Chords In The Key Of A Minor

The key of a minor is easily the most simple minor key for pianists to master. The simple reason why is that there are no sharps or flats in this key signature. I want to break down all of the chords, scales, and progressions in the key of a minor in the most simple way for you.

Note: I use a lower case a for “a minor” because in music theory you always leave minor keys lower case and capitalize major keys.

If you’re looking for: popular a minor chord progressions, what the notes are in a minor, the scale of a minor, what the key looks like or the proper fingering of an a minor scale, you came to the right place. My goal with this is to make this the most in-depth guide there currently is for a minor.

Notes Of Natural a minor Scale

The notes are as followed: A B C D E F G A. As you can see, you simply start on A and just walk your way up the white notes. This is arguably the easiest minor scale to play on the piano as the fingering is the most commonly used for piano scales.

I will break down exactly how to play the scale further into this article as I want to touch on the chords first.

The simplest way to look at chords for a minor are as followed: minor, diminished, Major, Major, minor, minor, Major. So what does this leave us with and really mean?

If you’re looking to build finger strength, here are my favorite exercises.

Before showing a chart of the notes, I want to break down what the notes are first.

The notes listed after the chords are the triad versions and the 7’ths.

Note: when you see flat5 or sharp5, that simply means to either go down half a step or to go up half a step. For flats, you go down half a step and for sharps you go up half a step.

If you ever see dominant 7, that means you simply flat the 7 or go down a half a step on the 7 of the chord. If you have C Major Dom7 that would be: C E G Bflat.

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C Dominant 7th
  • i- a minor, a minor 7: A C E, A C E G
  • iidim- b diminished, b diminished 7 flat 5: B D F, B D F A
  • III- C Major, C Major 7: C E G, C E G B
  • iv- d minor, d minor 7: D F A, D F A C
  • v- e minor, e minor 7: E G B, E G B D
  • VI- F Major, F Major 7: F A C, F A C E
  • VII- G Major, G Major Dom 7: G B D, G B D F

As you can see, the Dom 7 flats the F which would normal be F sharp in a G major 7 chord.

The A Minor Piano Chord Chart

Here is what the notes will look like on your keyboards. This is a simple way to break down which notes you are playing.

Chord Progressions In a Natural minor

If you’re someone who enjoys improvising and writing their own songs, but your theory is limited here’s a great list of awesome chord progressions you can play with.

  • i, VI, III, VII (a minor, F Major, C Major, G Major)
  • iv, III, i, VII (d minor, C Major, a minor, G Major)
  • i, III, VII ( a minor, C Major, G Major)
  • i, VIIDom7, VI, III ( a minor, G Major Dom7, F Major, C Major)
  • i, iv, III, v ( a minor, d minor, C Major, e minor)
  • VI, i, III, VII ( F Major, a minor, C Major, G Major)
  • i, iv, VII Dom7 ( a minor, d minor, G Major Dom 7)
  • iidim flat5, i7, VII Dom7 ( bdim flat 5, a minor 7, G Major 7)
  • i, VII, III, VI ( a minor, G Major, C Major, F Major)
  • i, iv, III ( a minor, d minor, C Major)

While these are not all of the chord progressions, these are some amazing progressions that should make songwriting easier for you. I’ve used all of these and a lot of these have been used in famous songs. Take variations of these an experiment.

The beauty of playing A minor chord progressions is that most of the chords are somewhat easy to play and master. Play with with variations and adding the 7’th in on certain chords.

Keep in mind that you can get crazy and use suspensions at your own liking. I personally put suspensions in a ton of the chords that I play and I rarely play just triads.

Definitely. This key is popular as it is used in many big songs today and in the history of music. This is a key that you will use countless times when it comes to writing songs and learning other musicians songs.

How To Write Melodies In a minor

A big part of writing melodies is knowing the key that you’re in. Once you know all of the notes that consist, you can start to learn additional scales and eventually start “breaking the rules.”

I recommend to sit down at the piano and to play one of the chord progressions I mentioned above. If you’re a singer, you can start to sing notes over the chords. The fun part here is that you can start to figure out the notes you’re singing by playing them on the piano with your right hand.

If you’re not much for singing, you can use your right hand to start playing notes and messing with different rhythms. Often times the rhythm of the notes plays a huge part in your melody. Try and stick to the notes that are in the A minor scale as these will make it easier to learn. You also don’t need to be too complex until you have a good grasp on what you’re doing.

Conclusion

I hope this guide on the key of a minor gave you a good look into some good chords in A minor to use as well as a better idea overall. If you enjoyed this, let me know in the comment section below.

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