Looking for the C minor chord scale? In this article we'll cover everything you need to know about the C minor chord scale, and how you can use it to create better sounding chord progressions, compositions and melodies.
Highly recommended: check out our Piano Chord Poster – there are over 120 chords on 1 sheet & it’s great for practice!
What Chords Are in The C Minor Scale?
To find the chords in the C minor scale, we first need to understand what the C minor scale is. It's a series of 7 notes that make up a key, you can use to, create melodies lines, or build chords from.
The C minor scale consists of 7 notes:
C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A, B
In the C minor chord scale, each of these notes above, will have a chord assigned to them, and you can find these piano chords using a formula.
There are two common chord scale formulas you can use:
- Major: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminsihed
- Minor: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, major
In the case of the C minor scale, you want to use the minor formula that's listed above. This gives you the sequence of chords you should play on each note. That means you'd play a C minor, D diminished, Eb major and so on.
Once you have this information, you can then play the chords in sequence (if you know them). If you don't know these chords, you can use something called chord spellings to create them. This is really easy, and we'll show you how to do this now.
The most common chord spellings are:
- Major – 1, 3, 5
- Minor – 1, b3, 5
- Diminished – 1, b3, b5
- Augmented – 1, 3, #5
The chord spellings above are used to create chords from a major scale. The “b3” is also known as a minor 3rd. If you are using a minor scale, you can remove the “b3” from the minor and diminished spellings.
For instance, if you want to find a:
C minor chord, you can use 1, 3, 5 of the C minor scale, instead of 1, b3, 5 of the C major scale.
To find the notes in the chord spellings, all you have to do is count up the notes in the scale.
So, let's take the C minor scale, and work out what C minor is:
If we take the minor spelling, we have 1, b3, 5, but because we're using a minor scale, we don't need the minor spelling, so all we need is 1, 3, 5.
Count up 1 notes, and you get C, count up 3 notes and you get Eb, count up 5 notes, and you get G. This leaves you with a C minor triad.
C minor chord – C, E, G
If you wanted to find the 3rd chord in our minor chord scale, you'd follow the same rules as shown above, but instead, you'd use a major scale. So, because your 3rd note is Eb, you'd use the Eb major scale to find the correct notes, using the 1, 3, 5 spelling.
3 step guide to making chords
Decide What Chord You Want
Decide whether you want a major, minor or diminished chord, & decide the note you're going to use.
Find The Scale You Need To Use
If you want a A major chord, use the A major scale. If you want a B minor chord, use the B major scale.
Use The Correct Spelling
Choose the major spelling for major chords, the minor for minor chords & so on…
You can use the above formulas to plug them into the C minor scale, to find your chords in C minor.
Using the above spellings, and minor chord scale formula, you should get:
- C minor
- D diminished
- Eb major
- F minor
- G minor
- Ab major
- Bb major
As you can see it follows the: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, major pattern, and these, are basic triad chords. You can enhance your chords more by adding extensions and inversions to them, making them sound more colourful and thick.
Adding extensions is easy, you just count up the notes in your desired scale. Cmaj9 = count up 9 notes in C major scale & add it on. Cmaj7 = count up 7 notes in the C major scale & add it on.
! Remember !
For chord extensions, you will need to use the correct key to find the correct extension for your chord. To give an example, for a Cmaj7, you use C major – for an Amin7, you use A minor & so on.
Chords in The C Minor Scale
As you can see above, we've included a diagram that shows all the chords in the C minor scale. You can use these chords in any order to create progressions that sound in key no matter which chord you pick. Some will sound better than others though, so keep trying until you get something you like!
Using this in the MIDI piano roll and trying out different chords, inversions, extensions, and implementing bass will help to create better sounding chord progressions.
What Notes Are in The C Minor Chord Scale Chords?
Now you have a good understanding of the C Minor scale, and the notes included, but what about the notes in each individual chord? Let's go over them now.
- C minor – C, Eb, G,
- D diminished – D, F, Ab
- Eb major – Eb, G, Bb
- F minor – F, Ab, C
- G minor – G, Bb, D
- Ab major – Ab, C, Eb
- Bb major – Bb, D, F
Common Chord Progressions To Use in C Minor
Playing around with different chords using the C minor chord scale is a fantastic way to create melodies quickly. Another great way to make them even quicker, is by using already, great-sounding chord progressions.
To use these, you can take the Roman numerals in the C minor chord scale, and match them to the chord in the progression.
Anything with a 6, 7, 9 after it, is an extension chord, lowercase = minor, and uppercase = major
- i- iv-i-VI-V7-i
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ'd on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he's done it, tested it, tried it.