Identifying I, IV, V Chords in Minor Keys
Recently a teacher asked about minor chords, specifically whether our ‘Accompaniment Clues Trick’ for identifying I, IV and V chords in Major Keys, applies equally to discovering the minor chords in any key.
The simple, immediate and accurate answer to this is, “Yes”. I want to re-iterate the simple process:
Identify the I, IV and V notes of any key, as per our Accompaniment Program ‘clue’.
This gives you the I, IV and V of that key, regardless of whether it is Major or minor.
Now, it is the chords that you play that will help you to easily hear if the key is Major – happy 🙂 or minor – sad 🙁
(As I said in an earlier email, the reasons for this I won’t explain now.)
A critical point to note is that in minor keys, the I and IV chords are minor chords, but the V chord is a Major chord! (Stop worrying about the reason why!!)
So for example, the I, IV, V chords in C minor, would be – C minor, F minor and G Major.
Having said this, I have rarely had the need to give this answer to a student. Even the one’s who ask! I am more likely to say, “That’s a good question, it’s easy to answer, but in order to do that properly, you need to know more, and we are not there yet. I’ll explain it to you one day, and when I do, it will make perfect sense. For now though, let’s get on with the piece we are working on.” End of discussion, and I just move on.
Original discussion started July 10, 2005