What Are The Best Chords in The Minor Scale

What Are The Best Chords in The Minor Scale? (Quick Facts)

What are the best chords in the minor scale? If you’ve ever dabbled in music theory or simply played around with your guitar, you might have asked yourself this question. As you dive deeper into the world of minor scales, it’s crucial to understand the chords that create the unique and emotional sound of this mysterious pathway in music.

In this article, we’ll explore the best chords in the natural minor scale, and throughout this journey, you’ll discover how to use them effectively in your own compositions.

The natural minor scale is composed of seven unique chords: i (minor), ii° (diminished), ♭III (major), iv (minor), v (minor), ♭VI (major), and ♭VII (major). These chords work together to establish the characteristic sound and harmony of the minor scale.

By identifying and mastering the best chords in this scale, you can elevate your songwriting skills to a whole new level.

Now, although you might argue that each chord has its own importance, we handpicked the top 3 chords which are essential in creating the true essence of the minor scale.

Our selection criteria are based on their prominence in numerous compositions and their impact on evoking emotions. So let’s break it down:

Key Takeaways

  • i (minor) – This is the main chord that defines the minor scale’s atmosphere.
  • iv (minor) – Adds a sense of melancholy to your music.
  • v (minor) – An excellent choice for creating tension and suspense in your compositions.

Understanding the Minor Scale

Natural Minor Scale

The minor scale is a foundational element in Western music, responsible for creating melodies, riffs, and chord progressions. To understand the best chords in the minor scale, you first need to grasp the concept of the natural minor scale. Also known as the Aeolian mode, it has a distinct formula and pattern that define its intervals.

Here is the formula for the natural minor scale: one whole step, one half step, one whole step, one whole step, one half step, one whole step, and one whole step.

For example, when starting with note A, the natural minor scale looks like this:

  • A (whole) B (half) C (whole) D (whole) E (half) F (whole) G (whole) A

The following chords are derived from this natural minor scale:

  • i (minor)
  • ii˚ (diminished)
  • bIII (major)
  • iv (minor)
  • v (minor)
  • bVI (major)
  • bVII (major)

Harmonic Minor Scale

Another scale often used in Western music is the harmonic minor scale. The harmonic minor scale has a slightly different formula than the natural minor scale; here, we raise the seventh note by a half step, creating a stronger sense of resolution.

This is the formula for the harmonic minor scale: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole+half, half.

Using the same example with the note A, the harmonic minor scale would look like this:

  • A (whole) B (half) C (whole) D (whole) E (half) F (whole+half) G# (half) A

Both the natural and harmonic minor scales are essential for understanding the best chords in the minor scale. As you practice these scales and their respective chords, you’ll be able to create a variety of harmonies and progressions to enhance your music.

Remember, developing a strong foundation in these scales will open up new possibilities in your songwriting and musicianship. Good luck on your journey to mastering the minor scale!

Relationship Between Major and Minor Scales

The relationship between major and minor scales is crucial to understanding music theory, and it helps you appreciate the beautiful blend of emotions in songs. Let’s explore their connection and how they influence each other.

To begin, we’ll look at the relative minor concept. Every major scale has a relative minor scale that shares the same key signature – this means they have the same notes but start from different roots. For example, the G major scale is the relative major of the E minor scale and vice versa1. This relative relationship holds true in all keys.

The primary difference between major and minor scales lies in the third scale degree; the major scale has a major third, while the minor scale never includes it2. With these differences, a distinct emotional contrast arises between the two. Whereas major scales tend to convey happiness or brightness, minor scales evoke sadness or darkness.

Get familiar with the entities related to minor scales:

  • Major scale
  • Relative minor
  • Minor key
  • Major 2nd
  • Minor 3rd
  • Perfect 4th
  • Perfect 5th
  • Minor 6th
  • Minor 7th

Here’s a comparison of chords built from natural minor scales, which follow a sequence of whole (W) and half (H) steps3:

Scale DegreeChord Quality

In summary, the relationship between major and minor scales provides a remarkable interplay in music, offering diverse emotional palettes for composers and musicians. As you delve deeper into the world of music, continue to explore and admire the connections between these scales and the emotional nuances they bring to life.


  1. dummies.com
  2. masterclass.com
  3. study-guitar.com

Chords in the Minor Scale

In this section, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of chords in the minor scale and how they create rich and unique sounds in your music. We will focus on three different types of chords: minor, diminished, and major chords.

