• freevideolessonbanner2jpg

    Here’s a method that’s helping beginners play in minor keys overnight

    by Jermaine Griggs · 66 comments

    in Chords & Progressions,Scales

    pianomanbig.jpgIf you’ve been keeping up with my occasional “What Key Am I In” posts, then you’re probably familiar with the chords that correspond to the major scale.

    For example, the C major scale is:

    C D E F G A B C
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    Each one of these scale degrees has a chord that corresponds with it; a chord that is naturally created on each tone of the scale.

    1 – C major 7
    2 – D minor 7
    3 – E minor 7
    4 – F major 7
    5 – G dominant 7
    6 – A minor 7
    7 – B half-diminished 7

    This can be applied to any scale, not just C major.

    1st tone – major 7
    2nd tone – minor 7
    3rd tone – minor 7
    4th tone – major 7
    5th tone – dominant 7
    6th tone – minor 7
    7th tone – half-diminished 7

    So if you know all 12 major 7th chords, all 12 minor 7th chords, and all 12 half-diminished chords (which are also known as minor 7 b5 chords), then you can play these 7 chords in practically ANY key!

    But that’s not what I want to talk about (you know I’m notorious for writing two blog posts in one… one that could be a lesson on its own, just catching you up to what I want to show you… and then the part of the post that actually shows you what I really want to show you… hehe! I’m sorry, I’m just addicted to making sure I’m very thorough and that no one gets left behind).

    By the way, if you are totally lost right now, please click here.

    —-

    So is it true, Jermaine? If I know my major keys, do I already know my minor keys?

    That is absolutely true!

    What if I told you that you don’t have to learn anything new to play the chords of the minor scale? Well, that’s true and I’m going to show you how to shortcut your way to being a pro both in major and minor keys in no time!

    What you MUST understand about minor keys

    Minor keys come from major keys.

    In fact, every minor key is related to a particular major key.

    Every major key has a relative minor key and every minor key has a relative major key.

    So, if you’re in the key of C major, how do you figure out what the relative minor of C is?

    Just go to the 6th tone!

    Boooooyyyyahhhhh! Done! Over! Simple!

    Just go to the sixth tone, that’s it.

    C D E F G A B C
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    The 6th degree of C major is “A” — so “A” is your relative minor of C.

    If you were in the key of “A minor” and wanted to figure out its relative major, then you’d go to the third tone of the “A minor” scale and that’ll give you “C.”

    So C is the relative major of A minor and A minor is the relative minor of C. That’s how that all works.

    The circle of fifths (yes I know, I’m a big fan) gives you all the “major-minor” relationships you’ll need to know. Just look inside the circle and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    circle of fifths

    How does knowing the relative minor of a major key translate into playing chords of the minor scale?

    Glad you asked!

    If you know that, “A,” for example, is the relative minor of “C major,” then here are some things you need to know about their relationship:

    1. They share the same key signature. C has no sharps or flats in its key, nor does “A” minor.
    2. They share the same notes. There are no notes in C major that you won’t find in “A” minor and vise versa.
    3. They also share the same corresponding chords so if you know the chords for each tone of C major, then you already know the chords for each tone of A minor

    In fact, if you don’t know already, you play an “A minor” scale by simply playing the C major scale from “A” to “A” rather than from “C” to “C.” Like I said, it shares all the same notes, just a different starting and ending point.

    Well, if that is true, then you do the SAME exact things with the chords I taught you above.

    C major scale with corresponding chords

    1 – C major 7
    2 – D minor 7
    3 – E minor 7
    4 – F major 7
    5 – G dominant 7
    6 – A minor 7
    7 – B half-diminished 7

    Now, let me do something… let me repeat these same chords from the C major scale but instead of stopping at B, the 7th tone, I’m going to keep it going for two octaves.

    But I want you to pay close attention to it and you’ll notice something…

    1 – C major 7
    2 – D minor 7
    3 – E minor 7
    4 – F major 7
    5 – G dominant 7
    6 – A minor 7
    7 – B half-diminished 7
    8 – C major 7
    9 – D minor 7
    10 – E minor 7
    11 – F major 7
    12 – G dominant 7
    13 – A minor 7

    14 – B half-diminished 7

    What you see bolded, my friend, are the chords of the A minor scale!

    You just change your starting and ending points. You don’t alter anything else!

