This lesson is all about the E flat minor chord. There are various ways to represent this chord: Ebm, Ebmin, Eb- (Eb with a minus sign). We shall use all of them here, interchangeably.
We will learn how to form Ebm chord on piano. This chord is formed by combining the root, flat third and perfect fifth of the major scale. These are notes, 1, 2 and b3 (b stands for flat) of the major scale.
The notes of the E flat major scale are Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C and D. Eb is the root or tonic, F is the major second, G is the major third, Ab is the perfect fourth, Bb is the perfect fifth, C is the major sixth and D is the major seventh of the major scale.
Notice that the third note of the scale is G. For a minor chordwe have to lower this note by a half step. This gives us the note Gb. Therefore the notes of the Eb minor chord are Eb – Gb – Ab.
If you already know how to play an Eb major chord, playing the Ebmin chord is as simple as replacing the middle note, G with Gb. Simply play the black key just before G on your piano.
You can form the Ebm chord by using a formula of half steps. This formula is R + 3HS + 4HS (root plus 3 half steps + 4 half steps). What this means is that to form a minor chord you can start on any key on your keyboard, move 3 half steps higher (three keys higher) to a key then 4 half steps higher to another key. Locate Eb on your piano. Eb is the second black key in the set of two black keys on your piano. Move 3 half steps to Gb, then 4 half steps to Bb.
You can also think of forming this chord in terms of skipping keys. Start on Eb, skip 2 keys to arrive on G, then 3 keys to arrive on Bb and there you have it… an Eb minor chord!
We’ve been looking at the E flat minor chord in its root position. In root position the notes of the chord are in the order, Eb – Gb – Bb, where Eb is the lowest note, Gb is in the middle and Bb is the highest note.
We can change this around and play Eb one octave higher. This would give us Gb – Bb – Eb, where Gb is the lowest note, Bb is in the middle and Eb is the highest. This is the 1st inversion of the Eb- chord.
How about playing Gb one octave higher? This would give us Bb – Eb – Gb. This is the second inversion of the chord.
And now for the fingering of the Ebm chord in root position and 1st and 2nd inversions. Let’s find out the possible fingerings for the chord.
In root position, you can play Eb with the 1st finger (thumb), Gb with the 3rd (middle finger) and Bb with the 5th (little finger).
For the 1st inversion, you can play Gb with the first finger, Bb with the 2nd (index finger) and Eb with the 5th finger.
For the second inversion, you can play Bb with the 1st finger, Eb with the 3rd and Gb with the 5th.
Video: How To Play an E Flat Minor Chord On Piano
Here’s a video on how to play an E flat minor chord in root position, 1st and 2nd inversions.
The Eb minor chord occurs naturally in the following keys:
- Eb minor (chord i) / Gb major (chord vi)
- Bb minor (chord iv) / Db major (chord ii)
- Ab minor (chord v) / Cb major (chord iii)