What are the Primary Chords & Secondary Chords In Your Favorite Keys?
Here is a transcript of the video if you would like to follow along:
Good morning, this is Duane, and one of the most important things that any piano player can learn are the primary chords and the secondary chords in any key, the key they’re going to play in. In other words, you don’t need to play in all 12 keys. There’s 12 major keys you can play in, 12 minor keys you can play in, but you don’t necessarily need to know all those, although it would be helpful to do that.
But, let’s say that you play in a group, and your group plays in the key of F a lot. Well, it’s absolutely necessary for you to know what chords are going to occurs the most in the key of F. Doesn’t matter what the song is. If you take all the songs in the world and put them in a computer and blend them all together, you’ll find that in 90% of the cases, the most used chords in any key are the one-chord, the four-chord and the five-chord.
For example, if you’re playing in the key of C, since the key of C is based on the scale of C, isn’t it? So, the one-chord in the key of C, therefore it’d be built on the one degree of the scale, the first degree of the scale which is C, and a chord is made out the root, third, and fifth. That’s the most important chord by far in the key of C. It’s used more than any others. It usually starts and end a song. Okay? Doesn’t have to, a composer can do anything they want, but usually it is. That’s the most used chord in any key, I mean the key of C.
What’s the next most used chord? Well, it’s probably the five-chord. One, two, three, four, five. The second most used chord is the five-chord, followed by the four-chord, and those are all major chords. In fact, they’re the only three chords that are organically major in the key of C, that is without adding any accidentals. So, in the key of C, those are all white, aren’t they?
So, anything you want to play in the key of C … It’ll involve those three chords, or could involve those three chords. They’re the most likely to occur. But, then after those three chords, the next most likely after that are three minor chords. The two-chord, which is minor; the three-chord, which is minor; and the six-chord, one, two, three, four, five, six, which is minor.
Now, if you know all six of those chords, you’ve gone a long ways towards mastering tons of songs, because most songs will only have those three primary chords, one, four, and five, and some of the secondary chords, which are two, three, and six. So, master those six chords in the key that you want to play in. So, I just play in the key of C.
But, let’s say that the group that I play in likes to play in the key of F. That means that basically they’re playing on the scale of F, which goes like that. I won’t review why that … why the key of F has a B flat, but it does. So, the one chord in the key of F, therefore is F, isn’t it?
The five-chord in the key of F is what? One, two, three, four, five. C; and the four-chord is what? B flat, so again, most everything that I want to play in the key of F … involves one of those three chords. I’m playing the B flat now, [inaudible 03:29]. Now, C, F, I mean B flat, and then back to F. I was just playing the blues there, but you can play … most any song will include those three primary chords.
If I want to play in the key of G, if I want to master the key of G, then it’s based on the scale of G, and the primary chords are G, the one-chord; D, the five-chord; and C, the four-chord. So, G, C, and D. So, if I have a song in the key of G, it’s most likely going to have those three chords. G, C, D’s, G. G, C, D. Now, of course, it can have any other chords as well, but those are the ones that are going to occur the most.
What are the secondary chords then in the key of G? Well, if the primary chords are one, four, and five, then the secondary chords are two, which would be A minor, three, which would B minor, and six, which would be E minor. So, if I master those six chords in the key of G, I’ve got a huge handle on the key of G.
I didn’t cover the secondary chords in the key of F, did I? The primary chords are one, four, and five. F, B flat, and C. So, what are the secondary chords? They’re the two-chord, which is G minor, the three-chord, which is A minor, and the six-chord, which his D minor. So, whatever key you want to play in, master the one, four, and five chords first, and then the secondary chords, two, three and six.
Remember that the one-chord, four-chord, and five-chord are major. I’ll play in B flat now, and that’s the one-chord. Here’s the four-chord, E flat. Now, back to B flat. E flat. B flat, and now F. B flat, and then as you advance you’ll learn to put other notes in it. I was putting seventh-chords in the one, four, and five. You can do a lot of connective chords as well.
Let me just give you an example what I mean. I was playing the B flat chord, with the seventh in it. Then I was playing the E flat chord with the 7th in it. Then I was playing the F chord with a seventh in it; but it’s still one, four, and five, but it has a seventh in it.
Now, I think what I did is when I got to the four-chord, or when I got to the five-chord, I think I went down by half steps to the four-chord. Yeah, you hear people do that. They slide down between keys, but that’s just a connective chord. Okay, if this makes sense and you enjoy this kind of thing come over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free newsletter on tips, piano tips, because you get a lot of them. Something most every day like this. You can learn a lot over the course of time. Thanks, and we’ll see you there. Bye-bye for now.
Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_DLwBXUmcw&feature=youtu.be