Greetings, World! In today’s lesson, we’ll cover what are chords in a minor key. It’s very important to know the structure and fingering. Knowing this will help you find one’s bearing in any minor. Knowing this simple theory will help you to apply in practice and improvise on every chord.
Today’s lesson will be dedicated to:
- The structure of the C minor key;
- Finding chords in it;
- An easy formula for easier improvisation!
Many great songs are written in the minor. It’s like an intelligently sad scale. It makes the song more dramatic, maybe sad or even more powerful. Most songs are in slow tempo for better “invasion” to listeners’ minds. I like to call it “invasion to the mind”, because they have a mighty impact. It can even lead down to tears.
So, how do we find what chords are in a minor? How can we find them? Let’s try to understand that in an easy way.
Guitar Chords In A Minor
As an example, we’ll take C minor key and figure out what chords are in it. Before you start learning it, you should first know how to build major key. I’ll explain why it’s important later in this lesson.
Here’s the scale of C:
It’s the basic scale on all 6 strings starting from the root C on the 8th fret of the low E string. As you can see the scale is made from the following notes:
C; D; Eb; F; G; Ab; Bb
There’re 3 flat notes in minor which are Eb, Ab, and Bb the contrary to C major which has no flats and sharps. But that’s not the main point here.
From the previous lesson you must remember the major formula which goes like:
I; IV; V
It’s the same structure (as in major). From this point of view, we get that in the formula root chord is Cm, the 4th chord is Fm which is subdominant and the 5th is Gm which is dominant. (For greater sound and highlight Gm7 is better because of 7th sound more interesting.)
Remember that every note in the scale is the extent (C is I, the root), so it goes that every note is a chord. For example, Gm here is the V extent of the key.
Ok, now we have 3 main minors in the key, let’s find out where major and diminished ones.
The very important to remember is that diminished is ALWAYS built on the II extent. In major diminished is on the VII extent, but in minor is the II. This is written down in any theory. Remember that!
Ddim (as a freak in the C family) and all other chords are major. From this we get that:
(all flatted ones) are major;
And that’s it! There’s nothing more here in a minor! As you can see it’s not as complicated as it might be. This is how I understand the progression and structure. Maybe you’ll find other resources where it’s said that minor starts from the sixth extent of the major scale, but it’s the same. Try to compare yourself some lessons and point out the main points for you.
Here’re all chords in C minor key.
- Cm. I extent
- Ddim. II extent
- Eb. III extent
- Fm. Subdominant IV extent
- Gm7. Dominant V extent
- Ab. VI extent
- Bb. VII extent
Conclusion of the minor progression
Ok, today we’ve covered another essential guitar basics lesson about the key of C minor progression. It’s very important to know first the major key progression first and then a minor one. That’s because major has VII extent diminished chord and minor has II extent. In other guitar theory guides, it can be told a little different, maybe it can be mentioned that minor starts from VI extents of the major. But I don’t think like that.
Ok, today we have learned the following topic:
- Basic structure and progression of the key;
- Minor is almost the same as major;
- The formula is one for both – I; IV; V
- What chords are in it;
- II extent is diminished (dim);
For now, try to play all chords in the key of minor and all in major. Try to compare them all and look for the same and different nuances. Doing this will help you better understand the theory and easily orient it. It’s much more valuable time spending in guitar practice than trying to build speed playing fast licks. Music for guitar is taught work, but after some time it will bring your skills to a new level that you’ve never taught before.
Thank you for your time reading this article and I hope you have learned something new from it. Next time we’ll cover the true power of guitar arpeggios.