    So with that said, let’s rewrite our chords now based on the minor scale, keeping in mind that all we did was take a chunk right out the middle of our major scale chords:

    1st tone – A minor 7
    2nd tone – B half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – C major 7
    4th tone – D minor 7
    5th tone – E minor 7
    6th tone – F major 7
    7th tone – G dominant 7

    Or, better yet, let’s apply this to any key:

    1st tone – minor 7
    2nd tone – half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – major 7
    4th tone – minor 7
    5th tone – minor 7
    6th tone – major 7
    7th tone – dominant 7

    So the next time someone tells you to play in a minor key, figure out the the relative major and you’ll find it a lot easier!

    (Note: When you do this, you’re going to find that the 6th tone of the relative major scale seems to act as the tonic, the home base… and it should — because you’re in a minor key! Remember, with my tips here, you’re just thinking in terms of the relative major key to make things easier for you rather than tackling minor scales and chords from scratch).

    The first 11 to write out the other 11 minor scale chords will get a chance to win any of our courses! Just post a comment below and I’ll randomly pick a winner once I receive all 11 minor scales and their chords. If someone has already done a scale and its chords, you have to do a new one or you won’t qualify.

    Until next time!

    Update:

    Winner of contest is Freddy, comment #8!

    (see live video of how winner was picked)

    Related posts:

    1. The easiest way to remember minor scales!
    2. 5 core “getting started” tips for playing piano by ear… for beginners
    3. Learning to play natural minor scales
    4. How I quickly learn songs in all 12 keys
    5. Whole steps and half steps for beginners

    multipledropdownfreelessonsjpg

    { 62 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 akay

    F# minor scale

    1st tone – F# minor 7
    2nd tone – G# half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – A major 7
    4th tone – B minor 7
    5th tone – C# minor 7
    6th tone – D major 7
    7th tone – E dominant 7

    Reply

    2 Jermaine

    @Akay! You’re in buddy! Thanks for being on the show the other day. I listened to the recording and you were hilarious… especially when you said: “I know the modes, I just don’t know which is which.”

    so if there is a question on this next week, I know you’ll be ready Akente (I hope I spelled your name right).

    All the best,
    JG

    Reply

    3 akay

    yeah, I noticed you mentioned my name as Akente, instead of Akwete.

    just a.k. (without the 47, lol) works most of the time. so most ppl just call me a.k. actually!

    I listened to the show too, and I had a good laugh. definitely looking forward to next week.

    akwete

    Reply

    4 Jermaine

    @akwete a.k.a “AK” – I stand corrected! See ya next week!

    Reply

    5 ms faye

    C minor chords

    Cminor7
    D half-dim 7
    Eb major 7
    F minor 7
    G minor 7
    Ab major 7
    Bb7
    Cminor7

    Reply

    6 Jermaine

    Ms faye… you’re #2! Great job

    Reply

    7 Cheryl Tong

    Hi!

    Here’s the D minor scale with corresponding chords:

    1st tone – D minor 7
    2nd tone – E half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – F major 7
    4th tone – G minor 7
    5th tone – A minor 7
    6th tone – Bb major 7
    7th tone – C dominant 7

    Cheryl

    Reply

    8 Jermaine

    @Cheryl – thanks! You’re #3… 8 more to go…!

    Come on folks!

    Reply

    9 Johannes

    E minor scale
    1st tone – E minor 7
    2nd tone – F# half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – G major 7
    4th tone – A minor 7
    5th tone – B minor 7
    6th tone – C major 7
    7th tone – D dominant 7

    Johannes

    Reply

    10 Jermaine

    @Johannes: you’re #4

    7 more to go!

    Come on! Who wants to possibly win a free course? The odds will be one out of 11 which are pretty high!!!!

    Reply

    11 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    1ST TONE G MINOR 7
    2ND TONE A 1/2 DIM 7
    3RD TONE Bb MAJOR 7
    4TH TONE C MINOR 7
    5TH TONE D MINOR 7
    6TH TONE Eb MAJOR 7
    7TH TONE F DOMINANT 7

    MIN. BRIAN “TRUMUSIC1SOUL” POWELL….SORRY I’M LATE GUYS…HAD TO PLAY GRANDADDY AT MY DAUGHTER’S GRANDPARENT’S DAY LUNCHEON….DIDN’T FORGET MY TEETH :)

    Reply

    12 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    MUCH NEEDED POST…LEARNED ALOT
    MR. JERMAINE…THANKS FOR KEEPING IT SWEET AND SIMPLE

    ….A.K. …..WASSSSSSUUUPPP, YOU GOT TO REPRESENT TUES.

