Chord/Scale Relationships

Here are some chord types, and associated scales commonly used to play over them
Chord Scale
I major, I 6, I maj7 Ionian
Other maj7s Lydian
I minor, I minmaj7 Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor
I min7 Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian
III min7 Phrygian
VI min7 Aeolian
min6, II min7 and all other min7s Dorian
V 7 Mixolydian, Lydian b7, Altered, Whole Tone, Diminished (H-W)
All other 7th chords Lydian b7
min7b5 Locrian
Dim7 Diminished (W-H)
Notes about Chord-Scale relationships:
  • There are no rules associated with these suggested relationships. Use them as a guide but do not regard them as definitive. Your ear is ultimately the best judge.
  • Chords are often listed according to their Roman Numeral. Roman numerals relate to how a specific chord is used in a progression relative to the key of the tune. In the key of C, the III min7 chord is Emin7.