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Major Scale And Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords - Free PDF Transcription And Short Videos

This guitar lesson implies playing secondary dominant seventh chords of the harmonized major scale. Free PDF available on GUMROAD and four YouTube short videos at the bottom of this page.

How To Harmonize The Major Scale

Before tackling the four guitar exercises below, you need to know how to harmonize the major scale in seventh chords.

Harmonizing the major scale into seventh chords involves creating a chord for each degree of the scale using stacked thirds. In a major scale, you'll have seven different degrees, and you can build a seventh chord on top of each one.

The quality of the seventh chord (major, minor, dominant, etc.) will depend on the notes within each chord and their relationship to the root of the chord. Here's a breakdown of how to harmonize the major scale in seventh chords:

Build Seventh Chords:

Let's use the C major scale as an example: C D E F G A B C. On each degree of the scale, you'll build a seventh chord by stacking thirds on top of the root note.

   - Degree I: Cmaj7 (C E G B)
   - Degree II: Dm7 (D F A C)
   - Degree III: Em7 (E G B D)
   - Degree IV: Fmaj7 (F A C E)
   - Degree V: G7 (G B D F)
   - Degree VI: Am7 (A C E G)
   - Degree VII: Bm7b5 (B D F A)

Chord Qualities:

   - I (Cmaj7): Major 7th chord
   - II (Dm7): Minor 7th chord
   - III (Em7): Minor 7th chord
   - IV (Fmaj7): Major 7th chord
   - V (G7): Dominant 7th chord
   - VI (Am7): Minor 7th chord
   - VII (Bm7b5): Half-diminished (minor 7th flat five) chord

Roman Numeral Analysis:

You can also represent the harmonized chords using Roman numerals, where uppercase represents major and lowercase represents minor chords.

   - I: Cmaj7
   - ii: Dm7
   - iii: Em7
   - iv: Fmaj7
   - V: G7
   - vi: Am7
   - vii: Bm7b5


Understanding the harmonization of the major scale into seventh chords is essential for chord progressions, songwriting, and improvisation. You can use these chords to create interesting chord progressions, modulations, and more.

Remember that the harmonization above follows the diatonic chords of the major scale. Depending on the style of music you're working with, you might encounter variations or extended chords, but this basic harmonization is a solid starting point.

Basic Chord Voicings

Here are some basic chords showing how to harmonize the major scale on guitar.

Chords of the major scale for guitar

Secondary Dominant Chords

Secondary dominant chords, also known as "V of V" chords, are chords that function as temporary dominants to a non-tonic chord within a key. They are used to create a sense of tension and anticipation, leading to a chord that is not the tonic (I) chord. Secondary dominants are a common technique in harmony and can add complexity and interest to chord progressions.

The concept of a secondary dominant is based on the fact that the dominant (V) chord has a strong tendency to resolve to the tonic (I) chord. By temporarily introducing a dominant chord before a chord other than the tonic, you create a stronger pull toward that non-tonic chord.

Here's how secondary dominant chords work:

Basic Idea:

A secondary dominant is a dominant chord (V) that is borrowed from another key and used to lead to a chord other than the tonic (I) chord in the current key.


A secondary dominant is usually notated as V/X, where X represents the chord that the secondary dominant is leading to.

Example in C Major:

   - In the key of C major, the V chord is G7 (G B D F).
   - To create a secondary dominant leading to the IV chord (F), you would use the V of IV, which is C7 (C E G Bb).
   - The C7 chord has a strong pull to the F chord (IV), creating tension and resolution.

Common Secondary Dominants:

   - V/V (the secondary dominant of the dominant) is a very common secondary dominant.
   - V/ii (the secondary dominant of the supertonic) is another frequently used example.
   - Other secondary dominants can be created for any diatonic chord by using the V chord of that chord's root.


Secondary dominants are often used to add harmonic interest and movement to chord progressions. They can be found in various styles of music, including classical, jazz, and popular music. Using secondary dominant chords can give your chord progressions a more colorful and dynamic sound by introducing unexpected harmonic shifts and resolutions.

Major Scale Harmonized With Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords

Here are four exercises implying the secondary dominant sevenths of each chord of the descending C major scale. Notice that the vii chord (Bm7b5) has been voluntarily excluded, giving the following chord progression for the four exercices :

Cmaj7 | E7 | Am7 | D7 | G7 | C7 | Fmaj7 | B7 | Em7 | A7 | Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7

Several chord voicings are used :

  • Exercise 1 : Secondary dominant seventh chords with the root in the bass.
  • Exercise 2 : Secondary dominant seventh chords with the 3rd in the bass.
  • Exercise 3 : Secondary dominant seventh chords with the 5th in the bass.
  • Exercise 4 : Secondary dominant seventh chords with the 7th in the bass.


Major Scale And Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords (1 of 4) - FREE PDF #guitarchords #guitarlesson

Major Scale And Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords (2 of 4) - FREE PDF #guitarlesson #guitarchords

Major Scale And Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords (3 of 4) - FREE PDF #guitarlesson #jazzguitar

Major Scale And Secondary Dominant Seventh Chords (4 of 4) - FREE PDF

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