    Reply

    13 Gavin

    Hi

    B minor scale with chords (I hope)

    B minor 7
    C# half-diminished 7
    D major 7
    E minor 7
    F# minor 7
    G major 7
    A dominant 7

    Gavin

    Reply

    14 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    SO WILL A “G MINOR PENTATONIC SCALE” BE…
    1ST….G MINOR 7
    b3RD…A MAJOR 7
    4TH….C MINOR 7
    5TH…D MINOR 7
    b7TH….E DOMINANT 7…….?….DOES THE SAME CONCEPT WORK FOR ALL THE SCALES? JUST WONDERING!!!!

    Reply

    15 Michael

    Bb minor scale

    Bb minor7
    C half-dim7
    Db major7
    Eb minor7
    F minor7
    Gb major7
    Ab dominant7
    Bb minor7

    Reply

    16 Jermaine

    Wow, got a storm of comments all at once.

    @Bryan: You’re in! #5 to post correctly!

    @Gavin: You’re in! #6 to post correctly!

    @Michael: You’re in! #7 to post correctly!

    4 more keys to go! whhhhhooooooooooooooooop wooooooooooooooooooop!

    Reply

    17 Jermaine

    @Bryan:

    For the minor pentatonic, it’s the same concept but I think you may have used the wrong notes.

    First, find out what the relative major of Gminor is. It’s Bb major. So basically, you want to know the Bb major pentatonic scale first.

    Pentatonic scale uses: 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 6 (five notes, thus “penta”tonic)

    So in Bb, it’s:

    Bb C D F G (and back to Bb)

    So in G minor, it MUST have those same notes, just rearranged so G is on the bottom.

    G Bb C D F G

    Notice also that the G min pentatonic is basically the blues scale with one missing note (the Db).

    So all these things are related sir! Everything!

    And if you wanted to find out the chords that go with each one of those tones, you could then apply the chords like you did (but make sure it’s to G, Bb, C, D, and F).

    Let me know if this helps bryan!

    Reply

    18 Jermaine

    Bryan, looking back at your post… I see what you did… you used the notes of the G major pentatonic scale rather than G minor.

    When it’s G major pentatonic, yes, its: G A B D E

    But when it’s G minor pentatonic, it relies on Bb major (the relative major) and therefore it’s: G Bb C D F G

    Reply

    19 FREDDY P.

    F MINOR SCALE

    1 ST TONE F MIN. 7th
    2 ND TONE G HALF-DIM 7th(-7b5)
    3 RD TONE Ab MAJ. 7th
    4 TH TONE Bb MIN. 7th
    5 TH TONE C MIN. 7th
    6 TH TONE Db MAJ. 7th
    7 TH TONE Eb DOMINANT 7th

    Reply

    20 Jermaine

    @Freddy! Thanks! You’re in at #8. I need three more and we’ll pick a random winner. I’ll record the random selection on my computer so you guys can see it live and in color ;)

    Reply

    21 chawk

    G minor scale

    G minor7
    A half diminished
    Bb major7
    C minor7
    D minor7
    Eb major7
    F dominant7

    Reply

    22 chawk

    G minor scale
    I NEEDED TO DO THIS OVER I MISS THE A HALF DIMINISHED7 HOPE THIS IS RIGHT

    g minor7
    a half diminished7
    bb major7
    c minor7
    d minor7
    eb major7
    f dominant7

    Reply

    23 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    APPRECIATE THE CLEAR UP…I THINK I UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT NOW…I’LL BE WORKING ON IT…..WORKING ON THAT 30%….THEORY
    THANKS

    COME ON YA’LL 3 MORE TO GO….DON’T BE SCUUUUUUUURRRRED!!! :D>

    Reply

    24 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    AYE TEACH!,
    IN GOSPEL MUSIC, DO WE EVER USE THE MINOR PENTATONIC HARMONIC SCALE CHORDAL WISE,…IF I’M MAKING ANY TYPE OF LOGIC OUT OF IT. OR IS IT MORE COMMON IN ANOTHER GENRE. JUST TRYING TO SEE WHERE TO GO TO HEAR AN EXAMPLE OF A SONG OR PROGRESSION BASED ON IT’S FORMAT.

