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A Minor piano chord & inversions: Am, Am/C, Am/E

a minor chord piano

The first minor chord many people learn on the piano is the A minor chord! This easy minor chord is the relative of C major, making it a great first chord to learn if you are into playing pop songs or worship songs.

Before you learn this chord, I recommend knowing some basic major chords first—C major, G major, and F major.

You actually don’t have to learn ALL the major chords before coming to A minor. A minor is a chord frequently used in songs with C, G, and F major and it is quite easy to learn. So as long as you know those 3, you’re good to learn Am!

What is the A minor chord on piano?

The A minor chord is a minor triad starting on A, with no sharps or flats. It is formed just like any other minor chord—by taking the major chord and lowering the third a half step. If that sounds tricky now, don’t worry! The diagrams and tips I have for you should help.

How do you play A minor on the keyboard?

You will play an A minor chord simply by pressing down the 3 notes in the triad simultaneously. See below for a diagram on which notes are included.

Notes in a A Minor Chord

In it’s simplest form (root position) the A minor chord includes 3 notes: A, C, and E. A is the root of the chord, the C the minor third, and the E the perfect fifth. Below you can see A minor on the keyboard!

a minor chord keyboard diagram

Am Chord Piano Finger Position

Whenever you play the A minor chord (and all chords for that matter) it is important to think about fingering. Fingering is one of those things that can seem annoying in the moment but it is SO helpful later on. So don’t ignore this step!

The nice thing is that the fingerings for minor chords are always the same. And even better, the fingering is the same as major chords! Even though the number of flats and sharps vary, the fingering remains the same.

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

Don’t forget that finger 1 is your thumb, finger 3 your middle finger, and finger 5 your pinky.

Am Piano Chord Inversions

After you learn the basic A minor triad, the next step is inversions! If you’ve already learned your major chords, you should know that inversions are basically just the same notes in the triad but mixed up in a different order.

Am/C – First Inversion Chord

A minor first inversion is known as Am/C. This is because the C is now on the bottom, followed by E, and then A on the top.

am/c chord diagram piano

Right Hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

Am/E – Second Inversion Chord

A minor second inversion is known as Am/E, for the same reason as the previous chord. This time, the E is on the bottom, followed by A, and C on top.

Am/E piano chord diagram

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5

It is a good idea to practice your inversions in BOTH hands—separately, and then together when you’re ready. Practice starting on the root chord (most basic Am). Go up to first and second inversion, play the root again on top, and then come back down.

A Minor Inversions on the Staff

It is a good idea not only to play the A minor inversions, but to see what they look like written out on the staff. The more you study this, the easier it will be to recognize A minor chords and inversions in an actual piece of music!

a minor inversions on the staff

What chords are in the key of A Minor?

A minor is not just a chord. It is its own key and scale too! And guess what? A new chord can be built off of every note in the A minor scale. Knowing these chords is particularly helpful because they all sound nice together (try switching between them in the left hand and improvising in the right hand!)

Here’s a quick list of all the chords in the key of A minor:

A Minor Chord Progressions

The best way to use those chords listed above is to put them into a chord progression! This is simply an order of playing a few chords that is often repeated multiple times. Here are a few of my favorite A minor chord progressions:

  • Am – F – C – G (i – VI – III – VII)
  • Dm – C – Am – G (iv, III, i, VII)
  • Am – C – Dm – F (i, III, iv, VI)

More Questions About A Minor

Is A minor the same as C major?

No. An A minor chord is different than a C major chord. They are made up of different notes. However, the key signature for these two keys is the same (0 sharps & flats). This is because A minor is known as the relative minor key to C major.

Is A minor the same thing as A major?

No. The A major chord has a raised third, while the A minor chord has a lowered third. A major is spelled A, C#, E, while A minor is simply A, C, E.

How do you play A minor in the left hand on piano?

You can play the A minor chord in the left hand just like you play the right hand. You’ll start on the A below middle C. You can play the root chord in the left hand, and inversions in the left hand too.

Conclusion

The A minor chord is a great beginner chord to learn! The notes and fingerings are very easy, and you can play it along with major chords like C and G. To practice this chord, first figure out the notes and the fingers to place on them. Then, go over inversions. Eventually, you can learn the scale and other chords in the key too—you got this!