Harmonized major scale in tetrads part 4

Harmonized Major Scale - Guitar Lesson With Shapes and Charts

One of the fundamental theoretical elements to understand music is the harmonization of the major scale. Harmonizing scale is building chords with notes. This lesson explains how to create triads and seventh chords from each note of the major scale.

Major Scale Harmonized On Guitar | 3-Note Chords (shell voicings) & Inserted Lines #majorscaleguitar

Major Scale In Triads

In the first part of this lesson, we will build triad chords. Those chords are made of three notes stacked in thirds. Let's take the C major  as the first approach, it is the one that everyone knows and there are no # or b in it. 

We will create a first chord starting from the first note of the C major scale (C). We just need to stack the third of C (E) and the third of E (G) with the root note (C). Here is our first triad, the C major chord (C-E-G). 

This chord includes a major third interval (C-E) and a minor third interval (E-G). In other words, this chord is formed starting on C, jumping D and taking E, jumping F and taking G of the C major scale.

C major chord

C major chord

C major scale C D E F G A B
C major chord (triad) C X E X G X X


The second chord that we will build is a minor triad. It is made up by stacking thirds too. A minor third (F) and a major third (A) are stacked with the root note (D). As it starts from the note D, it is a D minor chord (D-F-A).

D minor chord

D minor chord

C major scale C D E F G A B
D minor chord (triad) X D X F X A X


If we do the same with the 5 other notes of the scale, we get 5 other chords. We obtain major and minor chords, with one exception: the degree VII stack 2 consecutive minor thirds, that gives a diminished triad.

Here are the seven chords obtained after the harmonization. There are 3 major chords (I-IV-V), three minor chords (II-III-VI) and one diminished (VII). Whatever the major scale used, the principle is the same. The first chord is major, the second is minor and on and on.

C major scale C D E F G A B
Triad chords C Dm Em F G Am Bdim


Harmonisation of the major scale in triads

Harmonisation of the major scale in triads 

Remember That

The triad chord built on the 1st degree of the major scale is MAJOR
The triad chord built on the 2nd degree of the major scale is MINOR
The triad chord built on the 3rd degree of the major scale is MINOR
The triad chord built on the 4th degree of the major scale is MAJOR
The triad chord built on the 5th degree of the major scale is MAJOR
The triad chord built on the 6th degree of the major scale is MINOR
The triad chord built on the 7th degree of the major scale is DIMINISHED

Major Scale in Seventh Chords

Now we can harmonize the C major scale but with an extra note for each chord. This way we will obtain four note chords known as seventh chords.

This is nothing but a triad with an extra note: the seventh. All these chords have a jazz sound, they are very used and so it is very important to understand and master them.

Triads Seventh Chords (Tetrads)
Root Root
Third  Third
Fifth  Fifth


C major scale C D E F G A B
Seventh Chords CMaj7 D-7 E-7 FMaj7 G7 A-7 B-7b5

Harmonisation of the major scale with four note chords (seventh chords)

Harmonisation of the major scale in four note chords

  • Cmaj7 is the I chord : C-E-G-B (1-3-5-7)
  • Dm7 is the ii chord : D-F-A-C (1-b3-5-b7)
  • Em7 the iii chord : E-G-B-D (1-b3-5-b7)
  • Fmaj7 the IV chord : F-A-C-E (1-3-5-7) 
  • G7 the V chord : G-B-D-F (1-3-5-b7)
  • Am7 the vi chord : A-C-E-G (1-b3-5-b7)
  • Bm7-5 the vii chord or the half diminished : B-D-F-A (1-b3-b5-b7)

We can of course, generalize this harmonization to any scale.

C major scale Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 Bm7b5
Db major Dbmaj7 Ebm7 Fm7 Gbmaj7 Ab7 Bbm7 Cm7b5
D major  Dmaj7 Em7 F#m7 Gmaj7 A7 Bm7 C#m7b5
Eb major Ebmaj7 Fm7 Gm7 Abmaj7 Bb7 Cm7 Dm7b5
E major Emaj7 F#m7 G#m7 Amaj7 B7 C#m7 D#m7b5
F major Fmaj7 Gm7 Am7 Bbmaj7 C7 Dm7 Em7b5
Gb major Gbmaj7 Abm7 Bbm7 Cbmaj7 Db7 Ebm7 Fm7b5
G major scale Gmaj7 Am7 Bm7 Cmaj7 D7 Em7 F#m7b5
Ab major scale Abmaj7 Bbm7 Cm7 Dbmaj7 Eb7 Fm7 Fm7b5
A major scale Amaj7 Bm7 C#m7 Dmaj7 E7 F#m7 G#m7b5
Bb major scale Bbmaj7 Cm7 Dm7 Ebmaj7 F7 Gm7 Am7b5
B major scale Bmaj7 C#m7 D#m7 Emaj7 F#7 G#m7 A#m7b5


Harmonizing The Major Scale  - Drop 2 Chords

The three neck diagrams show how to play the seven chords of the harmonized major scale on the guitar. The chord shapes used in these diagrams are drop 2 voicings, they are the most popular chords used in jazz music to comp, solo or build chord-melody arrangements.

