How do you write minor sounding chord progressions? ...brief but straight to the point i thought. Please help!
Use chords from a minor key and resolve to a minor chord.
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play something like Am, Dm, Am, Em
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Learn your Minor scales and then learn the Diatonic chords for each key.

W= Whole step or 2 frets
H= Half step or 1 fret
T= Tonic or Root note

Natural minor is W,H,W,W,H,W,W,
First Note/chord is a minor
2 is Diminished
3(b3) is Major
4 is minor
5 is minor
6 (b6)is major
7 (b7)is major

(b 3/6/7 based from major scale formula..)

Example in A minor


so you have Am Bdim Cmaj Dm Em Fmaj Gmaj

In the key of Am one progression could be (145)

Am Dm & Em

do this with other keys..

Apply these common progressions to your chords

Last edited by memyselfandus at Sep 22, 2008,
Quote by one vision
Use traids built from the minor scale.

i - iv - VI - V.

Sounds nice.

Ok, so in Cmajor these chords would be Am, Dm, Fmaj, Gmaj/G7? Surly the Gmaj/G7 best resolves to Cmaj? im confused
Try to keep your V chord a dominant or a major chord (preferably dominant, it has a better lead to the i chord). In A minor this is E7.

Alot of guys like to suggest Em-Am. This is fine if your not planning on resolving to Am, but it doesnt have a very strong movement to it. The thing about the E chord is that it contains a B note and a G# note which both lead really nicely to the A and C notes.
Im confused now, i see what your saying but if were treating Am as the VI chord from Cmaj only now it's used as the I chord, EMaj/E7 does'nt fit into the progression because the E is the III in CMajor which would make it a minor chord?
Oops posted that last one in the wrong thread I'm not sure how that happened or how I got here but since I am...

The biggest problem with the natural minor scale is that the dominant chord (the V chord) is minor. This means the b7 is a whole step away from the root as opposed to a half step away. By altering the scale and raising the b7 to a natural seven you can get a major V chord and create the stronger resolution leading into the i chord. This raising of the b7 to a natural 7 creates the Harmonic Minor Scale 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7.

The natural seven leads well when ascending melodically from the seven to the root, but the problem with the Harmonic Minor Scale is it's three semitone leap between the b6 and 7 which makes for somewhat disjointed melodic ascension of the scale. So to solve the problem the six was commonly also raised a semitone to give a smoother melodic ascension creating the Melodic Minor Scale 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7. Note that the semitone distance between the 7 and root is less important when descending so it was common for the Melodic Minor scale to be used when ascending melodically to the root and the natural minor to be used when descending melodically from the root.

These alterations would only apply to the minor scale as the Major Scale would already have the raised 7 and the major 5 chords.
Last edited by 20Tigers at Sep 23, 2008,
Quote by kwikfingers-uk
Im confused now, i see what your saying but if were treating Am as the VI chord from Cmaj only now it's used as the I chord, EMaj/E7 does'nt fit into the progression because the E is the III in CMajor which would make it a minor chord?
Ignore what I said in my second paragraph. It's a bit confusing and not very well written.

When writing in minor keys dont see the aminor chord as the vi chord (see its lowercase). See the a minor chord as the i chord. This makes E the V chord.

In minor keys we use a few out of key chord and a few out of key notes (for the melody). V instead of a v chord is one of them. We do this partly to force the song to resolve on the a (i) instead of the C (bIII), which is where the song wants to resolve, and partly to keep the song stable.

Although in theory minor keys are written out exactly the same as major keys but starting on different notes, in practise (as in writing music), they're pretty different and use different chords. They even use different notes when a melody is concerned (but I wouldnt use these alterations if I was improvising or something). Minor keys are a bitch (still not as bad as modes though). Writing in major keys are a million times easier.

Anyway, minor scale chords. Try to remember these:
i, ii or ii0 (half-diminished), bIII or bIII+, iv, V, bVI (occasionally replaced with a vi0 half diminished chord), vii0 (full diminished) sometimes a bVII chord.

A few choices here...

Some people will use a ii chord instead of a ii0 chord because they dont like diminished chords, some people would rather use a ii0 chord because of its movement to V chords.
The bIII chord is sometimes not used, as a resolution to this chord would mean major keys but some people would rather use this than bIII+ chords (which Andy? says has a great movement to V chords).
Always use a V chord (v chords suck) and always use a iv chord.
bVI chords are brilliant predominant chords (use right before the V chord), very jazzy (even though I sort of use them as if they're a bastardized augmented sixth chord, a classical idea).
I think you would rather use a vi0 chord if you plan to move to a vii0 chord from a sixth degree, this would sound really weird though (why would you want to anyway?).
vii0 chords are a great substitution for V chords, as they contain all the same notes which make the V chord resolve to I chords.
Sometimes though you dont want to resolve, so you would use a bVII chord (which is fine), just make sure you dont move to a bIII chord after using this or else you'll be writing in major keys (bVII chord makes a sort of perfect cadence with the bIII chord).

Enjoy. I love mucking around in minor keys.
Ok thats a lot to get my head around but im gonna print it off, go over it and break it down bit by bit, you clearly have a much better understanding of this than me...1st things 1st tho ...if we were to harmonize the natural minor scale and we wanted to write a chord progression we would use..... i(min) ii(dim) III(maj) iv(min) v(min) or V(maj)? VI(maj) VII(maj) right?
Quote by kwikfingers-uk
i(min) ii(dim) III(maj) iv(min) v(min) or V(maj)? VI(maj) VII(maj) right?

Yep, that's right.