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Nashville’s Number System and Music Theory

Will Griffin

Scales and Chords
Part 2 - Key of G

Purpose:    To give the student a firm understanding of the diatonic scales and chords in the Key of G.
Objectives:  Upon completion of this lesson, the student will:
    A:    Know that in the Key of G there is one # (F#) and why this is so.
    B:    Know that in the Key of G that the I-IV-V chords (G-C-D) are Major chords and why these naturally form major chords and scales.
    C:     Know that in the Key of G that the ii-iii-vi chords (A-B-E) are minor chords and why these naturally form minor chords and scales
    D:    Know how to form the G, C, & D chords using 1-3-5 notes;.
    E:    Know how to form the A, B, & E minor chords using 1-b3-5 notes
    F:    Know how to form the I7 (G7) chord and the notes which are in it.
    G:    Know how to form the V7 (D7) chord and the notes which are in it.
    H.    Know the notation of [1-2-3-4, [1-7-6], [4-3-2-1], and all related to signify suggested bass note walks or other signature riffs of the song.

    We are going to reference our handy little table of the diatonic scales for some commonly used keys in music again here, because it contains the notes in the scales of each key and it shows the Major and minor chords in each key.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(1)
Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do
C D E F G A B C
G A B C D E F# G
D E F# G A B C# D
A B C# D E F# G# A
E F# G# A B C# D# E
I ii iii IV V vi vii I

    Familiar enough with this yet?  If so this new chart will also make sense.

    Now that you've seen and went through the Key of C in the previous lesson, we are going to look at the Key of G, since this key has 1# and it is an F#.

    This time, we'll go across from "Do" to "Do" and we'll go down from "Do to "Do" putting the sharps on F#, because there is one sharp (F#) key of "G"

Scales in the Key of G
Don't hesitate to refer back to this
table as you read more below.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(1)
Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do
G A B C D E F# G
A B C D E F# G A
B C D E F# G A B
C D E F# G A B C
D E F# G A B C D
E F# G A B C D E
F# G A B C D E F#
G A B C D E F# G
I ii iii IV V vi vii I

    The G scale above shows the F# you need to have the 1/2 step between 7-8.  Notice there is a natural 1/2 between 3-4 notes with the B-C change.

    So as you can see, there is no C# if you start on the "A" note for an "A" scale (remember and look at table with the notes/scales in the Major keys that the A major scale has an C# in it as the 3rd note), thus the 3rd. note is naturally flat if you start on an "A" note in the Key of G, therefore you have a minor scale and if you played the C note (without the #) you would have a flat-3rd. which is what you use to make a minor chord. 

    And because you also don't have a G# if you started a scale on the A note as the 7th. note, you then have a naturally flatted seventh, which is why in the key of G, you'll see a Am7 or ii7 voicing for that chord.

    Remember a major cord is notes 1-3-5 and a minor is 1-b3-5, so with a A Major, it would be A-C#-E and a Am would be A-C-E and since the key of G has only one sharp in it (F#), the A chord is thus an  A minor.

    You'll see the same for "B" where there is not a natural 1/2 step between 3-4 (D & E), thus a flatted third once again is a minor.

    When you get to starting with an "C" in the key of G, you'll notice there is a natural 1/2 step between 3-4 and also 7-8(1), which is why in the Key of G, the C chord is a major chord.

    Do this again starting with D and you'll see a natural 1/2 step between 3-4 and you'll see between 7-8 there is a whole step, thus the 7th note (C) is really a flatted 7th, which is why when you see a C chord in the key of G, you'll also often see it voiced as a D7, or V7

    When you do this starting with E in the Key of G, you'll see there is a 1/2 step between 3-4 and it should be a G#, thus it is a flatted 3rd. and of course a flatted 3rd. note in a chord makes a minor chord.

    When you see a F# note in the Key of G, it is usually a F#, unless of course the chord is a G7, which the 1/2 step between 7-8 is reduced and the F is a b7.  This is why in the C chord in the key of G, if you play a B, but you play the Bb note to make the I7 chord.  This is why the F# scale in G is highlighted above in purple, because there are some songs with a F# chord in it, even though you are in the key of G.  Making any sense to you now?

    Sample Chart/Song - Key of G:

Amazing Grace

V       I     I7 [1-2-3-4]   IV       I
    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
[1-7-6]   vi       II        V .. V7  
    That saved a wretch like me.
        I         I[1-2-3-4]    IV         I
    I once was lost,             but now I am found,
  [1-7-6]  vi        V     [4-3-2-1]  I
    I was blind, but now I see

    You have no doubt noticed the new:
         [1-2-3-4], [1-7-6], and [4-3-2-1]
notations in the above chart.  These are the bass notes to give further references on the chord changes and also can be used to chart a signature riff, fill, or lick of a song.

    You will also notice we are use the I7 and the V7 chords for more a bluesy feel.

    If you substitute the notes and the chords in the key of G, can you site sing these changes using letters instead of numbers?  If so, then try to do it in the Key of C and see if it is just as easy.  Once you have the Key of C and Key of G down, you are ready to move on to the Key of D.

Part - 3  (Key of D)
Part - 4  (Key of A)
Part - 5  (Key of E)

    Again it is recommended you go through each of these parts one by one and in the order they appear, just as you should go through each lesson in the order they appear and not try to move on or too fast, until you understand everything in the lesson you are currently working and studying.


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