    Reply

    25 BRIAN AKA TRUMUSIC1SOUL

    CHAWK HURRY AND CHOOSE ANOTHER KEY BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DOES…LOL SCROLL UP :)

    Reply

    26 chawk

    NEW POST DIDN’T KNOW G MINOR WAS TAKEN MY BAD

    G# MINOR

    Ab minor7
    Bb half-dim7
    B major7
    C# minor7
    Eb minor7
    E major
    F# dominant7

    Reply

    27 chawk

    Brian I notice you had my g minor, but i hope i’m good

    Reply

    28 Jermaine

    @chawk.. thanks for posting and re-posting the newer key (G#).

    I can’t accept it, however, because you titled it G#, yet you used the notes of the Ab scale.

    Hint: G# is easier to use than Ab minor.

    If you were to repost it as Ab minor, you would need to use these notes because there is no “B” in Ab minor.

    Ab
    Bb
    Cb
    Db
    Eb
    Fb
    Gb
    Ab

    That’s why it’s easier to use G# minor:

    G#
    A#
    B
    C#
    D#
    E
    F#
    G#

    If you can put the right chords to either, then you’ll be the 9th person and we’ll have 2 more left…

    Reply

    29 chawk

    Ab minor

    Ab minor 7
    Bb half dim7
    C major7
    Db minor7
    Eb minor7
    F major
    G dominant
    Ab

    Reply

    30 chawk

    G# minor

    G# minor7
    A# half diminished7
    B major 7
    C# minor7
    D# minor7
    D# major7
    E dominant7

    Reply

    31 Jermaine

    Here’s a good tip to remember since Chawk used Abminor instead of G# minor.

    Chawk (see above), Ab minor can be used but it’s more common to see G# minor (just like it’s more common to see Ab major rather than G# major). So that’s where the other side of the black keys (the “sharp” names) get used — usually in the minor keys.

    But just remember. Relative minor and relative majors share the same key signature.

    So if B is the relative major and it has 5 sharps, then the relative minor must be G# because the key of Ab minor wouldn’t have 5 sharps. In order to use Ab minor, then the relative major would have to be Cb major. Cb major has 7 flats (pretty much every key is flat).

    That’s why you get a flat on every tone of the Ab minor scale I posted up there:
    Ab
    Bb
    Cb
    Db
    Eb
    Fb
    Gb
    Ab

    So if the major key is sharp, then the minor key is sharp.

    Reply

    32 chawk

    G# minor

    G# minor7
    A# half diminished7
    B major 7
    C# minor7
    D# minor7
    E major 7
    F# dominant7

    Reply

    33 chawk

    this stuff is hard but i’m learning alot

    Reply

    34 Jermaine

    @chawk. That is correct. YOu are #9

    This way is more correct. It may have been informally that way when written 7 years ago but in the rewrite, everything will be strictly this way. Again, in playing by ear, we tend to be very relaxed calling Ab, G# and vise versa. But on a hardcore music theory test, you’d get in trouble :).

    Thanks,
    JG

    Reply

    35 chawk

    I see really there is no ab minor, and I don’t see it on the circle of fifth chart. So I guess that’s why it would be called g# minor

    Reply

    36 Jermaine

    technically, there is Chawk but it’s just more common to see G# minor and Ab major rather than the opposite.

    Reply

    37 Eresmas

    Thanks JG for the lesson. Things are now starting to make sense. I have been struggling with this for some time but now I am beginning to get it slowly.

    Reply

    38 Eresmas

    Hey thanks JG for the lesson. I have been strugling with this a lot but i think now things are starting to make sense. I am slowly grasping.
    Could the C#MINOR be this?
    1 C#minor7
    2 D#half-diminished7
    3 Emajor7
    4 F#minor7
    5 G#minor7
    6 Amajor7
    7 Bdominant7
    8 C#minor7

    Reply

    39 Jermaine

    @Eresmas: You’re right on the money! You’re #10

    So including my example minor key and the 10 comments, we’re waiting for just one more…

    (The hardest part is figuring out what key is left) … :)

    Reply

    40 Jermaine

    Somebody? Anybody? One more…

    Reply

    41 Jennifer

    Eb Minor

    Eb minor 7

    F half dim 7
    F# major7
    Ab minor7
    Bb minor7
    B major7
    C# dominant7

    Reply

    42 Jennifer

    Eb minor

    Eb minor7
    Gb half dim7
    F# major7
    Ab minor 7
    Bb minor7
    B major7
    Db dominant7

