The E minor chord scale is a progression of chords that can be found in the key of E minor. E minor is a fantastic scale to use to write melodies that convey emotions of innocence, love & naivety. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about the E minor chord scale, what it uses are and why that's important to know for producers.
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What Are The Chords in The Key of E Minor
To find the chords in the key of E minor, you will need to know the E minor scale notes first. You can then use these notes in formulas to work out the string of chords that makeup the E minor chord scale.
The E minor scale is as follows:
E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
When you have the notes in the E minor scale, you can use the chord scale formula to work out the progression of chords that need to be played in the E minor chord scale. Because you are in minor, you will use the minor formula to work this out.
The major & minor chord scale formulas are:
- Major: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminsihed
- Minor: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, major
Therefore the E minor chord scale is as follows:
- E minor
- F# diminished
- G major
- A minor
- B minor
- C major
- D major
Now you can play the E minor chord scale, if you know your basic triad chord shapes. If not, you can work out the notes you need to play by using chord spellings.
The most common chord spellings are:
- Major – 1, 3, 5
- Minor – 1, b3, 5
- Diminished – 1, b3, b5
- Augmented – 1, 3, #5
To use the chord spellings you need to plug them into the major scale of the root note, of the chord you want to find. You then use the correct spelling, based on the quality of chord that you want (major, minor, diminished).
For example: take the 4th chord (A minor), you need the A major scale, with the minor spelling (1, b3, 5) count the 1 note (A), then the 3 note, then flatten it (C), then the 5 note (E). This gives you your A minor chord.
You can do this for every note in the scale and you can build every chord in the E minor chord scale following this process. Just make sure to use the root note's major scale and the correct spelling.
E.G. A (root note – use the major scale of this) minor (quality – use the minor spelling)
Which Notes Make Up The Chords of The E Minor Scale?
Now you understand the chords in the E minor scale, you need to know what notes to play in each chord.
The E minor chord scale, with individual chord notes is as follows:
- E minor – E, G, B
- F# diminished – F#, A, C
- G major – G, B, D
- A minor – A, C, E
- B minor – B, D, F#
- C major – C, E, G
- D major – D, F#, A
Common Chord Progressions in E Minor
Once you understand how to play the E minor chord scale, you can use chord progressions to quickly start ideas and build melodies rapidly. These are strings of chords that already sound good in conjunction with each other – you just plug them into your chord scale.
To do this, all you need to do is use the roman numerals in the chord progression and match them with the roman numeral on your chord scale chart.
Anything with a 6, 7, 9 after it, is an extension chord, lowercase = minor, and uppercase = major.
Here are some common chord progressions in E minor:
- I, vi, IV, V
- I, bVI, V
- vi, IV, I, V
- IV, I, V, vi
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.