• Major and Minor Chords – “If You Know Your Major, You Know Your Minor” (Part 2)

    in Chords & Progressions,Scales,Theory

    major and minor chords photo

    To pick up where we left off yesterday, I’d like to talk about the connection between major and minor chords.

    From yesterday‘s post, you now realize that you can form any minor scale by knowing the relative major scale it’s connected to. In other words, you can play the “A minor” scale if you already know the notes of the “C major” scale because they’re related.

    C major and A minor share the same notes.

    They share the same number of sharps and flats in their scales (in this case, ZERO).

    And, they share the same CHORDS!

    Major and Minor Chords Explored

    What if I told you that playing minor chords was as easy as the trick we used to learn minor scales?

    Recall that in order to turn any major scale into its relative minor scale, you simply go to the 6th tone and play the same exact notes now starting and ending on that tone.

    For example, take the C major scale:
    major and minor chords C major

    C D E F G A B C.

    If you turn each tone into a number (C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, F is 4, G is 5, A is 6, B is 7), you’ll quickly discover “A” is the 6th tone.

    Simply play these same notes (don’t change a thing!) starting and ending on A and you’ve got yourself an “A minor” scale.
    major and minor chords A minor

    We call C major and A minor relative keys.

    C is the relative major of A minor.

    A minor is the relative minor of C major.

    Major and Minor Chord Conversions

    Chords work the same way.

    Take a C major chord:
    major and minor chords C major

    Its notes are: C, E, G.

    To convert this chord into its relative minor (that is, “A minor”), simply add the “6th” tone to the bottom of the chord.
    major and minor chords A minor

    …and that’s called an “A minor 7” chord.

    Now, just in case you’re not wanting to play a fancy “A minor 7” and just want to play the basic “A minor” triad, drop the highest note (G) and you’ve got yourself a regular A minor triad:

    a minor triad

    Let’s apply this principle to another key.

    In the key of F, you’d take an F major chord:
    major and minor chords F major

    Identify the 6th tone, which is D, and simply place that on the bottom:
    major and minor chords D minor

    This gives us a D minor 7 chord.

    If you’re only after a 3-fingered D minor triad, drop the highest note:

    major and minor chords D minor

    There you have it… a simple and easy way to convert any major chord into a minor chord.

    Because, as I always say – “If you know your major, you know your minor!”

    Major and Minor Chords – Bonus

    Here are the relationships between all the other major and minor scales:

    C major – A minor
    F major – D minor
    Bb major – G minor
    Eb major – C minor
    Ab major – F minor
    Db major – Bb minor
    Gb major – Eb minor
    B major – G# minor
    E major – C# minor
    A major – F# minor
    D major – B minor
    G major – E minor

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Comments on this entry are closed.

    Previous post:

    Next post: