View Full Version : How to remember the three cords of all keys.

11-15-2016, 08:59 PM
If we remember the three cords of all keys, transpose is more easy. Analyzing songs is more easy. I use this method even when jam session on stage.

We use a ukulele fret board. We use only C and G strings. There are twelve notes on there from G to Gb. G to B are on G string (green on the figure below), and C to Gb are on C string (red).

https://s14.postimg.org/ugub5e19t/fretboard02.png (https://postimg.org/image/7fdpzn1m5/)windows 7 screenshot (https://postimage.org/app.php)

We just need to remember two shapes (red and green) below. They show the three cords. 1 is tonic, 4 is sub-dominant and 5 is dominant.
https://s17.postimg.org/ozqvlf30f/fretboard_after.png (https://postimg.org/image/xurpvxrsr/)image hosting over 5mb (https://postimage.org/)

Just compare these two figures above. If the key (tonic) is on 3rd line (C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb), we use red shape. If the key is on 4th line (G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B), we use the green shape. Let's check the red 1. Red 1 is D. When key is D, tonic is D, sub-dominant is G and dominant is A. Can you check key of C? Do you see C, F and G are on the shape? Let's check the green 1. Green 1 is B. Tonic is B, sub-dominant is E and dominant is F#/Gb. Can you check key of G by yourself? Do you see G, C and D are on the shape? I know that we need a bit of practice for this method. I think it is not too difficult. This works with minor keys too.

11-16-2016, 03:43 AM
Very nice, thank you!

11-17-2016, 04:33 AM
Very helpful, thanks for taking the time to explain this!

11-17-2016, 07:12 AM
Yes very interesting , thank you for sharing this.

11-20-2016, 12:04 AM
Hi, thank you for the replies, Domiuke,Axemaniac88 and Zagabog!

C and Am are relative keys. F and Dm, G and Em are relative keys too. They share same notes on their scales and they share same key signatures ( See left figure below). There are 12 pairs of the relative keys on circle of fifth (See right figure below).

https://s15.postimg.org/7newle6ej/combine_images.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/ket2rwg6f/)gif image hosting (https://postimage.org/)

We can see the relative keys on these shapes too. I've added red and green 6 on the figure (See the figure below), 6 is two degree above 5. Red 1 is D and red 6 is Bm, Green 1 is B and green 6 is G#m. 1 shows major key and 6 shows minor key.

https://s11.postimg.org/d0x3rp8wj/fretboard_after2.png (https://postimg.org/image/586fzq2xb/)windows screen capture (https://postimage.org/app.php)

Circle of fifth is important and we need to remember. This thread and How to Remember Key Signatures with ukulele (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124092-How-to-Remember-Key-Signatures-with-ukulele) thread help to remember circle of fifth. Enjoy!

Al Davison
11-20-2016, 09:30 AM
Thank you so much for this! I try to study this stuff but I can't seem to internalize it - yet.

11-20-2016, 10:09 PM
Hi Al, thank you for your reply! Music is invisible, hence it is very hard to understand by books or the internet. If I explain it in person, I think I can explain it more easily. In this thread, I talked about chords without melody.

A melody is written with the tones on a certain scale. A chord is made by the tones on a certain scale. Hence the chords, which are made by same scale as the melody, work good with the melody.

We add third and fifth notes on a root note in order to make a chord on a scale. The bottom figures show the C major scale and its diatonic chords.

https://s18.postimg.org/ysd49wsuh/combine_images.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/8k1zkj8qt/)free jpeg images (https://postimage.org/)

There are three important chords in the diatonic chords. C, F and G are the three important chords, they make a framework of its harmony. Why? We have discussed it in another thread (See What is three chord (C, F and G7)? (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?123512-What-is-three-chord-(C-F-and-G7))).
1 is C, 4 is F and G is 5 (Dm is 2 and Em is 3). This relationship is seen on the shapes on the fretboard (red and green shapes on the figures above). And Am (6) is relative key of C. It also appears on the shapes.