Pop Music Theory


16: Minor Triads

Lesson 16: Minor Triads

This lesson explains minor triads. The minor triad is the 2nd-most basic chord type, right after the major triad.

To understand this lesson, you need to already know the major triads, so review Lesson 14: Chords: Major Triads and Lesson 15: Major Triad Games if you need to.

The rule for the minor triad is pretty simple: The minor triad consists of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of a major scale (like the major triad), except you lower the 3rd a half-step. Symbolically, we write it like this:

Minor triad: 1 ♭3 5

The chord symbol for the minor triad is m ("little em"). Here are a couple of examples:

SymbolName & nicknames
BmB minor triad, B minor chord, B minor
C♯m C-sharp minor triad, C-sharp minor chord, C-sharp minor

Here are two example pairs of major & minor triads, so you can see how the major and minor triads are related to each other:

D ("D major chord"):D F♯ A
Dm ("D minor chord"):D F A
E♭ ("E-flat major chord"): E♭ G B♭
E♭m ("E-flat minor chord"): E♭ G♭ B♭

For reference, these are the notes in the common minor triads:

Chord Symbol Root 3rd 5th
B♭m B♭D♭F
C♯m C♯EG♯
D♯m D♯F♯ A♯
E♭m E♭G♭ B♭
F♯m F♯AC♯
G♯m G♯BD♯

When you're sure you understand this lesson, go on to Lesson 17: Minor Triad Games to practice and test yourself.


1: Introduction
2: Pitch & Keyboard
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps
7: Whole-Steps
8: Steps Game
9: Scales
10: Major Scale 1-2-3
11: Major 1-2-3 Games
12: Major Scale 1-5
13: Major 1-5 Games
14: Chords: Major Triads
15: Major Triad Games
16: Minor Triads
17: Minor Triad Games
18: Major Scale 1-8
19: Major Scale Games
20: Scales Above 8
21: What Next
22: Keys
23: Roman Numeral Chords
24: Diatonic Triads
25: Treble Staff
26: Pitch & Frequency

© 2017 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.