• # There’s always a “major” in a “minor”… and a “minor” in a “major!”

Today, I want to share a concept that a lot of beginners still don’t get.

There’s not much difference in playing major and minor chords when you think the way I think.

In fact, as the title loudly declares: There’s a major chord in every minor chord and a minor chord in every major chord.

Sure, this isn’t apparent in smaller triads, but it’s clear in seventh chords and up, when carefully analyzed.

First, let me start this discussion by showing you how easy it is to play a minor scale… IF you know your major scale.

Take this two octave C major scale: C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C.

There’s a minor scale in this scale and if you’ve been with me a while, you know exactly where it is.

Simple rule: Take the 6th tone of any MAJOR scale and play the same notes you’d normally play for that major scale — but simply starting and ending on the 6th tone.

What’s the 6th tone of C? Answer is “A.”

That means literally play the same notes of a C major scale starting and ending on A. That’s it. Don’t make it harder than it is. Don’t overanalyze. Play C major from A to A and you’ve got yourself an “A minor” scale.

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C.

The same goes for chords too.

If the “A minor” scale contains the notes of the C major scale, what about their respective chords?

Yup.

They do too.

Here’s an A minor 7 chord: A + C + E + G

Do you see the C major chord there?

A + “C + E + G”

So we can make a rule out of this too.

Minor 7 chords can be created by playing any major chord with the 6th tone of that major chord’s scale as the bass note. In this case, we played C major with A as the lowest bass note. Altogether, it gave us an A minor 7 chord.

You can do this with all your major scales and their 6th tones. The 6th tone of F major is D so if you play an F major chord over D, you’ll have a D minor 7.

The 6th tone of G major is E so if you play a G major chord over E bass, you’ll have an E minor chord.

Now let’s look at a C major 7 chord: C + E + G + B

Do you see the minor chord in there?

I do.

C + E + G + B

There’s an E minor chord inside the C major 7 chord.

And understanding this lets you be very flexible with your major 7, major 9, and other extended chords..

For example, you can play C in your left hand and pick from any of these “minor” chord options in your right hand:

All three of these give you a C major 7 chord.

So the next time you feel the temptation to confuse yourself over major and minor chords, remember that they need each other. There’s one in the other.

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#### Jermaine Griggs

Founder at HearandPlay.com
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!

#### Latest posts by Jermaine Griggs (see all)

1 levi

thank you for taking the time to send me the free cds i have learned a lot and getting there

2 Jesse

Great points, Jermaine! I don’t think I’d ever really thought through all that. Thanks for explaining it all so clearly!

3 Jonathan

Thanks Jermaine! What a revelation!

4 Audrey

Thank you so much for the tips on majors and minors but how can I use them to play and sing any song? That is what I really would like to do or even play a song that someone else is singing.

God bless you richly.

5 Snippetsam

Am very to learn all these from you, God bless u i need more,thanks.

6 Tony

Kind of off topic, but still related in inversions… I find that using one’s ear is indispensable when given the chords to a song. I’m find that root forms are often not used and an inversion used depends on the progression its used in. My ear is at least good enough to know if the progression doesn’t sound smooth. When it doesn’t, I start looking for the inversion that causes the least movement in my had to create the next cord, as well as the one that truly sounds like a smoother transition. One of my biggest breakthroughs was learning about inversions, because it isn’t a topic not touched on very often when it comes to guitar, but a “must know” when it comes to piano!

7 Mary Nguyen

Thank you for great lesson

8 Mary Nguyen

Could you please send me a major, minor. seventh, and etc chord charts.

Thanks

9 Kelvin Godwin

I must confess that am tremendously greatful and extremely inspired by your updates. You’re indeed a source of inspiration. Thanks a lot. God bless You.

10 emmanuel

Thank you very much for this great update Mr. Griggs, and God bless you.

11 Oriokot

hi Jermaine this is so powerful thanks a lot.

this is really eye opening information

13 bernard

i really apppreciate u,u’ve been a lot help to me.since i started using this site.

14 amy

pretty hard to understand still for me.

15 Dave

Thank you for this I like this It helps :)

16 Richarsd

Thanks a lot for all your efforts but can i please receive the 1st lessons that I missed
coz i really want to to have it going
thanks.

17 Seth

Thanks Griggs for everything. God bless you.

18 GG

Jermaine, as I said in my recent email to you, you are a fantastic teacher and so very generous with sharing your knowledge. You have already taught me many things that you just don’t learn from many piano teachers. You also are a great motivator and what you do is really making a difference in my learning! You make it exciting and “doable” if one will just put in the practice and effort. Thank you and God bless you.
GG

19 Ora States

Wow! This article was an “epiphany” for me! As a beginner, I struggled with understanding major/minor extended chords with inversions in the circle of fourths. GOT IT!! You just made my practice time less “tedious” and more enjoyable and productive. Thanks so much Jermaine. You are truly a God sent and a gem for beginners!!!

20 theoce

Wow I rly learnt a lot dats great nd awesme

21 Ivone Gava

Thanks

22 Paula E. Ruth

I coming along with practice. I also got alot out of this update. I want to study my cue cards right now. GOD and I have come a long way with bringing out the gift that you are watering the seed planted along time ago. Thank-You very much ear doctor. We’re learning something new every time I sit at the piano.

23 Sharon

Thank you for showing another way to look things.
These kind of lessons are very helpful to me and much appreciated .

24 solomon king

hi , thanks mr griggs, u are one of the best music tuitors in the world, happy new year and may u see happiness in this world and the next world, AMEN

25 Dennis Joyner

Wow, never knew that, great lesson,
thanks Jermaine!!!

26 Errol

PRAISE THE LORD – JESUS CHRIST!
GREETINGS TO YOU – JERMAINE,
IN THE MAJESTIC & ALMIGHTY NAME OF JESUS,

Allow me also to R E C I P R O C A T E.. …the same:
Matt 10:42 – And whoever gives to one of
these little ones [in rank or influence] even a
cup of cold water
because
he is My Disciple, – (Being God’s S P O K E N Calling on my Life – w.e.f. 1-11-1995!)
surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward.
AMEN! YES, ALLELUIA!

Thank you very much for this awesome ‘KEY’ Lesson to produce a minor scale from a major scale + major in minor & vice versa!
Thank you – again, for this… …”W O W”!