Minor Chords

Now that you have major chords under your belt, we are going to take a look at minor chords.

As we found out in the last lesson, you can construct major 7th piano chords by combining the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones (notes) of a major scale.

Now if you're wondering why we are spending several lessons on chords, then the reason is quite simple: chords are fundamental to everything you play on the piano, and by understanding them, it helps you to be able to see patterns in music more easily, so you can learn and play music more quickly.

Just as with rhythm, there are only a certain number chord combinations. Once you become familiar with them, your brain can easily translate what you see onto the piano – just as it translates letters on a page into words you say out aloud.

By lowering the 3rd and 7th tones (notes) a half step (a semitone down) you now have a minor 7th piano chord. The interval combination is root (1st), minor third (b3rd), perfect fifth (5th), and minor seventh (b7th). The b3rd is the symbol for "flatted 3rd" and b7th is the symbol for "flatted 7th".

So, an E minor seventh would be E, G, B, Db.

Below is the minor chords and fingering for C, D, E, F and G minor.

To view some minor 7th piano chords go to http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano piano chord finder. Just select the chord name (C, G, Ab, etc.) and then select "minor 7”.

For fingering, you should have your thumb on the 1 st note of the chord, index finger on the 3 rd, middle finger on the 5 th note, and your little finger on the 7 th.

Next we are going to play a piece in E minor, using minor chords. The final chord in the left hand is a very big stretch as it is bigger than an octave! Lots of people (including me) find a 10 th interval (E to G) too big to stretch. If you can’t reach, you can either just play the two notes in quick succession, E followed by G. Or, alternatively, pick up the G in the right hand: so your fifth finger is on E, your index finger is on B and your thumb reaches down to G.

Finally, another minor piece. This time in A minor, see the A minor scale below.

Glossary of Terms

Minor Seventh: The first (the root or tonic) and the seventh note in a minor scale.