Minor Scale Diatonic Chords

How to create minor scale diatonic chords?

Example: A Minor Diatonic Chords

A – B – C – D – E – F – G – A are the notes of the A minor scale.

a minor scale

 

Diatonic chords are formed by stacking two generic third notes above each scale note.

a minor diatonic chords

 

A Minor Diatonic Chords

These are the seven minor scale diatonic chords that come from the A natural minor scale. 

a minor diatonic chords

 

Each diatonic chord is labelled with a roman numeral number. 

i,  iiº,  III,  iv,  v,  VI,  VII

a minor diatonic chords

We use uppercase roman numeral numbers to represent major chords, lowercase to represent minor chords, uppercase with a small plus sign to represent augmented chords, and lowercase with a small circle to represent diminished chords.

The seven diatonic chords in the A natural minor key are:

i – The first chord: A C E (root, minor third and perfect fifth) is a minor chord (A minor chord)

iiº – The second chord: B D F (root, minor third, diminished fifth) is a diminished chord (B diminished chord)

III – The third chord: C E G (root, major third, perfect fifth) is major chord (C major chord)

iv – The fourth chord: D F A (root, minor third and perfect fifth) is a minor chord (D minor chord)

v – The fifth chord: E G B (root, minor third and perfect fifth) is a minor chord (E minor chord)

VI – The sixth chord: F A C (root, major third, perfect fifth) is a major chord (F major chord)

VII– The seventh chord: G B D (root, major third, perfect fifth) is a major chord (G major chord)

All natural minor diatonic chords follow the same pattern of chord quality: i   iiº   III   iv   v   VI   VII 

A different chord quality pattern applies to harmonic and melodic minor diatonic chords. 

A Harmonic Minor Diatonic Chords

Raise the 7th note of the natural minor scale by a half step and you have a harmonic minor scale. Let’s look at the A natural minor scale for example, the G note in A natural minor is the 7th note of the scale. If we raise the G note a half step higher, it is now a G Sharp. With the G Sharp, we now have a A harmonic minor scale: A – B – C – D – E – F – G♯ – A 

only 3, 5, 7 diatonic chords have the G note in A natural minor (now G Sharp in A harmonic minor), therefore

III+  is now a C augmented chord: C E G♯ 
V is now a E major chord: E G♯ B
viiº  is now a G Sharp diminished chord: G♯ B D 

This is the chord qualify pattern for harmonic minor diatonic chords: i   iiº   III+   iv   V   VI   viiº 

A Melodic Minor Diatonic Chords

Again, raise the 6th note of the harmonic minor scale by a half step and you now have a melodic minor scale. In this A harmonic minor scale example, the F note in harmonic minor is now the F sharp in melodic minor scale: A – B – C – D – E – F♯ – G♯ – A

This time, only 2, 4, 6 diatonic chords have the F note in A harmonic minor (now F Sharp in A melodic minor)

ii  is now a B minor chord: B D F♯
IV is now a D major chord: D F♯ A
viº  is now a F Sharp diminished chord: F♯ A C 

All melodic minor scales follow this pattern: i   ii   III+  IV V  viº viiº

There are a total of 13 minor scale diatonic chords that harmonize the A minor scale. (7 in natural minor, 3 more in harmonic minor and 3 more in melodic minor) 

Minor Scale Diatonic Chords in Other Keys

Diatonic Chords of C Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of C Sharp Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of D Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of D Sharp Minor Scale / E Flat Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of E Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of F Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of F Sharp Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of G Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of G Sharp Minor Scale / A Flat Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of A Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of A Sharp Minor Scale / B Flat Minor Scale
Diatonic Chords of B Minor Scale

Piano Chord Progression Poster

This practical piano chord progression poster from Amazon is the perfect reference chart of all 24 major and minor chord sets — The Really Useful Piano Chord Progression Poster – A1 Size – Folded Version

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