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Minor Chords Theory

Minor chords are very common types of chords so it worth knowing about how they are constructed and how to work them out.

Character of the chord
Minor chords create a moody, melancholic feel. Depending on how they are used and the context in which they are played, this emotion can range from mellow sadness to mourning. Minor chords can be made less intense in feeling by adding modifiers such as sevenths and ninths.

Usually a minor chord is notated by a capital letter, followed by a small case "m". E.g. a C minor chord on a chord sheet would be "Cm". Occasional people write "Cmin", although this is not strictly necessary. C minor can also be written C-

C minor chord notated

C minor notated

Theory - how to work out any major chord.
The minor chord is composed of the root note (tonic) of the scale, the 3rd (mediant), and the 5th note (dominant). So if you play the D minor scale, hold the first note of the scale down (D), the third note (F) and the fifth (A), and this will give you the D minor chord.

Eb minor chord

Eb minor on a keyboard

As with working out major chords, this technique is fine if you know all your minor scales! However, most people don't, so here's another way of figuring out minor chords:-
Let's say we want to work out Eb minor - a more unusual minor chord and unless you know your scales really well this is going to be difficult!
The first note, of course, will be Eb.
To find the second key, count up 3 steps from here (do not include the first key, and count every key, including the black ones). This should get you to Gb (F#).
After this, count 4 steps up from Gb (again, be sure not to include the first key). You should now be on Bb. So Eb minor is Eb - Gb - Bb

So all minor chords are formed from the pattern of 3 steps then 4.
MINOR - 3 - 4


If you want to try to remember this sequence, it may by using the following:- "The average age of a miner is 34" = MINOR 3 - 4 ! This fact about miners is almost certainly not true, but if it helps in remembering your chords, then do feel free to use it! There's probably a better one out there - do let me know if you think of any!

Piano Keys

chord theory
major chords (eg. A, A major) minor chords (eg. Em. E minor or E min) 2 chords (eg. C2 or Csus2) 4 chords (eg. E4 or Esus4) 5 chords (eg. F5, power or open chords) 6 chords (eg. C6) 7 chords (eg. G7) m7 chords (eg. Gmin7) maj7 chords (eg. Gmaj7)



9 chords (eg. C9 or Cadd9) 11 chords (eg. B11 or Badd11) augmented chords (eg. Faug or F+) diminished chords (eg. Ddim or D°) flat chords (eg. Eb or Gb) sharp chords (eg. F# or C#) chord inversions (eg. E/B or E/G#)

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