Learn how to play the G minor piano scale! Discover the key signature, notes, chords, finger positions, and some fun songs in G minor.
Ready to learn how to play the G minor piano scale? In this article, we’ll show you the three different versions of this scale, plus the easiest finger patterns to learn them quickly. We’ll also build chords from the notes of this scale so you can harmonize music in the key of G minor.
There are three different versions of the G minor scale: natural minor, harmonic minor, and melodic minor. Each type of scale is built with a different combination of half and whole steps on the piano keys, all beginning on G. Once you know all the notes of each scale, you’ll have the tools to play songs and chords in the key of G minor.
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What does it mean when a song is in G minor?
Musicians say a song is in G minor when it uses the notes of the G minor scale. They also know if a song is in G minor by looking at the sheet music. On the page, the key signature of G minor shows two flats. You can also determine if a piece is major or minor by listening for the unique sound of minor chords: very somber, unlike the bright, cheerful sound of major chords. The piece will probably also cadence in G minor, which means phrases in the song begin and end with the G minor chord.
To find a song in G minor, look for B-flat and E-flat in the key signature. To determine if we are in a minor key or a relative major key, look to see what the first note of the piece is. If the first note of the piece begins on G or D, the tonic or dominant of G minor, your sheet music is probably in G minor. Next, see if you can find the end of a four-bar phrase. If your melody cadences, or ends, on G or D and you have two flats in the key signature, you are in G minor. You can also listen to the song and hear if it uses mostly minor chords.
Sometimes, a piece might not stay in the same key the entire time. Composers may modulate, or change keys, as they journey through the piece’s emotional landscape. Keys can relate to each other as relative major or minor, or parallel major or minor. G minor’s parallel major starts on the same note and is G major, and G minor’s relative major is Bb major and has the same key signature. Another way musical keys relate to one another is through the Circle of Fifths. A musician can move to a related scale through the circle of fifths by moving to the related dominant, or fifth scale degree. In this case, moving one key signature around the Circle of Fifths brings us to D minor or D major.
What are the notes of the G minor scale?
You can use these steps to build a minor scale on any note on the keyboard – the steps are the same for all minor scales. Natural minor is built by stepwise motion from the starting note, or tonic–whole step – half step – whole step – whole step – half step – whole step – whole step. Let’s begin by building a G natural minor scale. The G minor piano scale starts with G and will use two black keys. Start on G and take a whole step up to A, a half step to Bb, a whole step to C, a whole step to D, a half step to Eb, a whole step to F, and a whole step to G. It’s the same notes descending as ascending. If you are familiar with solfege, the natural minor scale in solfege is DO – RE – ME – FA – SO – LE – TE – do.
Next, we will build the G melodic minor scale. To create the melodic minor scale, raise the 6th and 7th degrees of the scale when it’s ascending. This changes the end of your minor scale to LA-TI-DO, which sounds more like a major scale. Because we are altering two scale degrees, the G melodic minor scale has different notes. The beginning of the scale is the same as it was in natural minor–G, whole step to A, a half step to Bb, a whole step to C, a whole step to D. At the 6th degree, it changes – a whole step to E, a whole step to F sharp and a half step to G. However, the descending G melodic minor scale returns to the same notes as in natural minor. The sixth and seventh scale degrees are lowered back.
Last, we have the G harmonic minor scale. This version incorporates qualities of both natural minor and melodic minor scales and has a unique sound because of the gap–a whole step plus a half step–between the 6th and 7th notes of the scale. The final notes are LE – TI – DO. The big gap between LE and TI creates is a unique sound, making harmonic minor unlike any other scale in Western music. The G harmonic minor scale ascending is G, whole step to A, a half step to Bb, a whole step to C, a whole step to D, a half step to Eb, one and a half steps to F sharp, and a half step to G.
How do you play the G minor scale on the piano?
The G minor piano scale uses the same finger patterns as G major for both the right and left hand.
- The right hand, beginning with the thumb on G, is 12312345.
- After the thumb plays G, our pointer finger plays A, and our middle finger plays Bb.
- Our thumb crosses under to C, our pointer finger plays D, our middle finger plays Eb, our ring finger plays F, and finally our pinky plays G.
- The left hand, beginning with the pinky on G, is 54321321.
