Dave Clews explores minor chord progressions
Major and minor: the age-old struggle between good and evil. Well, maybe that’s taking things a bit far, but the point is, research supports the idea that everybody can recognise the difference between the upbeat vibe of a major key and the sadder feeling provoked by a minor key.
If you’re setting out to compose a tune in a particular mood, how do you know when you’re in a minor key? After all, three out of the seven chords that belong to a major key are, of course, also minor chords. So just because the majority of the chords in a song are minor, you’re not necessarily in a minor key – you might have stumbled across the three minor chords that are diatonic to a major key. As long as you like the result, no problem – but it’s always good to know where you stand.
Happy, uplifting major progressions don’t sit too well when staring out of rain-drenched windows while mourning a lost love, so romantic ballads tend to be in minor keys because of the sense of wistful yearning they evoke. Equally, what starts out in your head as an edgy dance tune might run the risk of sounding like a children’s record if you get the key wrong, so it’s good to know which chords to pick from to ensure you get the right vibe for your track. Below, I’ve set out a few tips on how to do just that…