We know that for songs written in a major tonality, the I, IV, V chords are the most used. The II chord is used often, the III and VI chords a slightly less often, and you almost never see the VII chord.

Are there similar trends found in the chords used in songs having minor tonality?

I know that while the major songs tend to use the V chord heavily, minor songs tend to use the relative major chord (the III chord). So I thought the common chords might be different for major and minor tonalities. I couldn't find anything on the Internet that explains that.

  • 3
    "We know that..." - how? Dec 30, 2017 at 16:25
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    And by "relevant" do you mean "most used"?
    – Richard
    Dec 30, 2017 at 16:26
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    @TheChaz2.0 - mainly because they're the most used chords! But how that gets translated to degrees - help!!
    – Tim
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:45
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    As it stands, the question doesn't make sense. A degree of a scale is a particular note - in A maj., the 3rd degree is C#. I have a suspicion you mean chords built on a degree. Do you?
    – Tim
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:47
  • Welcome to the site and Happy New Year! I couldn't find anything on the internet that explains that - Suggestion: a live teacher/course and some real music books. Music is deep and important-it deserves serious study, like any other serious discipline - not enough to just browse around the internet and hope that by dumb luck you'll find a site that is reliable (most of them aren't...) As you can see from the comments, your internet study has not served you well. Nobody quite knows what you're saying (I don't either.) Don't take this personally-just explaining how music should be learned.
    – Stinkfoot
    Dec 30, 2017 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


In minor keys, most of the time i, iv, and V (often V7) are used. As for other scale degrees, you often see VI, but the other scale degrees aren't seen as often. ii° and vii° are diminished and need special resolution to sound good, while III+ is augmented and hard to fit in anywhere.

Here is an image of triads built on the various scale degrees (remember that the harmonic minor is used most commonly):
Triads built on minor scale

  • +1, I think this is a clear answer that does a nice job of taking cues from the question about the level of depth and analysis/explanation is appropriate. In addition to the chords you mention, the IIIMaj chord (not augmented) is pretty common in pop music (e.g., in a i-III-iv progression), and a vmin chord (minor rather than major or dom7) is also quite common.
    – jdjazz
    Jan 1, 2018 at 17:04

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