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How Minor Chords Are Made

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In this guitar theory lesson, we’re going to take a look at how minor chords are made. Most music is made up of either major chords or minor chords, so it's important to have a good understanding of how they're made and how they differ from one another. If you have an interest in writing your own songs, or just want a better understanding of the songs you're learning, you'll want to have a solid grasp of basic chord theory.

Before jumping into this lesson you'll need to have a good understanding of the basic fundamentals of music theory. You can learn more here: The 4 Music Theory Fundamentals

The Scale Method

The first method for making a minor chord is the scale method. First, spell out the minor scale for the chord you want to build. Then you just have to find the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the scale to find the notes in the chord.

A Minor: To use this method to find the notes in an A minor, we start by spelling out our A minor scale. Next you just have to find the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes. These notes are the notes that make an A minor chord.

A Minor

D Minor: We'll do the same thing for the D minor chord. Find the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes in the D minor scale. A D minor chord is spelled D, F, A.

D Minor

The Stacking Thirds Method

Stacking thirds is an alternative method for finding the notes in a chord. First, you'll need to know the difference between a major third and a minor third.

Major Third: A major third is the distance of 4 half-steps.

Minor Third: A minor third is the distance of 3 half-steps.

To use this method you start with the root note of the chord you want to make. Then add the note that's a minor third above it. Next, add the note that's a major third above the second note. These 3 notes are the notes that make up a minor chord.

A Minor: Start with an A note. A minor third from that is a C. A major third from a C is an E. An A minor chord is spelled A, C, E.

A Minor

D Minor: Let's do the same for a D minor chord. Start with a D note. Add the minor third, which is an F. Then add a major third, which is an A. A D minor chord is spelled D, F, A.

D Minor

Music theory can be challenging at first. Be patient, and spend a little time working on it every day and you'll find it get's a lot easier. Feel free to go over this lesson a few times, and try incorporating some chord theory into your everyday practice routine.