Minor Chords

Minor chords are the most common chords found within the natural minor scale. As their name suggests, these chords have a unique, slightly melancholic sound that lends them a certain emotional weight. The three primary minor chords in a natural minor scale are i (minor), iv (minor), and v (minor). For example, in the A minor scale, these chords would be:

  • A minor (A – C – E): i
  • D minor (D – F – A): iv
  • E minor (E – G – B): v

To highlight these chords and their distinctive sound, try playing them one after another on your instrument of choice. Experimenting with these triad chords will give you a better understanding of their unique characteristics and how they can enhance your compositions.

Diminished Chords

Chords produced through the natural minor scale also include a single diminished chord. This chord has a tense or unsettling sound, which can bring an air of mystery or surprise to your music. In a minor scale, the diminished chord is ii˚. For reference, in the A minor scale, the diminished chord is B diminished (B – D – F).

Make note, however, that diminished chords are less common than minor and major chords, but don’t hesitate to use them to add depth and intrigue to your compositions.

Major Chords

In the context of the minor scale, three major chords appear. The sound produced by these chords contrasts with the minor chords, offering a brighter and uplifting feel. Major chords found in a natural minor scale are bIII (major), bVI (major), and bVII (major).

Using the A minor scale as an example, these chords are:

  • C major (C – E – G): bIII
  • F major (F – A – C): bVI
  • G major (G – B – D): bVII

Integrating these major chords with the minor and diminished chords we covered will give your compositions versatility and emotional depth.

Here’s a table summarizing the chords in the A minor scale and their emotional characteristics:

A minorA – C – EMinorMelancholic
B diminishedB – D – FDiminishedTense/Mysterious
C majorC – E – GMajorBright/Uplifting
D minorD – F – AMinorMelancholic
E minorE – G – BMinorMelancholic
F majorF – A – CMajorBright/Uplifting
G majorG – B – DMajorBright/Uplifting

Keep this information at hand as you explore different chord combinations in the minor scale. Remember, experimenting with minor, diminished, and major chords will allow you to create emotionally rich and diverse compositions. Good luck!

Building Chords in Minor Keys

When you’re writing music in a minor key, it’s crucial to understand how to build chords that align with the minor scale. We’ll dive into the process by creating triads and four-note extended chords based on the natural minor scale.

Along the way, we’ll look at helpful tips and examples, ensuring your minor key compositions sound solid.


Triads are simply three-note chords built from stacking thirds on top of one another. In the context of a minor scale, the basic chord formula involves root, minor third, and perfect fifth. To create triads in the A minor scale, you should first know the scale’s notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

Use this simple table to build chords using the A natural minor scale:


Tip: Observe the fretboard diagram for a visual aid in constructing these chords on the guitar.

Now, let’s list down some popular minor chord progressions:

  1. Am – G – F – E
  2. C – G – Am – F
  3. Am – Em – G – D

Four Note Extended Chords

Expanding upon triads, four-note extended chords enrich your music by incorporating additional elements like 7ths or 9ths. When building extended chords in minor keys, the process remains the same: stacking thirds.

Here’s a helpful chord formula for creating four-note extended chords in the A minor scale:

IAm7A-C-E-Gminor seventh
IIBØ7B-D-F-Ahalf-diminished seventh
IIICMaj7C-E-G-Bmajor seventh
IVDm7D-F-A-Cminor seventh
VEm7E-G-B-Dminor seventh
VIFMaj7F-A-C-Emajor seventh
VIIG7G-B-D-Fdominant seventh

Experiment with these four-note extended chords to create more sophisticated chord progressions:

  1. Am7 – FMaj7 – G7 – FMaj7
  2. Dm7 – G7 – CMaj7 – Em7

Remember: The key to mastering chord building in minor keys lies in understanding the underlying scale, stacking thirds, and practicing various chord progressions. With time and dedication, your minor key compositions will become richer and more engaging.

Chord Progressions in the Minor Scale

Common Progressions

In the world of music theory, chord progressions are a vital aspect that can bring life and emotion to a piece. Understanding the basics of chord progressions in the minor scale can significantly elevate your songwriting skills. Some common progressions include:

  • i – iv – v (Amin – Dmin – Emin)
  • i – IV – V (Amin – Dmaj – Emaj)
  • i – VI – III – VII (Amin – Fmaj – Cmaj – Gmaj)

These progressions are frequently used in various genres, giving you a strong foundation for crafting your tunes.

