As I understand it, one builds the dominant triad of a minor key using its harmonic scale based on the dominant, leading tone and supertonic notes. Under this criteria I seem to get some weird concoctions for the indicated minor keys …

A♯ minor --> E♯, A/(G♯♯), B♯
D♯ minor --> A♯, D/(C♯♯), E♯
G♯ minor --> D♯, G/(F♯♯), A♯

Is this correct?

  • 1
    Stuff like this is why I strongly prefer writing music in E flat minor instead of D sharp minor.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 3, 2019 at 0:59
  • What is the question here? All these chords are correct except for the D# chord which has a A#.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 3, 2019 at 7:22
  • 1
    Is there a reason for using A# minor and D# minor instead of Bb and Eb minor? Jan 3, 2019 at 19:48
  • 1
    A sharp minor?! Yikes... Because you're using the sharp forms of the keys, you will need to use the ♯♯ notation. Using B♭, E♭, and A♭ minors would be way easier for this (and just in general, with the exception of sometimes G♯)
    – user45266
    Jan 11, 2019 at 15:51
  • 1
    I think G#m would be normal rather that Abm. 5 sharps versus 7 flats. Every tone flatted for Abm! Jan 11, 2019 at 16:02

4 Answers 4


I'm not 100% sure what your question is, but your chords are correct, with two small adjustments:

  • In A♯ and D♯ minor, we must spell the thirds of the dominant chord as G-doublesharp and C-doublesharp, respectively. These triads are what are called tertian sonorities, and as such they must be spelled in thirds; G-doublesharp and C-doublesharp are thirds above their roots (E♯ and A♯), whereas A and D are fourths above those roots.
  • In G♯ minor, the correct pitches will be D♯, F-doublesharp, and A♯ (you currently have A♮).

If your question is "are these doublesharps correct?", then the answer is yes!

  • Richard, some of the pitch letters in your answer are followed by a box (e.g. D#, Fbox, A#). This is probably because my laptop doesn't recognize the character code. Are the boxes special characters? BTW many thx for the reply. Jan 3, 2019 at 1:03
  • 2
    @DickRitchie Those are doublesharps. I'll edit accordingly!
    – Richard
    Jan 3, 2019 at 1:07
  • Doesn't 'x' work for double sharp?
    – Tim
    Jan 3, 2019 at 10:35
  • 1
    @Tim Yeah, but it somehow always looks odd to me, so I just wrote it out.
    – Richard
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:12

I'll add an answer just to show how using standard key signatures and chord spellings will probably make things easier to understand.

The main reason to use Bb versus A# and Eb versus D# for minor keys is the arrangement of tonics on the circle of fifths where starting with A for minor keys ascending by fifths gives us keys with sharps and descending by fifths gives us keys with flats. The practical implications of that are:

A# minor would require 7 sharps! Bb minor requires only 5 flats. Granted that's a lot of flats but it still is easier to read.

D# minor would use 6 sharps which is the same number of flats for Eb minor. That would seems to make them about the same, but when raising the ^7 scale degree for the leading tone we would need a double sharp Cx in D# minor and only a natural D♮ in Eb minor. Double sharps and flats are considered hard to read.

Also, spelling chords in thirds makes their identifies and inversions clearer. I could write C F♭ G but it's much clear to write C E G to see it is a triad. The other - with F looks almost like a suspension at first glance.

The original spellings...

A# minor --> E#, A/(G##), B# 
D# minor --> A#, D/(C##), E# 
G# minor --> D#, G/(F##), A# 

On staff...

enter image description here

...it may seem like a subtle difference, but playing double sharps and flats is confusing, because you end up playing what seems like a natural, ie. Gx looks like A natural.

If we use the standard key signature and spellings in thirds we get...

Bb minor --> F, A♮, C
Eb minor --> Bb, D♮, F
G# minor --> D#, Fx, A# 

On staff...

enter image description here

...again, it may not seem like a big change, but we eliminate two double sharps and an unnecessary sharp.

I know you did not ask directly about key signatures, but...

...I seem to get some weird concoctions for the indicated minor keys...

I think the reason you got weird and confusing results isn't from misunderstanding how the dominant chord is constructed in minor keys, but by not following the conventions of key signatures and chord spellings. I hope explaining those conventions helps.

  • WOW, bit of a Pandora's box but really appreciated. Further to this however, I can find no pop chord symbols for dominant triads for any particular key being played. But from my reading, I'm guessing that using the root letter of the triad to relate to the associated major key tonic triad would be the same. Is this correct? Jan 5, 2019 at 22:01
  • @DickRitchie, that's right about pop chord symbols. Since the dominant triad is simply a major chord only a capital letter is used, like "G" to mean G major triad. Of course that doesn't distinguish it's function with a tonic major triad. That's the downside of such shorthand systems. You might put a '7' on the chord to make the dominant identity clear, like "G7." Jan 7, 2019 at 13:57
  • If you really didn't want the 7th that would be misleading, however pop/jazz chords are often 'interpreted' by the performers who sometimes add/omit tones. In that sense the '7' could a sort of hint the chord is a dominant and thereby imply a key. Jan 7, 2019 at 13:59
  • Great answer! Are your first two key signatures switched, or am I crazy?
    – Richard
    Jan 11, 2019 at 14:44
  • I switched Bbm for A#m and Ebm for D#m to illustrate the enharmonic change. Did I get something wrong? I admit these are tricky spellings for me! My intention is to show Bbm is easier to read and spell than A#m. Jan 11, 2019 at 15:54

Yes, that's correct (apart from the A in G# minor, should be A#). That's why we rarely use A# minor (or A# major for that matter). The spelling falls into place much better if we call it Bb minor.


It's so simple: You just write the chords as a-minor, d-minor and g-minor (where the third has to be altered #). Then you add to every note of the triad another sharp, that means the third needs a double sharp: x or maybe ##) but to transcribe the en-harmonic doesn't make sense as the third has to be the lead tone.

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