Music Theory #5 – Minor Triads

Here are the answers for major triads from the last lesson. Make sure you’ve used these sounds before you try to learn about the next chord, otherwise you will be full of knowledge but not full of music.

MINOR TRIADS are built with three notes just like the major triads. Most people simply call them MINOR CHORDS. They have a somewhat sorrowful quality to them with a bit of tension. The note that makes up the middle of the triad vibrates the air such that it bounces in conflict with the air from the other two notes. To learn more about the science of acoustics we will later study the HARMONIC SERIES.

To build a minor triad you again reference the major scale that starts with the same letter as the minor chord you are spelling out.

The formula for minor = 1 b3 5 as in one, flat three, five. The little lowercase b is used on this page as a flat (♭). The b3 indicates that the 3rd note from the major scale must be made one half-step lower. For example, the C major scale’s third note is E so spelling out the C minor chord with have C, Eb, and G. To spell D minor you start with the D major scale in which the third note is F#. When you take the 3=F# and move it down a half-step you find b3=F. Dm chord DFA. Minor chords/triads are commonly abbreviated with a lowercase m. F sharp minor = F#m. E flat minor = Ebm. etc.

Try to put these cool minor sounds with some other single notes and before and after some other chords! New sounds, discoveries, and questions to find answers to await.