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Creating Beautiful Minor Chord Progressions

Lisa Witt  /  Songwriting / Sep 20

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Chord progressions are the foundation of all our popular songs, and I’m often asked how to write a beautiful minor chord progression.

We recently released a lesson on some different chord progressions to capture any mood. You can find that by clicking here.

Today I’ll show you some more minor chord progressions, to really capture that sad or moody feeling.

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out which minor chords you can use. That will depend on the key that you are in. To see our lesson on knowing which chords sound good together, just click here.

We’re in the key of G today, so I know that the minor chords in that key are Am, Bm, and Em. So that is the minor ii, iii, and vi (we use small roman numerals to represent minor chords).

Let’s look at some progressions:

Progression 1 – My favorite minor progression

This one uses the minor vi and the minor iii. It sounds really moody, ominous and sad.

Those chords are Em and Bm in the key of G.

You can stay on those two chords, alternating back and forth. Or you can explore other options by adding in some major chords as well.

Some of my favorite options are resolving to the I chord or moving to the IV or V chords (major chords use capital roman numerals).

Progression 2

This one starts on the minor ii, before moving to the I and then the V. So in the key of G the chords are Am-G-D.

What I love about this progression is how it sounds really unfinished. That’s because it doesn’t resolve. It just hangs on that V chord.

 
Progression 3

So far we have started each progression on a minor chord. But you don’t have to do that to still create a minor chord progression.

This final pattern actually starts on a major chord, the IV. It then steps up to the V and minor vi. So again in the key of G the chords are C-D-Em.

It gives a real moody feeling and is a popular progression in a lot of EDM music. I love playing this progression and improvising over the top with the minor pentatonic scale.

If you know your minor chords and your key signatures, then you already have the tools to create your own moody minor progressions. The first step is getting comfortable with the chords that are in each key signature. Once you know those, you have a good foundation to start building your own minor chord progressions.

Have fun!


Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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