Roman Numerals for Music (I need help)


Does anybody have any suggestions for remembering roman numerals? I have to remember long sequences of Roman Numerals for music charts. For example:

I, ii, V, vi, ii, V, I

And yes, the upper and lower case have meaning too. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi, Sal:

I think you could approach it like memorizing cards. Develop an image vocabulary for the roman numerals, perhaps an animal for each (chord position?). You could use land animals upper case and marine animals for lower case. Then store maybe 4 per locus in a memory palace.

I’m new at this, so some of the experts may have better suggestions, but I thought I’d get the ball rolling.



You could use the alphabet-peg system with a memory palace. For example, I would set in the first place a vulture holding an impala on his left foot and another one on his right foot. Thus, we could recite the number VII.

For the mixed cases, use a different animal for the capital letter and the lowercase letter, e.g. the capital V is a vulture, but lowercase v is a viper.


Sal, I just saw this post. Earlier today I posted the method I use to memorize chord progressions:

I’m very excited to hear your feedback. It’s something I developed specifically so I could memorize all sorts of chord combinations/progressions.

e.g., for minor chords (lower case), I sometimes use a miner’s hat -or pickaxe.


This is great! Thanks for asking the question Sal and thank you everyone for the good suggestions.


If you learn diatonic triads of a major scale, you can ignore case – since they’ll always be the same. For example, in a major key the second (ii), third (iii), and sixth (vi) chords are always minor triads. From there, you can simply memorize digits. So for your example: I, ii, V, vi, ii, V, I becomes 1, 2, 5, 6, 2, 5, 1.


Knowing stuff like the circle of fifths and functional harmony could also be helpful, but it depends on the type of music one’s involved in.