Major and Minor Chords for Piano

minor chords for piano

A chord is composed of multiple notes, typically three, stacked on top of each other in an order that forms an arch shape. Most commonly it includes root note, third note and fifth note as its components.

Minor chords are like major chords but with a different sound. They add dimension and richness to music!

To create a minor chord, start with a major chord and lower its third interval note by one step. Next, add two notes from a minor scale as second and fifth interval notes:


Triads are blocks of three notes that form the basis of most chords. There are numerous ways of arranging them, though most often they’re used as accompaniment – either supporting singers and musicians alike, or for your own melodic playing. Triads may be major or minor chords that have either an augmented or diminished tone and can even have root or inverted position depending on your needs.

Building a major triad begins by beginning with the initial note in your scale or key signature – C in this example – as its root note, then add two notes four semitones above it (E and G respectively) followed by the final one which should be B to complete your chord. You can also work out minor triads by taking an opposite approach.

For a diminished triad, use the same process but substitute G for B. Augmented triads are similar to major ones but with an added sharp fifth note – indicated by either a circular symbol next to their chord name or by using abbreviations such as ‘aug’. Inverted triads simply mirror major ones but with the third and fifth notes swapped around (C becomes bottom note and E becomes middle note and so on).

Major Chords

As demonstrated in the chord triad lesson, major piano chords consist of three notes stacked atop each other. While they can be difficult to learn initially, mastering these chords will ultimately be worth your while!

There are 12 major chords you can create on the piano, each one offering its own distinct sound. To construct one of them, start with its root note and add third and fifth notes from its associated major scale – for a major chord this means adding all four third and fifth notes and fifth note as needed; to form minor chords simply lower its middle note by half step to form it.

Sometimes you will see minor chords written with “maj” in their names, like C maj 7. This simply indicates that the third note has been raised up by a major seventh; other variations include minor major 7th chords and minor 6/9 chords.

Pop and rock music frequently features songs with both major and minor chords, like The Beatles “Comfortably Numb” or an Eminem tune, that feature these elements. Jazz musicians may also employ diminished chords which consist of two minor thirds built together into diminished chords.

Minor Chords

Minor chords differ from their major counterparts in that their minor 3rd and fifth notes, which are lower in pitch than their major equivalents, can only be created using lower notes of the minor scale. To create one, start with its root chord (typically written with an “m”) then add two and four notes from it to create its minor third and fifth tones respectively.

Certain minor chords can also be enhanced with numbers to represent how many notes above the root you would like added (which is known as an interval). A common minor addition is adding 7ths, giving an octave lower sound that adds bluesy and jazzy characteristics. Another popular choice is adding minor sixths (or m6).

Other minor chords require more time and thought to create, like the minor 11 chord, commonly known as a sorrow chord. To build it, combine a minor triad with a major triad a half step below its root (for instance D), before playing its minor equivalent from D up three half steps – to G!