How to Use Minor Chords to Add Depth and Emotion to Songs

Minor chords can evoke melancholy and introspection when played on an acoustic guitar or haunting piano melody, offering composers an invaluable way of adding depth and emotion to their songs. Knowing how to use minor chords effectively can add layers of texture that enrich and deepen their compositions.

Minor chords open up a wealth of harmonic possibilities in music. Numerous studies have demonstrated how minor chords evoke different emotional responses than major ones do.

Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

Fallin’ is Alicia Keys’s debut single set in a minor key and was an important step toward her establishing herself as an artist. The song’s unique chord progression provides a soulful foundation for Keys’ expressive vocals as she sings about relationships filled with complications.

John Mayer’s Slow Dancing in a Burning Room is another song with minor chords by way of John Mayer that showcases his guitar prowess and emotion. This blues-infused ballad showcases Mayer’s musical ability.

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor has become an iconic song that symbolizes perseverance and resilience, giving it an energizing sound that makes it a go-to workout tune. Its harmonic minor scale gives this track its familiar, upbeat sound which has cemented its place as one of our favorites.

Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

This powerful R&B ballad serves as an outstanding demonstration of how minor chords can be used to convey feelings such as melancholy or sorrow, making this song accessible even to beginner and intermediate guitarists alike. Additionally, its simple progression makes playing it simpler than ever!

Kool and the Gang’s timeless funk-pop classic features minor chords to create its soulful sound, making it one of the most renowned songs ever. Guitarists will never tire of learning this timeless tune.

A common chord progression found in minor songs, the i-bVII-i progression creates an upbeat sound in contrast with its melancholy counterpart, providing an upbeat melody for this passage of music.

The Night We Met by Lord Huron

This ballad by Lord Huron and Phoebe Bridgers from Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is an ode to lost love. Its melancholic tune conveys its melancholy with minor chords creating a longing tone.

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor is an iconic example of how chord progressions in minor keys can be exciting and motivating, including its signature guitar riff and workout staple status due to its harmonic minor scale.

This Irish folk song features a powerful IV-VII-i chord progression with minor chords to heighten tension and build anticipation, making this an easy tune for acoustic guitarists to pick up quickly.

Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

This popular song by The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) explores themes of heartache and loss with a minor chord progression, earning the artist his Super Bowl halftime show slot that year and topping Billboard Hot 100 charts for four weeks consecutively.

The lyrics express his hope of finding “blinding light” to guide him through difficult times, a theme frequently explored in his music. The chorus’s repetition that he cannot sleep until he feels her touch echoes our profound connections between each human being and love’s capacity for transformation in our lives. Download the entire song free at LANDR Start.

Without Me by Halsey

Minor chords are an essential skill for expanding one’s musical knowledge. Their melancholic sound makes them ideal for slow songs with strong emotions.

Hotel California by the Eagles is an outstanding example of minor chord progression; its first four power chords are all in A minor while its final note, B minor.

Twenty One Pilots’ hit song Heathens provides another good example of music with minor chord progression. Taken from their Suicide Squad soundtrack album, this mid-tempo tune uses VI-VII-i – an effect often used in minor keys that heightens tension and anticipation – creating tension.

Royals by Lorde

Lorde is known for producing her vocals with an elegant production style that highlights their mezzo-soprano range, Royals is an excellent example of how adding monophonic textures can elevate an overall listening experience without drowning out its lead voice.

The song takes its title from a word written on a uniform worn by Kansas City Royals baseball player that caused Lorde to think about celebrity culture and materialistic wealth. As a result, its success has brought her international praise and earned her a Grammy Award nomination.