Chords in the Key of E Minor

Let’s take a look at the chords that appear within the key of E Minor. We start with the scale and give each note a scale degree number:

E F# G A B C D# E
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

You’ll notice that as we are discussing harmony (chords), so we have used the harmonic form of the minor scale. To know more about scales and chords, you can check out the respective links. 

Below are the Primary and Secondary chords of the E harmonic minor scale. Remember the notation – capital romans for major chords, small romans for minor chords, small romans followed by ° for diminished chords, and small romans followed by + for augmented chords.

Primary Triads (Chords) in the Key of E Minor

Remember, to build the primary triads, we build the chords on the first, fourth and fifth degrees of the scale.

Chord i – E Minor: E G B

E Minor Chord

Chord iv- A Minor: A C E

A Minor Chord

Chord V- B Major: B D# F#

B Major Chord

While chords i and iv are minor, by using the harmonic form of the minor scale, (ie D# instead of D), we create a major triad as chord V. This pattern occurs in each minor key.  

Secondary Triads (Chords) in the Key of E Minor

Here are the secondary triads occurring in E Minor:

Chord ii° – F# diminished: F# A C

F# Diminished Chord

Chord iii+ – G Augmented: G B D

G Augmented Chord

Chord VI – C Major: C E G

C Major Chord

Notice that within a minor key, chord ii will be a diminished chord, chord III an augmented triad and chord VI a major. 

Chord vii° – D# diminished: D# F# A

Like in major scales, building a chord on the seventh note of the minor scale will produce a diminished chord. 

Extended Chords

By using the notes of the E Minor scale, we can build the following four-note seventh chords:

  • E Minor-Major 7th: E G B D#
  • F# Half-diminished: F# A C E
  • A Minor 7th: A C E G
  • B Dominant 7th  (B7): B D# F# A
  • C Major 7th: C E G B
  • D diminished 7th: D# F# A C

More Chords in different Keys:

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