- After the pinky plays G, the ring finger plays A. The middle finger plays Bb, the pointer finger plays C, and the thumb plays D.
- Next, our middle finger crosses over to play Eb, our pointer finger plays F, and our thumb plays G.
This finger pattern for the G minor piano scale stays the same for melodic and harmonic minor.
What are the chords in the key of G minor?
In the key of G minor, the chords will use the notes of the G minor scale, including the two flats in the key signature – Bb and Eb.
The G minor chord is the i chord, or tonic, and is made up of G-Bb-D, or DO-ME-SO in solfege. Remember, in minor, “ME” changes to “ME” because the third scale degree is flat. ME is pronounced “may.”
The next chord, built on A, is the ii chord, or supertonic. It is a diminished chord, and is made up of A-C-Eb. A diminished chord sounds crunchier than a minor chord, because there are fewer half steps between the middle and top notes of the chord.
Our next chord, built on Bb, is the III chord, or mediant. This chord is major in quality, and it’s spelled Bb-D-F. It’s also the tonic chord in our relative major key, Bb major!
Continuing up the scale, the next chord is the iv chord, or subdominant. It’s a minor chord and is built on C: C-Eb-G.
In a minor scale, the chord built on the fifth note is called the dominant, and it can be either major or minor. If we’re using the natural minor version of the G minor piano scale, the v chord is minor, with the notes D-F-A. On the other hand, if we use the harmonic minor version of the scale, the V chord is major: D-F#-A, and it can then be used to resolve the song. The change comes with the seventh note in the scale, F being raised to F#, or TE changing to TI. When it’s TI, it serves as the leading tone in our V chord and helps our ear resolve to G, the tonic.
The next chord is built on E-flat, the 6th note of the scale, making it our VI chord, or submediant. Another major chord: Eb-G-Bb.
At last we come to our VII chord, built on F if we’re using the G natural minor scale: F-A-C. It’s a major chord, and serves as the subtonic. If we use the G harmonic minor scale, the seventh note becomes F-sharp, and our vii chord becomes F#-A-C. Now it’s diminished in quality, sounding angry and confused, and serves as the leading tone chord.
What songs are in the key of G minor?
Now that you’ve practiced the G minor piano scales and chords, it’s time to put your knowledge to work in a song. A fun, seasonal piece in G minor is “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. You can also practice the musical skill of transposition. Try playing “Wild Horses” from Hoffman Academy Lesson #39 in G minor instead of D minor. To do this, move the starting note to G. To prepare for learning and playing songs in the key of G minor, you should practice your G minor piano scale, finger patterns, and chords. We hope you enjoy playing adding chords to your songs in G minor with Hoffman Academy!
The notes of the G Minor scale are G A Bb C D Eb F. It's key signature has 2 flats. Press play to listen to the scale.What is the hardest minor scale? ›
Those scales are B-flat and E-flat. For that reason, it is arguable that those scales may be the most difficult.Is G minor the same as B flat major? ›
G Minor is the relative minor of B flat Major. You can work this out because G is the sixth note of Bb Major. This means that they both share a key signature and have two flats, Bb and Eb.Is G minor hard? ›
The G Minor one was more difficult to sight read and the middle section is hard to play with the voicing while the marcia section is easier in my opinion because it fits very well with the hand. The only trouble with the marcia section to sight read is the jumps between the bass notes and the in between chords.What is the formula for a minor scale? ›
Minor scales are built with a formula of half and whole steps as follows: W, H, W, W, H, W, W. Major scales are built with a formula of half and whole steps like this: W, W, H, W, W, W, H. Basically, they're built from a different sequence of half and whole steps, which changes the sound of the scale.What is the difference between G major and G minor? ›
The difference between the G natural minor scale and the G major scale is that the 3rd, 6th and 7th note positions of the major scale are lowered by one half-tone / semitone.What are the semitones in G minor? ›
In G Minor, the middle note is 4 semitones above the root. We call this note the 'third' because it is three whole notes from the root, G. On a piano, a semi-tone step is simply a key up or down from the current key. So, we can count four keys (or 3 whole notes) up from G to reach the third – B♭.What is the saddest minor scale? ›
Historically, classical composers felt that D minor was the most melancholy of the keys, suitable for lamentations, dirges and requiems.What is the most difficult key to play in piano? ›
There is an order of the keys in terms of difficulty, and it is counterintuitive. The most difficult key is C major! In general, the keys that are easiest to learn are simultaneously the least natural for the hand. As a rule of thumb, the more black keys in a given key signature, the more comfortable it will be.What is the easiest minor scale to play? ›
Start with the natural minor, because it is the easiest to learn and remember, and it's also the most common minor scale used in popular music.
