The shape of a chord is the way it lands under your fingers, where the black notes and white notes fall, etc.
There are 12 major chords, and we can group them by shape for faster learning.
Minor Chord Group 1: Am, Dm, Em
The A minor chord has 3 white notes:
A Minor Chord
There are two other minor chords that have 3 white notes:
D Minor Chord
E Minor Chord
These three chords are not only the same shape, but they’re the i, iv, and v chords (“one, four and five chords”) of the key of A minor. So, it’s really useful to learn them as a group. (If you don’t know about chords as numbers yet, then just take my word for it – learn these three as a group.)
Minor Chord Group 2: Cm, Fm, Gm
In the key of C minor, the i, iv, and v chords are Cm, Fm, Gm. These chords also have the same shape (white keys on the outside, black key in the middle).
C Minor Chord
F Minor Chord
G Minor Chord
A Major Chord
Minor Chord Group 3: Dbm, Gbm, Abm
These three (D flat minor, G flat minor, A flat minor) are the i, iv, and v of the key of D flat minor. They all have the same shape (black keys on the outside, white key in the middle.)
Db Minor Chord
Gb Minor Chord
Ab Minor Chord
Ab Major Chord
Minor Chord Group 4: Bbm, Bm, Ebm
Unlike the other three groups, these three chords are not related by either shape or i, iv, v grouping. I group them together because they’re unique in shape.
Bbm and Bm are a kind of inverse of each other – Bbm has two black keys and one white key. Bm has two white keys then one black key. Ebm is the only minor chord with all three black keys.
Bb Minor Chord
B Minor Chord
Eb Minor Chord
I’m Andy Grall, and I teach piano online and in Houston, TX. If you’re ready to dive in to learning piano, schedule your free consultation now:
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