – F – G - A as you may find it confusing to count the 5th note all the way from thebeginning of the scale.Now it’s easy to pick the 1st 3rd and 5th notes from A which are A-C-E whose correspondingoriginal scale is A Major - A B C# D E F# G# A and it’s 1-3-5 notes are A-C#-E.Now you need to flatten or lower the C# by a semi-tone to make it a natural C note as the CMajor scale, which gives us a Minor Chord formula 1-b3-5.Apply this formula to the 1-3-5 notes (A-C-E) of C Major Scale giving us an A Minor Chord or Am(A-Cb-E) as the 6th chord of the harmonized C Major Scale.Deriving the 7th ChordFollowing the same rule from the previous step, let’s rearrange the notes from the 7th note B ofC Major Scale in this manner B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B making it easier to pick the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes– starting from B.The 1-3-5 notes from B are B-D-F, and it scale of origin is B Major Scale B C# D# E F# G# A# BThe 1-3-5 notes of B Major Scale are B-D#-F#But here we need to flatten or lower both the 3rd and 5th notes of the B Major Scale by asemitone each, which ultimately gives us a Diminished Chord formula – 1 b3 b5.Now apply this formula to the 1-3-5 notes of C Major Scale (starting from B) which are B-D-Fgiving us a B Diminished Chord as B-Db-Fb.So the 7th and final chord of a harmonized C Major Scale is B Diminished or B dim.SummaryA fully harmonized C Major Scale will look like this,C – C Major ChordD – D Minor ChordE – E Minor ChordF – F Major ChordG – G Major ChordA – A Minor ChordB – B Diminished Chord
  5. 5. I hope this lesson was able to teach you how to harmonize a major scale in easy to understandlanguage. Now you can easily harmonize other major scales by using this lesson as a guide.Please do leave your feedback as comment. I will be eager to know how you found this lesson.And Thank You very much for stopping by!Please visit my guitar blog for more interestingguitar lessons and tips.

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