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.

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

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:

A minor: First inversion.

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

3, 5, 1.

A minor: Second inversion.

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

5, 1, 3.

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:

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. Download the Simply Piano app for interactive guidance in playing A minor and many other chords!