Roman Numerals

When discussing chord progressions, it can be helpful to represent each chord using Roman numerals. This helps make the relationships between chords in different keys more apparent. Here’s a breakdown of the chords in the key of A minor:

Chord DegreeChord SymbolFull NameAlternate SymbolAlternate Full Name
IAmA minorAm7A minor seventh
ii°BdimB diminishedBm7♭5B minor seventh flat fifth
IIICC majorCmaj7C major seventh
ivDmD minorDm7D minor seventh
vEmE minorEm7E minor seventh
VIFF majorFmaj7F major seventh
VIIGG majorGmaj7G major seventh

Using Extended Chords

To add some extra flavor to your chord progressions, why not include four-note extended chords? You can create a more sophisticated and intriguing sound by dabbling with these chords.

Here’s a simple table to show you how extended chords can be used to enrich your harmony:

Roman NumeralTriad ChordExtended Chord

Incorporate these variations into your progressions, and you’ll soon notice the depth and emotion they can bring to your music. Now it’s time for you to dive into the world of minor scale chord progressions and explore your creative potential!

Applying Minor Scale Chords on Piano

Piano Keyboard

When you’re exploring the best chords in the minor scale, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the piano keyboard. Don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of it in no time. To begin with, knowing the key signature is crucial, as it determines the number of sharps or flats in a given musical scale. In a minor scale, you’ll find natural, harmonic, and melodic variations, each with its unique pattern of sharps and flats.

Here’s a list of common minor scales and their key signatures:

  • A Minor (no sharps or flats)
  • B Minor (2 sharps)
  • C Minor (3 flats)
  • D Minor (1 flat)
  • E Minor (1 sharp)
  • F Minor (4 flats)
  • G Minor (2 flats)

For example, let’s take the key of A Minor. Since there are no sharps or flats, the chords you can create include A minor (vi), D minor (iv), and E minor (v). To make beautiful and emotional music, experiment with different chord combinations and progressions rooted in these harmonic foundations.

Piano for All

If you’re new to playing the piano and eager to explore the vast potential of minor scale chords, consider trying out a comprehensive course like Piano for All. Designed for beginners, this program walks you through various techniques and musical concepts, allowing you to unleash your creativity and ultimately master piano playing in no time.

With the guidance of Piano for All, you’ll discover how to:

  • Understand the layout of the piano keyboard
  • Develop proper hand placement and fingering techniques
  • Recognize sharps and flats in various key signatures
  • Construct and progress through different minor chord combinations

So go ahead, dive into the world of Minor Scale Chords on the piano, and remember to practice, experiment with progressions, and ultimately, enjoy the beautiful music you create!

Creating Music with Minor Scale Chords

Minor scale chords can bring depth and emotion to your music. When used effectively, they can evoke powerful feelings and create memorable melodies, riffs, and more. In this section, we’ll explore how you can incorporate minor scale chords in different musical genres, from pop to more niche styles.


In crafting melodies, incorporating minor scale chords is an effective way to add emotional depth. For example, let’s consider the chords that can be built from the natural minor scale. Your main chords might include the natural minor key’s tonic, subdominant, and dominant.

However, don’t hesitate to experiment with different combinations and chord progressions to create unique musical expressions.

Some tips for creating captivating melodies with minor scale chords:

  • Start with a simple chord progression, then add embellishments and variations.
  • Play with rhythms to create tension and release.
  • Use interval jumps or leaps in your melodies for added interest.
  • Try switching between major and minor chords to bring contrast to your pieces.


When it comes to riffs, minor scale chords can offer a fresh and distinct sound. Guitarists tend to build riffs around power chords or triads, taking advantage of the minor scale’s inherent dissonance and tonal qualities. With minor scale riffs, you can create memorable and driving hooks that’ll easily stick in listeners’ heads.

Here are some suggestions for writing riffs using minor scale chords:

  • Focus on repeated patterns or motifs for a strong identity.
  • Experiment with different chord inversions.
  • Combine palm-muting, slides, and bends to add texture and dynamics.
  • Remember to keep it catchy and not overly complex.

