Changing a major chord to a minor chord

December 9, 2016


Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by! Here's the long answer to the question I posed on Twitter yesterday about how to change a major chord to minor. I'm sure many of you already know this, but for those who want to learn the nuts and bolts of it, here goes...


I'm going to use C major as an example. No sharps or flats, so it makes things simpler.


If we want to build a C major triad (a 3-note chord), we need to include the third and the fifth. The order of the notes doesn't really matter. "The third and fifth of what?", you may ask.

"Of the C major scale", I would reply.

Here's where the alphabet comes in handy. Including C, count up three letters (C, D, E), and also up five letters (C, D, E, F, G). So a C major chord is made of C, E, and G. Hang in there, we're almost done.


In western music, the third note of a scale, in this case E, indicates whether it's major or minor. (It's actually a bit more involved, but that's a topic for another time.) The difference between them is just a tiny little half-tone, but oh what a difference. Using our example, if you drop the E down to an E-flat, your happy and perky C major chord will transform into a somber and moody C minor chord. Isn't music amazing!

Hope this mini theory lesson was helpful to you! I'd love to hear your comments, compliments, greetings, fact-checking, challenges, whatever. See you next time!

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