• # 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!

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