In Different Musical Genres

Minor scale chords aren’t exclusive to any one genre – they can be found across various styles, from pop to jazz, blues, rock, and more. Each genre may have its unique way of incorporating minor chords, but here’s a rough guide on how you might use them:

GenreChords by KeyCommon Minor Scale Use
PopNatural Minor KeysEmotional ballads, dark themes, and catchy hooks
JazzMelodic and Harmonic MinorComplex harmonies and dissonance, improvisation
BluesNatural and Harmonic MinorSlow blues tunes, moody atmospheres
RockNatural and Harmonic MinorMelodic hard rock, alternative rock, power ballads

When writing music in these genres, remember that it’s essential to listen to examples and study how your favorite artists utilize minor scale chords. By doing so, you’ll gather inspiration and ideas for your own unique creations.

To summarize, experimenting with minor scale chords in your melodies, riffs, and various genres can significantly enhance your music’s depth, emotion, and memorability. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and always aim to create something that resonates with your audience.

Learn More About Minor Scale Chords

Did you know that the minor scale consists of several chords that you can incorporate into your music composition? By understanding the chords in a minor scale, you will expand your knowledge in creating diverse and captivating melodies, so let’s dive in.

Natural minor scales have chords associated with every note. In the A minor scale, the chords are as follows:

  • A: Am (A, C, E)
  • B: B° (B, D, F)
  • C: C major (C, E, G)
  • D: Dm (D, F, A)
  • E: Em (E, G, B)
  • F: F major (F, A, C)
  • G: G major (G, B, D)

Minor scale chords use specific patterns, and their shapes are the same whether playing in major or minor scales, just ordered differently. To master these, you may want to consider attending a masterclass to get the theory and practical skills right.

Higher and lower pitches play a big role in creating interesting melodies that catch the listener’s attention. Utilizing chords from a minor scale effectively can create the perfect mix between high and low notes, drawing your audience into an emotional journey through your music composition.

Here’s a list of helpful tips when working with minor scale chords:

  • Understand the patterns and harmonies in the chords.
  • Practice in different keys.
  • Experiment with chord progressions.
  • Listen to great compositions that feature minor scale chords.

In conclusion, learning about and practicing the chords in a minor scale will open up a whole new world of possibilities for your music composition process! Remember, the key to success is consistency and practice. So grab your instrument and start experimenting with those minor scale chords!

Conclusion: What Are The Best Chords in The Minor Scale?

Ultimately, the best chords in the minor scale can be subjective and vary depending on the context or style. However, some popular choices include:

  • i (minor)
  • iv (minor)
  • v (minor)
  • bIII (major)
  • bVI (major)
  • bVII (major)

You might wonder, “Which chords should I use in my composition?” Remember, experimenting with these chords and finding the right combination is the key to creating an engaging and emotive sound.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new chord progressions—you might just find a gem! So go ahead, apply what you’ve learned from this article, and make some fantastic music that resonates with your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common minor chord progressions?

Common minor chord progressions include i-iv-v, i-vi-iii-iv, ii-iv-i, and i-bVII-bVI. These progressions often serve as the backbone for various genres of music, such as rock, jazz, and pop.

How do you form chords in a minor scale?

To form chords in a minor scale, you can harmonize the scale by selecting specific notes from a given minor scale. For example, in the natural minor scale, you’ll find the following chords: i (minor), ii˚ (diminished), bIII (major), iv (minor), v (minor), bVI (major), and bVII (major). The process of harmonizing a minor scale to create chords can be learned here.

Which chords are used in minor scale songs?

Songs written in minor scales usually feature a mix of minor, major, and diminished chords, depending on the specific minor scale being used. The most common chords used in minor scale songs are the i, iv, and v chords. However, other chords can also be used to create unique and interesting progressions.

How do minor chords differ on piano and guitar?

When playing minor chords on a piano, you simply press specific combinations of keys to form the desired chord. On the guitar, you’ll need to learn specific chord shapes for each minor chord and use the correct fingering for each. While the process of forming minor chords on each instrument varies, the underlying harmonic structure remains the same.

What is the relationship between minor chords and their relative major chords?

Relative minor and major chords share the same key signature, meaning they contain the same notes but have different root notes. For example, the key of A minor has the same key signature as C major, which means that their scales use the same notes. The relationship between minor and major chords can be helpful in understanding chord progressions and songwriting.

Which minor chords create the happiest sound?

While minor chords are generally considered to have a sadder or darker quality, some minor chords might create a comparatively happier sound. This perception might change depending on the progression and context in which the minor chords are used. Experimenting with different combinations of minor chords can lead to varying degrees of happiness or sadness within your music.

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