Sunday, September 11, 2011

chords in minor

In the last lesson I said that the triads used in A minor are mostly the ones used in C major.  Today's lesson explains this a little more using the song "Poor Wayfaring Stranger".  The keys of C major and A minor (natural) share the same scale tones and, by extension, the same triads built on each of these scale tones.  The exception is the chord built on the fifth scale tone or the V chord.

Remember that in major keys the V chord has a strong tendency to lead back to the I chord.  The V chord contains the 7th tone in the scale which is called the leading tone.  It wants to (or our ears want to hear it) resolve upward the 1/2 step to the tonic (the root of the I chord).   In C major this step is from B to C.

In natural minor the 7th tone in the scale is a whole step below the tonic which takes away its strong pull toward the tonic; so, in natural minor keys, the 7th tone is raised to make the V chord have the leading tone.  This makes it a major chord instead of a minor chord.  In the key of A minor the Em chord becomes E. All of this is very hard to understand with just words.  Watch the lesson so that you can see it and hear it.