The interval pattern used for these chords is R-5-7-3 for the two major 7 chords, R-5-b7-b3 for the three minor chords, R-5-7-b3 for the dominant chord and R-b5-b7-b3 for the half-diminished chord. 

For clarity, each chord is represented by a specific colour.

  1. Major 7 (red)
  2. minor 7 (green)
  3. minor 7 (blue)
  4. Major 7 (pink)
  5. Dominant 7 (brown)
  6. Minor 7 (orange)
  7. m7b5 (purple)
Harmonized major scale tetrads part 1
Harmonized major scale tetrads part 2
Harmonized major scale tetrads part 3

Keep in Mind 

The four note chord built on the 1st degree of the major scale is MAJOR 7th
The four note chord built on the 2nd degree of the major scale is MINOR 7th
The four note chord built on the 3rd degree of the major scale is MINOR 7th
The four note chord built on the 4th degree of the major scale is MAJOR 7th
The four note chord built on the 5th degree of the major scale is DOMINANT 7TH
The four note chord built on the 6th degree of the major scale is MINOR 7TH
The four note chord built on the 7th degree of the major scale is HALF DIMINISHED (m7b5)

Building Chord Progressions

Now that you know how to harmonize the major scale, you have to be able to build any chord progression from any major scale.

The most common is surely the II-V-I progression. It is simple, to build a II-V-I in the key of C just take the II (Dm7), the V (G7) and the I (Cmaj7) and you obtain Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7.

Lets built a II-V-I in the key of G. Chords will be Am7 (II), D7 (V) and Gmaj7 (I). You have to do this in the twelve keys. 

The last two examples are taken from the 50 II V I voicings PDF eBook

II V I guitar voicings
II V I voicing for guitar
Ii v i chord progression
  • 30 Groovy Jazz Guitar Licks

    This downloadable package contains a PDF WITH audio files giving access to 30 groovy guitar phrases mixing jazz, blues and funky licks for beginners.
  • Guitar Scale Dictionary

    This E-book is a printable PDF method including over 700 scale diagrams and formula charts for guitarists.
  • Guitar Chord Dictionary

    This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on the guitar neck.
  • 172 Arpeggio Shapes For Guitar

    This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
  • 126 Triad Chord Shapes

    This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
  • 30 Minor Arpeggio Licks

    This package includes a printable PDF method containing 30 exercises with tabs, staves and audio files for practicing minor arpeggios on guitar.
  • II V I Bundle - 170 Exercises

    This bundle contains 4 PDF methods for a total of 170 exercises with tabs, staves, analysis & audio files for practicing scales, arpeggios licks & chords over the 2-5-1 progression.
  • Diatonic Licks Bundle

    This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • 30 Smooth Jazz Guitar Licks

    In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files for practicing 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This printable PDF guitar method provides 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab and staves for learning major 2-5-1 chord voicings.
  • 40 Minor 2 5 1 Chord Voicings

    This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
  • 40 Minor II V I Licks

    This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick

    PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor Jazz Guitar Licks

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • Guitar Walking Bass Lines

    This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    11 jazz blues chord studies with tabs, standard notation, analysis, and audio recordings and PDF.
  • 10 Easy Fingerstyle Blues

    This PDF with Tabs and audio files provides 10 easy acoustic fingerstyle blues guitar studies for kids and beginners.
  • 25 Altered Jazz Guitar Lines

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant Patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
  • 10 Minor 7 Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF eBook offers 10 easy minor 7 arpeggio patterns with its related YouTube video for beginner guitarists.
  • 10 Easy Major 7 Arpeggio Licks

    This is a printable PDF for beginner jazz guitar players providing 10 easy licks to practice major 7 arpeggios.
  • 10 Chord Melody Lines

    Within this package, you'll discover a set of ten chord melody exercises for beginners. Printable PDFaudio files, a backing track, and a link to the associated YouTube video.
  • Guitar Arpeggios Poster

    This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams. Giant size 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm).
  • Guitar Scales Poster 24*36

    Guitar posters and wall art with eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
  • Jazz Guitar Chords Poster

    This printed color posters contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
  • Guitar Modes Poster

    Guitar reference posters and wall art about modes of the major scale for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
  • Melodic Minor Modes Poster

    Educative and decorative giant guitar poster with neck diagrams, interval names about the seven modes of the melodic minor scale.
  • Pentatonic Scale Guitar Poster

    This guitar reference poster shows the positions and intervals of the major pentatonic scale.
  • Guitar Notes Poster

    This is a giant poster showing the notes on the guitar fret board and their positions on a musical staff.
  • Triads Guitar Poster

    This reference poster show the positions and intervals of the main triads used on guitar. This is a useful tool for guitarists, teacher and students.
  • Four Archtop Guitars Poster

    This is a decorative poster with four archtop jazz guitars. Several size and colors in landscape format available on Teespring and redbubble.
  • Intervals On Guitar - Poster

    This giant poster for guitar provides neck diagrams with interval positions.

tetrads chords harmonisation triads voicings major scale 7th chords

Add a comment




Free pdf guitar