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  • Candice Alderfer

The Building Blocks of (Minor) Triads

Updated: May 1, 2019

In my last post I dove into major triads and the intervals used to create them. If you understand major triads then comprehending the difference to changing a major triad to a minor triad will be a breeze. With minor triads, the positions of the notes still remain the same in the sense where we take the first, third and fifth scale degree. The only difference is that we flatten the third by a half step. Let's take a look once again at a C Major Triad.


C E G


C is positioned as the root note, E being the third and G being the fifth. The interval between C and E is a Major third and between E and G is a minor third. To make this major triad into a minor triad we need to follow another specific formula. We need to make the distance between the root (C) and third(E) a minor third interval and a Major third interval between the third (E) and fifth (G). The chord will now look like this:


C Eb G


There are three half steps between C and E and four half steps between E and G. In other words, we switched the formula around of a Major triad to make it minor.


Major 3rd Interval + minor 3rd interval = Major Triad

minor 3rd Interval + Major 3rd Interval = minor Triad


Let's create a D minor triad this time.


D E F# G A B C#

1 3 5


D F# A Is our major triad. Now, remember: to make this triad a minor triad we take the third of the triad and flatten the note by a half step. This means that F# will now become an F.


D F A

Between D and F, the interval is a minor 3rd (3 half steps). Between F and A, the interval is a Major 3rd (4 half steps). Between D and A, the interval is a Perfect 5th. All together, between the root and 5th, there are seven half steps in between total.


There you have it, easy as that. Memorize your scales people! Once you are comfortable enough with knowing your major scales by heart, building chords will seem like less of a challenge to tackle. You won't have to use a piano to count your steps, you will just know how to plug in the right notes to make triads.


I hope this was helpful! Like I always say, please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions down below!





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