    Reply

    43 Jennifer

    Eb minor

    One more time

    Eb minor7
    F half dim7
    Gb major7
    Ab minor7
    Bb minor7
    B major7
    Db dominant7

    Reply

    44 Jermaine

    @Jennifer… try these notes:

    Eb
    F
    Gb
    Ab
    Bb
    Cb
    Db
    Eb

    Reply

    45 Jennifer

    Eb minor

    Eb minor 7
    F half diminish7
    Gb major7
    Ab minor7
    Bb minor7
    Cb major7
    Db dominant7

    Reply

    46 Chris

    D# minor

    D# minor7
    E# half-dim 7
    F# major 7
    G# minor 7
    A# minor 7
    B major 7
    C# dom 7
    D# maj 7

    Did i make it in time?

    Reply

    47 Jermaine

    @jennifer: Congrats you’re the last person to make it!

    @Chris: sorry, you were one person too late :(. There’s always next time so stay tuned.

    Reply

    48 Jermaine

    Winner is Freddy, answer #8

    (see live video of how winner was picked: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/695577 )

    Reply

    49 Eresmas

    Hey man, thanks, at least i got right. That’s what matters most to me.

    Reply

    50 MS

    Jermaine, I saw this yesterday and spent most of the afternoon writing out all the 7th chords (symbols and notes) in both Major and Minor scales. That’s a total of 30! It is much too late to submit, but the exercise was an excellent learning tool. Now I will practise them on the keyboard until I attain some level of proficiency. Thanks for the stimulation. Guess the time that I spend on the computer could be better used at the keyboard, but I find the postings enlightening, despite the fact that I have the book. God Bless!

    Reply

    51 Hamish

    You could try this out:

    http://www.theguitarmaster.co.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=interactive-circle-fifths

    It helped me get to grips with the theory and is great for helping me to practice modes, key changes and improv when I’m practicing. It’s an awesome tool!

    Reply

    52 smith

    hello?………………………..
    please how can i get some free note based on f-keys.cos am in short of the note. i just want to know about keyboard. thanks………

    Reply

    53 smith

    it’s good and nice.

    Reply

    54 bonnie deason

    i,m a beginner, i would like to know , when you are using both hands and middle c is to be used both at the same time , how is that done? do i move to another octive? thank you bonnie

    Reply

    55 Jermaine

    @Bonnie: If the chord specifically calls for them to be connected that close, you just choose which hand you want to play the note with. A lot of things happen like this, especially when you are playing two smaller chords right together. Like if you played C+E+G (c major) on your left hand and G+B+D (g major) on your right hand, the G’s would meet. You just either choose your left or right hand to play it. Moving up an octave might not work because you’ll get a totally different sound. And you don’t want G twice… just once unless stylistically, you’re trying to emphasize G or something. Get it?

    Reply

    56 Ross

    Could you do a lesson on the chords of the harmonic minor scale…..?????? I know they aren’t used in gospel music much but some in your audience have a wide range of taste and I personally would benefit from you breaking that down in the really plain spoken but insightful style of yours…..You are a good teacher….thats a gift from heaven…

    Reply

    57 Jermaine Griggs
    58 Obinna Peter

    Just awesome Jermaine, what you’re doing up here… Thanks alot. Please i would like to ask this question that has been torturing me for a while here. What does this means for example: Eb2? Each time i see it i’d pause for awhile. I know recently u taught about sus2 & sus4 which I really understood v-well. But, honestly speaking I don’t know what Eb2 means, pls can u explain Sir? Thanks

    Reply

    59 Jermaine Griggs

    Obinna,

    The quickest response to a question in hearandplay history… :-)

    I answered it with today’s blog post:

    http://www.hearandplay.com/main/ask-jermaine-what-are-major-2-chords

    Reply

    60 custom metal stampings

    Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my blog thus i came to “return the choose”.I’m attempting to find issues to enhance my web site!I assume its ok to make use of a few of your ideas!!

    Reply

    61 Johan van Eenennaam

    I’ve send you a file by mail today.

    Reply

    62 Martial Arts You Can Teach Yourself

    So how do choose, and how do you know if something is good.
    What most people are not aware of is the fact that you don t have to
    travel to the top of a mountain in a out of the way area to seek out first-rate instruction.
    Prior to now locating a style to train underneath a excellent coach could be moderately
    challenging.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    { 4 trackbacks }

    Previous post:

    Next post: