How to Play Minor Chords Piano

Minor piano chords, much like major ones, consist of three basic notes arranged as three-note structures: their root note, minor third note and perfect fifth.

Subtituting a major chord for a minor one is straightforward: simply move down one half step on its middle note while leaving everything else unchanged.

Root Note

Minor chords begin with what’s known as the root note – usually the lowest note. You then add other notes which form second and third intervals from it; for instance, E min has three intervals starting with G and progressing up through B before ending on E, making up E minor. To play it, your pinky finger would go onto G while middle fingers play B before your thumb takes over playing E minor.

Minor scales each feature their own chord progression, but all can be created in the same manner. To form a minor chord you will require equal intervals from all notes within the scale.

There are certain groups of minor chords which are more complex. For instance, the Minor six chord is unique as it contains a major sixth; another complex group is Minor thirteenth chord which combines minor seventh and major ninth; it can sometimes be written as Cm9. Although they all sound complex at first glance, all construction techniques remain exactly the same.

Third Note

Minor thirds are an integral component of minor chords and should be considered vitally important when creating their sound. Their interval consists of three semitone steps; thus it’s essential that musicians become acquainted with this concept early.

This technique can also be applied to other piano chords. By counting semitones from root to third you can easily determine whether a chord is major or minor.

An easy way to identify a minor chord is by studying its interval between its third and fifth. For example, if the third note is E and fifth note is G you know it’s a minor chord as the interval between them is E – C 3. Additionally this technique can also be applied when working out other types of chords such as diminished and augmented piano chords.

Fifth Note

Minor chords feature lower fifth notes than their third note, creating a darker sound and often sounding sad or melancholic in songs. Minor chords can add tension and create unnerve to melodies.

To create a minor chord, start with its root note, adding its third and fifth notes from its corresponding minor scale – this form of composition is known as triads. A chord’s name depends on its interval number between roots; to distinguish a minor chord when one contains a flat fifth note (C in this instance), add a flat fifth (either Bb or Eb).

On the left hand, use your pinky finger on the root, middle finger on third and thumb on top for each inversion of chord. Holding these positions requires three fifths (ie 3 5 1 1 2) on one inversion while two fifths (1 3 5 1) require holding one chord every fiveths ie 1 5 3 5. Inverting Aeolian Dominant chords creates unique harmonic soundscapes which often sound rich and beautiful – this first inversion may also be called Aeolian mode or Aeolian Dominant chords!


As you build a minor chord, keep in mind that it consists of three intervals: root note, minor third and perfect fifth. These intervals determine its quality; to improve this ability quickly identify and construct triads by ear.

Learn the triads by looking at Roman numeral symbols that identify scale degrees on which chords are built; for instance, 11 represents major chords while 7 stands for minor ones.

Be sure to practice rearranging the order of notes within a triad to experience how their sound changes; this process is known as chord inversion and can help when songs call for different sounds from your typical major or minor triads. For instance, C minor chords may be written as E G C or even E G C B; both of which still qualify as C minor chords but offer greater complexity than their C major counterpart.