Definitions

minor triad

Minor chord

In music theory, a minor chord is a chord having a root, a minor third, and a perfect fifth. When a chord has these three notes alone, it is called a minor triad. Some minor triads with additional notes, such as the minor seventh chord, may also be called minor chords.

A minor triad can also be described as a minor third interval with a major third interval on top or as a root note, a note 3 semitones higher than the root, and a note 7 semitones higher than the root.

A major chord differs from a minor chord in having a major third above the root instead of a minor third. It can also be described as a major third with a minor third on top, in contrast to a minor chord, which has a minor third with a major third on top. They both contain fifths, because a major third (4 semitones) plus a minor third (3 semitones) equals a fifth (7 semitones).

A diminished chord is a minor chord with a lowered fifth.

An example of a minor chord is the C minor chord, which consists of the notes C (root), E (minor third) and G (perfect fifth):

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A minor chord in just intonation is tuned in the frequency ratio 15:12:10 (). In twelve-tone equal temperament (now the most common tuning system in the west), a minor chord has 4 semitones between the third and fifth, 3 between the root and third, and 7 between the root and fifth. It is represented by the integer notation 0,3,7. The fifth is only two cents narrower than the just perfect fifth, but the minor third is noticeably different at 15.641 cents smaller.

The minor chord, along with the major chord, is one of the basic building blocks of tonal music and the common practice period. In Western music, a minor chord, in comparison, "sounds darker than a major chord" but is still considered highly consonant, stable, or as not requiring resolution.

Minor chord table

Chord Root Minor Third Perfect Fifth
Cm C E G
Cm C E G
Dm D F (E) A
Dm D F A
Dm D F A
Em E G B
Em E G B
Fm F A C
Fm F A C
Gm G B (A) D
Gm G B D
Gm G B D
Am A C (B) E
Am A C E
Am A C E (F)
Bm B D F
Bm B D F

See also

Notes

References

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