Minor Chord Family

Minor chords are constructed when the major chord formula is altered from R, M3rd, P5, to R, 3 rd P5. Moreover, as in this particular instance, the numerical equivalent is simply not found in standard notation (you will probably never see a chord annotated in this manner, such as Cmaj12).

In other instances, adding notes (such as CaddD) serve a dual purpose. The first reason is the interval does not occur in the chord and must be inserted, while the second and more important reason is to tell the reader not to replace or omit any of the original existing intervals. For example, a Csus2 replaces the 3rd and inserts the 2nd respectively, but a CaddD still employs the 3 rd and adds the 2nd as well (C-D-E-G). Be careful not to confuse this with inversions.

Furthermore, when written out, a CaddD (C-D-E-G) conceivably forms a G6sus4 or possibly a G6sus4 inversion. However, we know this to be a CaddD chord implicitly from its construction. Since the CaddD chord contains the third and the commonly referred to as a minor third). Consequently, a C Minor (also denoted as Cm or Cmin) would be constructed from the notes C (1st), Eb (b3rd), and G (P5th).

It should be duly noted, however, that a minor chord is still built from the Circle of Fifths, mimicked by the respective Major Scale – minor chords are not built from Minor Scales. Although an Eb is found in a C Minor Scale, one should be careful to take notice that the minor chord formula dictates that you flat the third. Since the notes of a C Minor Scale are C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, and Bb you flat the third of a C Minor Scale, you would produce a double E-flat (E) and not the prescribed E found in a Cm chord (C, Eb, G).

Minor 6th chords consist of the 1st-b3rd-5th-6th intervals, while minor 6/9 chords are chords consisting of the 1st-b3rd-(5th)-6th-9th intervals.

Minor seventh or m7 chords are formed by adding a flat seventh to a traditional minor chord, R, b3, P5, b7. So a Cm7 is C-Eb-G-Bb, as with the traditional minor, the third remains flat. If you were to return the third to a major third, you would effect a dominant seventh chord and not a minor seventh.

Minor ninth chords or m9 are built much like a minor seventh, but the ninth interval remains natural (R, b3, P5, b7, 9) – only the third and seventh interval are flat, however, the first, fifth, and ninth intervals remain unchanged. Additionally, minor eleventh chords (m11) are constructed as the minor ninth and include the eleventh extension (R, b3, P5, b7, 9, 11).

Since there are six intervals in these chords, one may omit the ninth for accommodation’s sake (on some instruments, it may be too difficult or impossible to simultaneously play all intervals).

Minor thirteenth or m13 contain the root, flat third, fifth, flat seventh, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth (R, b3, P5, b7, 9, 11, 13). However, as with the minor eleventh, the ninth can be omitted, as well as the eleventh, in order to accommodate certain instruments remain unchanged. Additionally, minor eleventh chords (m11) are constructed as the minor ninth, and include the eleventh extension (R, b3, P5, b7, 9, 11).

Minor/major seventh or min/maj7 chords contain a flat third, a perfect fifth, and a natural seventh (R, b3, P5, b7). However, they are usually considered to be minor chords even though their chord structure shares characteristics from both the minor and major families (i.e. a flat third – found in the minor chord family, and a natural seventh – found in the major chord family).