The dominant of G minor is D7, which is D, F#, A and C. The note that adds chromaticism here is F#.What keys are closely related to G minor? ›
G minor is a minor scale based on G, consisting of the pitches G, A, B♭, C, D, E♭, and F. Its key signature has two flats. Its relative major is B-flat major and its parallel major is G major.What is the dominant chord in G minor? ›
The G minor chord v is the D minor chord, and contains the notes D, F, and A. This dominant chord's root / starting note is the 5th note (or scale degree) of the G natural minor scale. The roman numeral for number 5 is 'v' and is used to indicate this is the 5th triad chord in the scale.What is special about G minor? ›
Pauer saw the key of G minor as the key for the sentimental, but not the passionate. Its affect covers sadness, sometimes quiet and sedate joy, and a gentle grace with a slight touch of dreamy melancholy. Occasionally it rises to a romantic elevation – it can't reach the passionate because of its innate sweetness.How do you play G minor without bar? ›
A simplified version of the G minor chord requires only placing your index finger on the first 3 strings (E, B & G) on the third fret. The change lies within placing just your ring finger on the fourth (D) string on the 5th fret.What is an example of G minor? ›
For example, the notes of the G natural minor scale are G – A – B♭- C – D – E♭- F – G. For the G harmonic minor scale, the notes are G – A – B♭- C – D – E♭- F# – G. The seventh note of the scale has been changed from F to F#. It's now a half step (or semitone) higher.What level is Rachmaninoff Prelude in G minor? ›
|Title||Prelude in G minor No 5 from 10 preludes Op 23|
- i-III-VII (g minor, Bb Major, F Major)
- i-VII-VI-III (g minor, F Major, Eb Major)
- i-VI-III-VII (g minor, Eb Major, F Major)
- i-V7-III-VII (g minor, d minor 7, F Major)
G minor is very much a rock and roll-style key, and the main example that we'll be looking at today reflects that. In a soloing context, the G minor pentatonic scale can be played over a few different keys including G minor, Bb major and G major.What are the 3 types of minor scales formula? ›
MINOR SCALES: There are 3 forms of minor scales: natural, harmonic and melodic.
To find the main chords used in a Major scale, the order starting from the root note will be Major, minor, minor, Major, Major, minor, diminished. To find the main chords used in a minor scale, the order starting from the root note will be minor, diminished, Major, minor, minor, Major, Major.Is G minor the same as F sharp? ›
F-sharp minor and G-flat minor are both names for the same series of tones.Why is G major so popular? ›
The G major key signature
One of the reasons the key of G is so popular is because it is relatively easy for guitarists and other musicians to play. Part of this comes from the fact that it only has one sharp (F). Also, the finger position on the guitar frets is not overly complex.
The G major triad, more commonly called the G major chord or simply the G chord for short, consists of the notes G, B and D.What are the 5 positions of the G minor pentatonic scale? ›
The notes of the G Minor Pentatonic Scale are G – B♭ – C – D – F.What pentatonic scale is used for key of G? ›
In the G major pentatonic scale, you will play the seven notes repeated in the G major scale, minus the fourth and seventh note. Similar to the C major, the G major pentatonic scale has no sharps or flats.What rules does a minor scale follow? ›
The minor scale is created with a formula, just like the major scale. The formula for the minor scale is whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole. This formula is the same sequence as the major scale formula, but it begins on a different note.What is the happiest key? ›
Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major.What is the happiest piano scale? ›
The Major Pentatonic is the Happiest scale.What is the happiest scale? ›
The happiest chord progression is the I-IV-V progression which, at one point, was also the most common progression in popular music. What makes it so happy is that it's just the 3 major chords of the regular major scale, the tonic, the sub-dominant, and the dominant.
A-sharp minor is likely the least used minor key in music as it is not generally considered a practical key for composition.What is the 2nd hardest song to play on piano? ›
- “Gaspard de la Nuit” – Maurice Ravel.
- Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 – Franz Liszt.
- “Mists” – Iannis Xenakis.
- “Hammerklavier” (Sonata No. 29 Op. ...
- “Giant Steps” – John Coltrane.
- Sonata No. 5 – Alexander Scriabin.
- “L'escalier du diable” (“The Devil's Staircase”) – György Ligeti.
- Playing the Most Difficult Piano Songs.
From there it's an easy skip to D, the root of today's subject, the “saddest key,” D minor. That the key of D minor is the key of true sorrow is ostensibly inarguable at this point in time.Which minor scale is most used? ›
The natural minor scale is the most common minor scale, and the default when a musician refers to “a minor scale” or “minor.” The natural minor scale pattern features the same exact notes as the Aeolian mode in modal music.What is the most important minor scale? ›
The Natural Minor scale is one of the most important minor scales. The Natural Minor Scale Degrees in relation to its Parallel Major scale are shown below. The Natural Minor scale in the Key of C Minor is shown below in the diagram of the piano keyboard.Which minor scale should I learn first? ›
What scale should I learn first? Well the most common scale to learn first is the Minor Pentatonic Scale. That's the one that I recommend that you start with and it is included in my beginners course. Once you have that one down (and can use it) then you should explore the Major Scale.What is G minor relative to? ›
G minor's parallel major starts on the same note and is G major, and G minor's relative major is Bb major and has the same key signature. Another way musical keys relate to one another is through the Circle of Fifths.How many sharps are in G minor? ›
G# Minor Scale
It's key signature has 5 sharps.
This means that G Major and E Minor share the same key signature and have one sharp, F#. This means that both scales are identical except for the fact that E Minor starts on an 'E' and G Major starts on a 'G'.
G minor - Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.What major scale has G as the dominant? ›
G major (or the key of G) is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F♯. Its key signature has one sharp. Its relative minor is E minor and its parallel minor is G minor.What is the chord progression for the G minor scale on piano? ›
The chord progression goes Gm – E♭m – Gm – Gm7 – F7 – E♭6. The 7ths and 6th in this progression shares an extra note with the preceding or folowing chord, making the transition a little smoother.What chords go with G minor scale? ›
- i – VI – VII (Gm – Eb – F)
- i – iv – VII (Gm – Cm – F)
- i – iv – v (Gm – Cm – Dm)
- i – VI – III – VII (Gm – Eb – Bb – F)
- ii – v – I (Am7b5 – Dm – Gm)
G minor - Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.What finger is G minor on? ›
The G Minor chord
Place the tip of your first finger on the sixth string at the third fret. Flatten your finger and press down to make a barre across to the first string. Put your third finger on the fifth fret of the fifth string. Put your fourth finger on the fifth fret of the fourth string.
To play the G major scale in open position properly, use your index finger to play notes on the first fret, your middle finger for notes on the second, your ring finger for notes on the third, and your pinkie for notes on the fourth.What chords work in G minor? ›
- i-III-VII (g minor, Bb Major, F Major)
- i-VII-VI-III (g minor, F Major, Eb Major)
- i-VI-III-VII (g minor, Eb Major, F Major)
- i-V7-III-VII (g minor, d minor 7, F Major)
- iV-VI-i-VII (c minor, Eb Major, g minor, F Major)
The G minor triad, more commonly called the G minor chord, is a minor triad consisting of the notes G, B-flat and D. Here it is on the bass clef staff: As a minor triad, the G minor chord consists of a minor third plus a major third.What minor chords are in the key of G major? ›
The key of G major mostly uses the notes of the G major scale, which are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F♯. The key signature has one sharp, F♯, and its relative minor key is E minor.
The G minor 7 (typically written as Gm7) is similar in shape and sound to the Gm chord. It delivers players and listeners a sound associated with uneasiness and a feeling of discontent. Its sound produces an anxious feeling that builds concern and passion in songs that incorporate its use.What is G minor used for? ›
G minor is the only minor key he used as a main key for his numbered symphonies (No. 25, and the famous No. 40). In the Classical period, symphonies in G minor almost always used four horns, two in G and two in B-flat alto.What is the triad of G minor? ›
The G minor chord is a triad formed from a root (G), a minor third (B♭) and a perfect fifth (D).