How to Play the Minor Chord Scale

minor chord scale

Minor chords are triads with a minor third and perfect fifth interval between their outer notes, providing the simplest form of minor tonality.

Additionally, there are various variations and approaches to playing minor chords which give you greater options when creating musical arrangements of your own.


Scales are collections of notes that belong together and can be used to form melodies or chords. Scales provide the basis of most music, being easily reordered into different progressions for melody creation or chord development.

To create a scale, one uses both half and whole steps in sequence. Half steps represent the distance between successive notes (e.g. C-E-D-C-E is an example of such an arrangement) while whole steps signify their completion (i.e. an F# = C# and so forth).

Ascending half steps are higher than their descending half steps. To understand a step better, think of them like ladder rungs–you want a note on every one!

Each key of the musical scale contains twelve minor keys with different tonal centers, so it is essential that you become acquainted with your minor key and its notes.

One method of distinguishing between minor and major keys is examining the order in which notes appear in a piece of music. If its initial note falls under major key, that indicates playing it with major chords; otherwise if its initial note falls under minor key then use minor chords instead.

Once you understand the differences between minor and major scales, it becomes much simpler to learn them and play them! While their patterns of whole and half steps may appear similar, their construction differs.

Natural minor scales consist of an ordered sequence of half and whole steps in ascending succession from W-H to W-W-3Hs-3Hs (which stands for three half steps). A harmonic minor form uses similar patterns for ascending and descending patterns; both cases present themselves equally often in musical compositions.

Minor scales come in three varieties, which can be divided into natural, harmonic and melodic versions. All begin on C and are similar to their major-scale equivalents with one notable distinction being that a natural third note always falls a half step lower (i.e. B minor and B major).


Triads are simple three-note consonant chords which form the cornerstone of tonal music. Triads can be created by stacking up root, major third and perfect fifth notes from any scale (see Example 3).

Quality in triads can be determined by examining their intervals between their root, third, and fifth chords; major triads have a major third between roots and third; in minor ones it’s only minor third.

Triads have fifths that are always perfect. This is due to the tritone interval between root and fifth being present – hence why every fifth must be an ideal fifth.

Major triads are among the most frequently seen, but there are numerous variations available to composers. Diminished triads are less often encountered but can be intriguing with their dissonant properties; these chords combine a minor third with an inverted fifth to produce more discordant sound than major ones do.

An inverted triad is another type of triad in which the bass note no longer corresponds with the lowest note in the chord, unlike in traditional triads. These inverted triads may have various voicings depending on which note is chosen as its bass note rearrangement source; 6/4 notation indicates this type of inverted triad on staff diagrams.

Finally, inverted triads that use slashes to denote an additional pitch class other than their chord root are known as inverted triads; for instance, one with C being replaced with E would be known as an A minor 2nd inversion (figured bass notation: 6/4).

As previously discussed, major triads are bright, happy and upright; minor ones tend to be darker, sadder and less vibrant – this can be caused by their lower third which lacks brightness; additionally their flattened fifth adds melancholia for a more melancholic sound that often forms part of improvisations.

Seventh-note Chords

Seventh-note chords are an integral component of many melodies – whether in pop music, classical music or jazz – offering dissonant notes and helping build tension through movement.

A seventh-note chord can be formed by adding a seventh note to a three-note triad constructed on the root of a scale, typically major or minor thirds as its root note.

Minor scale chords consist of four basic seventh-note chords that naturally occur: major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, half-diminished 7, and half-diminished 7. Each can be used instead of their counterpart to add dissonant sounds and movement within a progression.

The dominant seventh chord, formed of a major triad and minor seventh interval, typically appears naturally within a V of major scale and usually conveys romantic and tranquil emotions compared to its dissonant counterparts.

Functional harmony chords such as this are used extensively across many genres of music – jazz, metal and classical alike. Mastering this chord is essential if musicians wish to play functional chord progressions.

As opposed to a major triad, the root of a dominant seventh chord moves stepwise downward to its next sonority – this phenomenon is referred to as falling-fifth root motion; however, rising-fourth root motion may occur if an intervening third, fifth, or triad appears next to it in a progression.

Like major triads, you can identify seventh-note chords by visualizing or writing them without doublings for easy identification. This exercise is also an excellent way to remember their qualities until you become proficient with them.

If you need some practice with these qualities of seventh chords, take a look at this exercise. With it you can construct one quality at a time and practice playing it either with closed spacing or open spacing with doubled notes – this way you’ll gain an improved understanding of how to spell these chords!


Minor chord progressions are an effective way of adding variety and complexity to music, particularly for improvisers. While these sequences can be tricky to learn initially, with practice they will eventually become second nature.

Minor key progressions use an orchestrated blend of Major and Minor chords to produce an emotionally engaging melody that’s sure to catch anyone’s ear – often used by songwriters as an effectual way of adding some variety and flavor to their compositions.

Step one in mastering minor chord progressions is practicing them on full instruments, to gain familiarity with each sound of each chord and determine whether they work together well.

Once you’ve mastered i, iv and v chords, it’s time to put them all together into a full progression. Begin by writing out a 4-bar chord progression on paper and playing through it several times before switching chord sets and writing another progression underneath your original one – keep going until you have written at least eight different progressions!

Are you curious to gain more knowledge on chord progressions? Take our free course on this subject! You’ll gain an understanding of common chord types, their relationship to keys and scales they come from, as well as how to construct progressions in any key.

At some point, you’ll become adept at crafting your own minor chord progressions and playing them on either guitar or piano. Not only is this fun but it can help broaden your knowledge about various music genres and how chords relate in songs you already love!

Minor chords come in many different forms, from natural and melodic minor scales. Each has its own identity; however, natural minor scales are most frequently employed for creating progressions of minor chords.

Beginning your progressions with the natural minor scale is an excellent way to ensure their stability, since it contains both major and minor chords. However, keep in mind that its emotional quality does differ significantly from major scales because its chords don’t contain as many stable harmonies and sharp pitches.