C minor key chords
The key of C minor can be connected to seven main chords, built from the notes in the key. To that can additional expanded chords be included. The table below list chords that are part of this key.
The table shows the relationship of all triads in this key. The roman numerals indicate scales degrees, but are also used to describe the function of the chord.
Triad chords in Cm key
To observe is that the key includes three minor and three major chords plus one, less used, diminished chord.
Notice that C minor is relative to Eb major and both include the same chords. But since there are three minor scales (Natural, Melodic and Harmonic), the C minor key can also include chords that normally aren't connected to Eb major.
Basic Cm chord progressions
The main chords in the C minor key are commonly played with barre fingerings on the guitar, an option is to use the open C Minor tuning. Here are some examples with progressions based on the Cm key including triads:
Cm - Ab - Bb - Cm
Cm - Bb - Fm
Cm - Eb - Bb
Eb - Fm - Cm
Eb - Gm - Ab - Gm
The typical way is to start and/or end the progressions with the i in a minor key chord progression.
Four-note chords in Cm key
To notice is that the key now includes a half-diminished chord (ii7b5) and a dominant seventh chord (VII7) in addition the minor and major chords.
Cm chord progressions
Here are some examples with progressions based on the Cm key including extended chords:
Cm7 - Fm7 - Bb7 - Ebmaj7
Cm - Ab - Ebmaj7 - Bb
Ebmaj7 - Fm7 - Gm7 - Cm7
Melodic and Harmonic C minor
Besides the natural minor scale, the melodic and harmonic scales can also be used as a fundament for chords progressions. The harmonic minor differs from the natural minor with a raised seventh; the melodic minor differs from the natural minor with raised sixth and seventh. Still, the majority of songs written in minor keys use the natural minor.
Triad chords in C Melodic minor
To notice is that the composition of chords now includes one augmented chord and two diminished chords. These chord groups are less convenient to creating chord progressions this will lessen the potential for the Melodic minor in this area.
One example with progression based on the Cm Melodic is:
Dm - G - F - Cm
Triad chords in C Harmonic minor
In this case, the composition of chords involve one augmented chord and two diminished chords, which gives similar aspects as for the Melodic scale.
One example with progression based on the Cm Harmonic is:
Fm - Ab - G - Cm
Key and chord chart
Dorian mode chord chart
Lydian mode chord chart
Mixolydian mode chord chart
Phrygian mode chord chart