A Minor Chords

A Minor Chords

A Minor Chords


The first song I learned without anyone telling me what to learn it by was a minor chords. The progression might as well be an acronym for the title of this blog post: minor, minor, minor, minor, minor. I wanted to create a blog post about minor chords.


A unique particularity of the minor chord is that this is the only chord of three notes in which the three notes have one harmonic – hearable and with a not too high row – in common (more or less exactly, depending on the tuning system used). This harmonic, common to the three notes, is situated 2 octaves above the high note of the chord. This is the sixth harmonic of the root of the chord, the fifth of the middle note, and the fourth of the high note.

In 12-TET, or twelve-tone equal temperament (now the most common tuning system in the West), a minor chord has 3 semitones between the root and third, 4 between the third and fifth, and 7 between the root and fifth. It is represented by the integer notation 0,3,7. The 12-TET fifth (700 cents) is only two cents narrower than the just perfect fifth (3:2, 701.9 cents), but the 12-TET minor third (300 cents) is noticeably (about 16 cents) narrower than the just minor third (6:5, 315.6 cents). The 12-TET minor third (300 cents) more closely approximates the 19-limit (Limit (music)) minor third 16:19 (Source: en.wikipedia.org)


Ellis proposes that the conflict between mathematicians and physicists on one hand and practicing musicians on the other regarding the supposed inferiority of the minor chord and scale to the major may be explained due to physicists' comparison of just minor and major triads, in which case minor comes out the loser, versus the musicians' comparison of the equal tempered triads, in which case minor comes out the winner since the ET major third is 14 cents sharp from the just major third while the ET minor third closely approximates the consonant 19:16 minor third, which many find pleasing.

In order to understand major and minor chords and how they are used in melodies it is useful to know a bit about keys. Music is organized into 12 major and 12 minor keys. Each major key has a minor key that it is ‘related’ to. They are related because they consist of the same notes. For example, the key of C major is related to the key of A minor. (Source: www.skoove.com)


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