Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the lesson: Intro to Music Theory Part 11- Major Scale Studies

Let’s put our theory into practice with the keys of C, A, G, E, & D!

I may have missed it somewhere but I don’t understand why 1, 4 and 5 are always major and 2, 3 and 6 are always minor. I’m gonna forget about 7 for now. Is this another monk rule that just IS? It all makes sense and WWHWWWH makes sense but I don’t know where the major and minor are coming from. Why isn’t everything just sharp or flat?

You get the diatonic chords by making them from the notes of the major scale of the key you’re in.

If you’re in G, the 2 is A minor. The notes of the A minor triad are A, C, and E, because those notes are in the G major scale. A major is A, C#, and E, but there’s no C# in the G major scale. Make sense?


I hope I don’t seem “short” in this video…I was just short on time :slight_smile:


Hi @BanjoBen there’s a problem with this video. The audio is fine but it’s displaying a still picture I am sure it’s not supposed to do that.

Hmmm…working fine here.

Weird it’s working fine now.

@BanjoBen Thanks for the reply to my question and the video. I will skip over to banjo and take a look. Sounds like maybe memorizing the notes in each scale ( knowing which have sharps ) might be helpful too. But this video does help a lot! Thanks!
BTW. I also had issues with the video at first until I reloaded the page and it worked fine. Could be an issue with the initial page load script maybe.

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Thanks. Yes, all you have to remember is the major scale pattern, which you already know :slight_smile:

I’m pretty that Mr. G. said that it is indeed a dead monk rule. :+1:


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I just took a second look at this video, and it really brought the whole idea into focus. Now let’s see if this old brain will remember it tomorrow. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Hey Ben,

So to take this just a little bit further, this is why an A major chord will never fit in a song in the key of G. A major requires a C# which is not a note of the G Major scale, Yes?

Really good stuff! More please. :musical_note:

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I just realized something, when I was messing with G to A major. Those are the first two chords of the intro to James Dean by The Eagles.

So an A can fit into some songs. Yaaaay!

Oh yeah, the A major is very common in the key of G, but it’s just not considered a diatonic chord. You wouldn’t use it as often as passing tones, etc. But, any chord can be played in any key…there are no rules against it. It just might not sound great :slight_smile:


I seem to recall playing the Am Chord quite a lot in the Key of G when I was working my way through the Murphy Method lessons. I often wondered if Murphy was substituting the Am chord for a C major… I have since come across the A Major chord in a Key of G progression on occasion.:see_no_evil::hear_no_evil::speak_no_evil:

I like the pdf showing amazing grace in the keys of C and A using the Nashville number system. Great simple illustration! And every time I played a chord in C when I was supposed to be in A, it sounded horrible :slight_smile:

@Treblemaker ( awesome name, by the way ) - I have a cheat sheet showing the keys and notes that I find very helpful and that is now starting to make more sense - the DR DUCK Dial a Note. It says no music reading necessary but I think the Fretboard Geography and theory help a lot.

@BanjoBen Do you think you will make videos like the Fretboard Geography series specifically for guitar and mandolin? Or am I missing those somewhere if they already exist?


The A major chord usually sounds good in the key of G when it’s used as a transition to D. If you look at the circle of fifths, you’ll see why right away. A is the 5th of D, which is the 5th of G. I cut my guitar playing teeth on Ray Stevens songs. A lot of them go from G to E to A to D. I only relatively recently learned that it’s transitioning from the 1 to the 5th of the 5th of the 5th(E), then to the 5th of the 5th (A), then finally to the 5th (D) which is why it all sounds so good. All of those 5th are begging to be resolved. Your ear becomes satisfied when each new resolution occurs.

This is why I love music theory.


Yes, I have plans to do that. Thanks!


Excellent presentation on theory Mr G. Thank you!


Thank you Mr. G your teaching style makes this stuff easy to absorb. I had several Ahh Haa moments. Never knew why the black keys were arranged in that fashion. It makes perfect sense . Smart Monks…