Lesson 1: Scale and chords of C

The C scale (c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c1) has no black notes, no sharps or flats.

When you play this scale with you right hand, start with your thumb, then when your middle finger has played the 'e', move your thumb to the 'f', finishing the scale on 'c1' with your little finger. If you play the scale with your left hand, you start with your little finger, all the way to your thumb on 'g', and then put your middle finger on 'a' to end with your thumb on 'c1'.

The C major chord is built from the first, third and fifth note of the scale: C=c,e,g.

Note that the C chord, which is a triad, can be played in 3 different ways, called inversions: Practice these chords both with left and right hand, although generally you will be playing chords with your left hand.

The most important chords in the key of C are C, F and G7 . C is called the first degree (I), F the fourth (IV) and G the fifth (V) degree. (We will come to that later)

Here is another way of playing these chords, using inversions for F and G7.

Many so-called 3-chord songs can be played using these chords. An example is

A more complete example is 'My Bonny is over the ocean'

As can be expected, the melody uses only the notes in the key of C (the white keys) We play the chords with the left hand, the melody with the right hand.

We can play more degrees (triads) in the scale of C. Here are all degrees of C . They are: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, B0 and C, being the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th degree of C. Note that the 2nd and 3rd degree are minor chords, the 6th degree as well, and the 7th is a special one. The degrees are often written in Roman notation, were a capital stands for a major chord, a normal case stands for a minor chord: I ii iii IV V vi vii(0)

In next lessons we will learn about the circle of fifths and some transition chords in the key of C.