Playing the F Minor Chord on Piano

Been trying to figure out an F minor chord? Look no further than this step-by-step guide to playing the F minor chord in all its variations and forms!

The piano can be intimidating. Playing one note at a time is a challenge for beginners, let alone three of four! And all this terminology of major, minor – what does it mean? This short article will explain it by breaking down the F minor chord in all its permutations. 

What are Chords and Inversions?

A chord is when you play a combination of two or more notes at the same time. 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 contains two intervals, a major third and then a minor third. You can read more about intervals in our guide Ear Training for Beginners.

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

An inversion is when you change the order of the notes. You can play a triad in three different positions. 

Root position: 1, 3, 5.

First inversion: 3, 5, 1.

Second inversion: 5, 1, 3. 

How to build an F minor chord 

A good place to start with understanding chords is the major scale. Before we get into F minor, let’s look at the F major scale:

1234567
FGABbCDE

Now, let’s play an F major chord by taking the first, third, and fifth degrees of the scale. 

135
FAC

To make this chord minor, flatten the third (which is the second note of the chord). 

F minor chord in root position

1b35
FAbC

F minor chord: First inversion.

Remember, the 1st inversion is when you play the chord in the following order:

3, 5, 1.

b351
AbCF

F minor chord: Second inversion.

The 2nd inversion is when you play the chord in the following order:5, 1, 3.

51b3
CFAb

Advanced tip: The relative major. 

Every major chord has its relative minor chord. You can figure this out from the major scale. The sixth degree of any major scale will be its relative minor. 

For example, F is the sixth degree of the Ab major scale–meaning that F minor is the relative minor of Ab major. They are relative because they share two out of three notes:

13 or b35
Ab major chordAbCEb
F minor chordFAbC

Have a look at this article for more information on chords.

Playing F minor in popular songs:

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

  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  • Neon – John Mayer
  • Everything in its Right Place – Radiohead
  • The Way You Move – OutKast

There you have it!

You’re ready now to get on the piano and play F minor with the help of this article. While you’re at it, download the Simply Piano app for interactive guidance in playing F minor and many other chords!

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