Saw this progression C-Em-Gm-Dm in C. Where does the G minor chord exactly come from? I only borrowed from the relative (Am) and the parallel minor (Cm). Thanks


You borrowed it from the parallel minor - C minor. Forgetting the notes which constitute the harmonic minor; those from the descending classic melodic, and also the natural minor will give G, Bb and D, making that Gm chord. That natural minor also goes under the guise of the C Aeolian mode. Notes are - C D Eb F G Ab Bb.


It doesn't have to come from anywhere. It includes two notes from the C scale - G and D - which is why it doesn't sound too 'left field'. That's as much justification as it needs.

Let's be honest, we could take ANY chord, and latch a 'borrowing' excuse onto it. Much more use to think in terms of voice leading, resolution of tensions, patterns etc. than of what scale or mode might have 'lent' it.

  • Thank you for taking the time. It opened up the new questions for me and things to learn ie. which notes are of a chord are important for not losing the quality. I presume 5th and 7th from your answer. Interesting.
    – Rainman
    Mar 19 '18 at 13:38
  • No. The 5th is actually the most dispensible note in a triad-based chord. The root tells you WHAT chord it is. The third tells you if it's major or minor. If there's a seventh, in a dominant 7th shape chord, that and the third are the main tension notes. But the poor old fifth is just a filler. The G and D in our example aren't particularly the defining notes of the chord, just the ones which connects it to the C major scale. Mar 20 '18 at 0:21

Perhaps from the F major scale, which has a Bb? If so, instead of I - III - Vm - II, it would be V - VII# - II - VI...

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