Lessons > Chord Theory > Minor Chords

Minor Chords

From the previous lesson on the major triad you should already know that all chords have a formula. The formula for a minor chord is I - bIII - V. This means that a minor chord uses the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale, but the 3rd note is flatted (lowered by one semitone). Below you will see the C major scale with the 3rd note flatted:

C   D   Eb   F   G   A   B   C
1       b3       5            

The 1st, flatted 3rd and 5th notes will form the basic minor triad (C, Eb and G). Remember - Eb can also be called D#. If this is confusing you may need to learn more about the chromatic scale. Below is the formation of the C minor chord:

More Minor Chords →

Now that we know the formula for a minor chord we can use this information to work out what notes are in a minor chord of any given key. Below you will see a table that has the major scale written out in all 12 keys. Make sure you flatten the 3rd note each time!

Question - What notes are in an F minor chord? Answer

Key I II III IV V VI VII Octave
A A B C# D E F# G# A
A# A# C D D# F G A A#
B B C# D# E F# G# A# B
C C D E F G A B C
C# C# D# F F# G# A# C C#
D D E F# G A B C# D
D# D# F G G# A# C D D#
E E F# G# A B C# D# E
F F G A A# C D E F
F# F# G# A# B C# D# F F#
G G A B C D E F# G
G# G# A# C C# D# F G G#

Next lesson →