Roman numeral analysis

Roman numeral analysis and chord notation.

Roman numeral chord table – roman numeral major chord table for all twelve keys.

To represent a chord progression without being key specific, it’s common practice to use roman numerals to denote the chords and indicate the relationship between them.

The use of roman numerals, in combination with good knowledege of common chord progressions, makes it easier to quickly understand how a song is constructed. Furthermore, it eases the pain of transposing a song to different keys.

Roman numeral, scale degree and chords

A roman numeral represents the scale degree of the root note of the chord.

This means that in the key of C, the roman numeral I represents the major C chord and the roman numeral V represents the major G chord.

If we change the key to G the corresponding chords are I = G and V = D.

Chord quality

To represent the quality of a chord we use the conventional chord symbols.

For example, the chord progression C-F-G7 in the key of C becomes I-IV-V7 with roman numerals.


An inversion of a chord, i.e. when a chord note other than the root is the base of the chord, is represented like this:

  • In the key of C the major G chord is represented by the roman numeral V.
  • If we play an inversion of the G chord with B as the base note, we write it G/B.
  • G/B (still in the key of C) becomes V/3rd with roman numerals, where 3rd is the scale position of the note in the major scale of the chord. The third note in the G major scale is B.

Roman numeral table

A table with examples of how roman numerals, scale degrees, chords and chord qualities fit together.

Scale degrees1th2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
Triad scale tone chordIIImIIImIVVdimVImVII
Example in CCDmEmFGAmBdim
7th scale tone chordsImaj7IIm7IIIm7IVmaj7V7VIm7VIIm7b5
Example in CCmaj7Dm7Em7Fmaj7G7Am7Bm7b5

Different roman numeral chord notations

  • either uppercase roman numerals for all chords.
  • or uppercase roman numerals for major chords (I, IV, V).
  • and lowercase roman numerals for minor chords (i, iv, v).