Playing the A Minor Chord on Piano

Want to learn how to play chords? Check out this step-by-step guide to learning the A minor chord in all its different forms! 

Chords can be daunting. At first, they seem like a complex subject, with so many notes in different combinations. But don’t stress—- music theory has simple tools for understanding and creating chords. This short article will break down the A minor chord to help you get to know the ropes. 

Understanding Chords: Inversions.

When you play a combination of two or more notes simultaneously, this is a chord. The most basic chord is a triad that has three notes. 

A major chord is when you take the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale and play them together. It comprises two intervals, a major third and then a minor third. 

You also build a minor chord from the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale, but the third is flat (lower by a semitone). A minor chord comprises the same two intervals but in the reverse order—first a minor third and then a major third. 

When you change the order of these notes, this is an inversion. You can play triads in three positions:

Root position: 1, 3, 5.

First inversion: 3, 5, 1.

Second inversion: 5, 1, 3. 

For more information about chords and inversions, check this out.

How to make an A minor chord. 

The major scale is the best place to start understanding the minor chord. For A minor, let’s start from the A major scale.

1234567
ABC#DEF#G#

Now take the first, third, and fifth degrees of the scale to make an A major chord: 

135
AC#E

To make this chord minor, flatten the third degree of the scale (which is the second note of the chord). This is an A minor chord in root position:

1b35
ACE

A minor: First inversion.

Remember, the first inversion is when you play the chord in the following order:

3, 5, 1.

b351
CEA

A minor: Second inversion.

The second inversion is when you play the chord in the following order:

5, 1, 3.

51b3
EAC

Advanced tip: The relative major. 

All the notes are one big family, and every major chord has a relative minor chord. You can figure this out by looking at the major scale. The sixth degree of any major scale is the relative minor. 

For example, A is the sixth degree of the C major scale, meaning that A minor is the relative minor of C major.

You can see that they share two out of three notes:

13 or b35
C major chordCEG
A minor chordACE

Popular songs with A minor.

Want to learn some popular songs which use the A minor chord? Check these out:

  • Hurt by Johhny Cash.
  • Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.
  • Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
  • Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.
  • Save Tonight by Eagle-Eye-Cherry.

Keep it up!

Don’t let the trickiness of chords get you down! Keep practicing and playing, and you will master them in no time. For interactive guidance in playing A minor and many other chords, download the SimplyPiano app!

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