On this page we learn how to play a Cm chord on piano. The C minor chord or triad is formed by combining three notes, C, Eb and G. These are the root note, the flat third (minor third) and the perfect fifth of the C major scale. If you know how to form a C major chord all you have to do is lower the middle note, E in the chord by a semitone or half step. So instead of C E G you play C Eb G.
A C minor chord is represented by other symbols apart from Cm. These include C min, and C- (C followed by a minus sign).
Like other minor chords, the C min chord has a melancholic or sad sound. Major chords have a happier sound.
The Cm chord is a combination of a minor third and a major third. A minor third consists of one and a half tones while a major third consists of two tones. In other words the interval or distance between C and Eb is 1 1/2 tones or 3 half tones. The distance between Eb and G is two tones or four half tones. Look closely at your piano keyboard and you will realize that Eb is 3 keys away from C and G is four keys away from Eb.
We just learned how to form a C min chord in root position. In this position the notes are in the order C Eb G. Let’s now look at this chord in its two inversions. In the first inversion the notes are in the order Eb G C. In this case C is an octave higher than the C in root position. In the second inversion of the C- chord the notes are G C Eb. Eb is one octave higher than the Eb in root position. C is one octave higher as well. G remains the same in root position and both inversions of the chord. The diagram on the right illustrates this clearly.
What are the fingerings for the Cm chord? In root position finger 1 plays C, finger 3 plays Eb and finger 5 plays G. In the first inversion finger 1 plays Eb, finger 2 plays G and finger 5 plays C. In the second inversion finger 1 plays G, finger 3 plays C and finger 4 plays Eb.
Video: How to Play a C minor Chord
The C minor chord occurs naturally in the following keys:
- C minor (chord i). Relative major: Eb major (chord vi)
- G minor (chord iv). Relative major: Bb major (chord ii)
- F minor (chord v). Relative major: Ab major (chord iii)