In this lesson, we will learn how to form a C sharp minor chord.
A minor chord is a chord having a root, minor third and a perfect fifth as opposed to a major chord which has a root, major third and a perfect fifth.
The main difference between a major chord and a minor chord is the third. A minor chord flattens that interval to create a minor third (also called a flat third). While the major chord is notated 1-3-5, the minor is notated 1-b3-5. The notes of a C# major chord is C#-E#-G# while the notes of the C# minor chord is C#-E-G#. Notice how the middle note is played a half step lower.
There are many ways to indicate this chord, example, C# min, C# mi and C#m.
The C sharp minor chord, like other minor chords is basically a combination of a minor third and major third interval. The minor third interval is from C# to E and consists of 3 semitones (three half steps) while the major third is from E to G# and consists of 2 whole tones (four half steps). Take a look at your piano keyboard. You will notice that E is 3 keys to the right of C# while G# is 4 keys to the right of E.
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Minor chords follow the formula R + 3HS + 4HS. This stands for root plus 3 half steps plus four half steps. In other words, to form a minor chord, find its root note then add the note that is 3 half steps (3 keys) higher, then move 4 half steps (4 keys) higher.
Another way to form minor chords like C# minor is by skipping keys. Place your finger on C# (the first key in the set of two black keys). Now, skip two keys and play E. Then skip three keys and play G#.
We’ve learned how to form a C sharp minor chord in root position. In root position, the notes from lowest to highest are C#-E-G#. Let’s now take a look at the first and second inversions of this chord.
For the 1st inversion, the note, C# is played one octave higher, resulting in E-G#-C#. E is the lowest note, G# is in the middle and C# is the highest note.
For the 2nd inversion, G# becomes the lowest note, C# is in the middle and E is the highest note. G#-C#-E.
Here are possible fingerings for the C# minor chord. Piano fingerings are not cast in stone. (There is no correct fingering as such, since every hand is different and fingers have different lengths and sizes.)
In root position, finger 1 (thumb) plays C#, finger 3 (middle finger) plays E and finger 5 (pinky finger) plays G#. 1-3-5.
For the first inversion, finger 1 plays E, finger 2 (index finger) plays G# and finger 5 plays C#
For the second inversion of the C#mi chord, finger 1 plays G#, finger 3 plays C# and finger 5 plays E.
Video – How to play a C sharp minor chord on piano/keyboard
The C sharp minor chord occurs naturally in the following keys:
- C# minor (chord i) / E major (chord vi)
- F# minor (chord v) / A major (chord iii)
- G# minor (chord iv) / B major (chord ii)