What to Know About the G Minor Chord

The ability to sit down and play any piece of music requires a strong foundation. That’s why musicians practice their scales and the chords that go with them.

The G minor scale and the chords based on it are part of that foundation. Once you’ve mastered the G minor chord in all its inversions, you’re on your way to being able to play any music in that key!

Are you working on G minor chords now? Are you trying to learn to play the G minor chord?

If so, we can help. Below you’ll find the complete guide giving you everything you need to know about the G minor chord. Let’s go! Oh, here’s the F minor scale by the way.

Music in the Key of G Minor

Many famous composers wrote music in this key. That means they based their music on the notes of the G minor scale, with G as the root note, or tonic.

Like other minor keys, G minor chords was often used to express tragedy or sadness. At the very least, it brought a dark color to the music.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor has this brooding feeling, as does Bach’s Great Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542 [1].

Many contemporary songs also make use of this key. Jennifer Lopez’s Ain’t It Funny and DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love by Usher and Pitbull are both in the key of G minor.

Listening to music in this key can help your ear recognize its melancholy sound [2]. Then you’ll have an easier time learning your G minor chords.

In the next section, let’s look at the G minor chord and the scale upon which it’s based. Read on for more information.

The G Minor Tonic Chord

To understand the G minor chord, we first need to know the notes of the G minor scale. Let’s go over them in the next section.

The G Minor Natural Scale

The notes in a G minor chord come right out of this scale. The pitches are:


Notes in scales are given numbers, called scale degrees. In this case, G is 1, and the numbers go up from there:


We return to 1 again on G. Notice, then, that G is the 1st scale degree whether it’s the first or last note of the scale.

In addition to scale degrees, each pitch also has a special name. We’ve seen already that G is the home or root pitch. Because of this, it’s called the tonic, and any chord built on G is also called a tonic chord.

The other important pitch is the 5th scale degree, or D. D is the dominant of G, and any chord built on it is called a dominant chord.

Those are the two most important chords, although you can build a chord using any scale degree as its root. In the next section, let’s build a g minor tonic chord together.

The G Minor Tonic Chord

When a chord has only three pitches, it’s called a triad. The g minor tonic triad looks like this:


It’s labeled with a lowercase Roman numeral i. That’s because it’s the first scale degree of the scale (the tonic), and it’s also a minor chord.

Composers and songwriters don’t always write the g minor chord in root position, though. It’s possible to move the pitches around to create inversions.

A g minor triad in first inversion has B-flat in the base:


It’s labeled as i6. The subscript 6 lets you know the triad has been inverted.

Second inversion has D in the base:


It’s labeled as i6/4. If you flip the chord around one more time, you end up back in root position:


That’s the tonic triad and its inversions. Now let’s build chords using the other scale degrees as their roots.

Chords Built on the Remaining Scale Degrees in G Minor

Above we built a tonic triad in g minor. We can build a triad using any scale degree as the base note of the chord.

In addition, not all chords are limited to three pitches. Indeed, they often have many more! In the next section, let’s look first at the triads in g minor. Then we’ll go over the four-note chords.

Triads in G Minor

The tonic triad in g minor is a minor chord. Chords built on the other scale degrees will have different aural properties.

In fact, any minor scale, including g minor, will have the following types of chords: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, and major:

1. G minor, i, G-B-flat-D

2. A diminished, ii0, A-C-E-flat

3. B-flat major, III, B-flat, D-F

4. C minor, iv, C-E-G

5. D minor, v, D-F-A

(Note, however, that composers will often raise F by a half step to F-sharp, creating a major chord. They can do this because F-sharp is a pitch in the other two versions of the g minor scale [3]. The half step between F-sharp and G provides a more satisfying resolution than the whole step F to G.)

6. E-flat major, VI, E-flat-G-B-flat

7. F major, VII, F-A-C

1. G minor, i, G-B-flat-D

Four-Note Chords in G Minor

And, now the four-note chords:

1. G minor seventh, i7, G-B-flat, D, F

2. A minor seventh flat five (also known as a half-diminished chord), ii0, A-C-E-flat-G

3. B-flat major seventh, III7, B-flat-D-F-A

4. C minor seventh, iv7, C-E-flat-G-B-flat

5. D minor seventh, v7, D-F-A-C

(Again, see the note above about raising the F to F-sharp).

6. E-flat major seventh, VI7, E-flat-G-B-flat-D

7. F dominant seventh, VII7, F-A-C-E-flat

1. G minor seventh, i7, G-B-flat-D-F

Inversions of the G Minor Chords

Above, we went over how to invert the tonic triad in g minor. Inversions of the other triads follow the same pattern. For example, take the triad built on B-flat. It’s the III chord of the scale.

In root position, it looks like:


In first inversion, we move the D to the base (III6):


And, for second inversion, the F is now in the base (III6/4):

F, B-flat-D

The four-note chords work the same way. Again, let’s take the III7 chord. Root position is as follows:


Because there are four pitches, we can do three inversions of this chord. This is first inversion:

D-F-A-B-flat (III6/5)

Second inversion:

F-A-B-flat, D (III4/3)

Third inversion:

A-B-flat-D-F (III4/2)

The other chords will follow the same pattern.

Fingerings for the G Minor Chords

Often, chords will occur in a specific musical context. The movement from one chord to the next will help you determine what fingering you’ll use.

In general, though, a root position triad can be performed in your right hand this way: your thumb plays the root note, your middle finger plays the second pitch, and your pinky plays the top note.

The left hand is the opposite of the right. Your pinky plays the bottom note, the middle finger plays the middle note, and your thumb plays the top note:

Right-hand: 1-3-5

Left-hand: 5-3-1

For inversions, look at the chord from left to right. In first inversion, some of the pitches are closer together now. In the right hand, you can use:


But the left hand is still 5-3-1

For the second inversion, you can go back to 1-3-5 in the right hand and 5-3-1 in the left.

With a little practice, you’ll be playing the chords in g minor in no time!

Wrapping Up on the G Minor Chord

Now, you’re on your way to playing the g minor chord and the other chords in that key. You can check this blog for a more complete guide of piano chords.

If you need more help, no worries! Check out some of our other guides about keyboard technique and theory. We can also help you find the right keyboard for you!

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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