Part Sixteen

A Big Map for C Minor


When  we were studying major keys, we expanded the Simple Map to include secondary chords. Adding secondary chords to the Simple Map for C minor looks like this.

A Few Things to Think About


There are a number of chords in circles on the left and upper right. The general principle is that you can use these chords whenever you like, but when you do there is a fairly strong pull to follow the arrows back toward the square boxes.


The Cm/Eb location in the middle of the diagram can be used as a pathway between the Fm box and the D° (D diminished) box. It works in either direction.


The Fm7 box is another way to return to Cm from the D° box.


The Fm/C and G/C location at the lower right demonstrates the idea that sometimes a bass note can be kept right where it is while the chord changes above it. Using C as the bass note while switching the chord from Cm to Fm to G gives an interesting effect.


The Cm/G location is very important. We mentioned it in Part 15. In this location, we are playing the Cm chord, but the bass note is G. This sets up the progression G to Cm. Quite a few options can come just before Cm/G. These options include Fm, Db/F, D°, B°/D, F#°7, and Ab7. (Note: in classical music theory, the Ab7 chord has a different name. It’s called Abaug6. But the notes under your hand are the same as Ab7.)


Finally, the Ab to Bb to Cm location at the lower left is not seen very often in the middle of a song, but might be seen as part of an ending.


Time to Review


Just as in the major keys, when secondary chords are added to the minor map, many new options come into the picture. You may not need these options at first. Many songs are written using only the chords in the Simple Map.  But as your chord vocabulary grows, some of these ideas will become valuable. Exploring them, following the various pathways, and learning how they each sound, will give you new tools on your journey toward becoming a stronger musician and songwriter.


Harmonic minor scale diagrams and minor key maps are here in Minor Key Charts and Maps.


When you are ready, move on to Part Seventeen.

Copyright 1998 - 2018 Stephen Mugglin

Permission is given to make not-for-profit copies of this material.

The materials presented in Section 1 (Parts 1-12) are available as
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First Steps in Keyboard PDF eBook Series is available. Learn to play 
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