Composition of chord progressions
1. Choose a root from the circle of fifths: C, G, D, A, E, B, F#; F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb
2. Decide if the key should be major or minor (e.g. E minor)
3. Write treble clef and accidentals of the chosen key onto the staff (called the ‘key signature’)
Note: Major and minor keys, which share the same key signature, are said to be ‘relatives’ of each other (e.g. G major is the relative major of E minor, and E minor is the relative minor of G major).
Rule: root of major – 3 half steps = root of minor key (e.g. G major – 3 half steps = E minor)
4. Draw the seven notes of the chosen key starting with the root onto the staff. Name the notes and number them with roman numerals underneath (called the ‘degree’ of a scale). In this example we’ve chosen the key of E major:
And here it’s in E minor:
Note: Degrees are numbered according to the ‘Nashville Numbering System’, where roman numerals correspond to the chromatic scale starting with the root of the chosen key (chromatic scale = a scale containing all half steps).
Example of the chromatic scale in E: