In this lesson we will learn how to play an F minor chord on piano and keyboard. This chord, like other minor triads is formed by combining the root, flat third (minor third) and perfect fifth of the major scale.
For an F major scale, the notes are F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E. A is the major 3rd or 3rd note of the scale. To form the Fm chord, you would need to play this 3rd note of the scale a half step (semitone lower). In other words instead of playing the note A, you play Ab. The notes of the F minor chord are F – Ab – C. F is note 1, Ab is the b3 (flat third) and C is note 5 of the major scale. If you already know how to play an F major chord (F – A – C), all you do is lower the middle note of this chord, A by a half step.
This chord can be written as follows: Fm, Fmin, and F – (F followed by a minus sign). “F -” is less common.
Fmin like other minor chords is a combination of a minor third and major third interval. F to Ab is a minor third interval while Ab to C is a major third interval. A minor third interval is three half steps higher than a particular note while a major third interval is four half steps (or two whole steps) higher than a certain note. Take a look at your piano keyboard and you will notice that Ab is three keys to the right of F. These are 3 semitones (or 3 half steps). C is four keys to the right of Ab. These are four semitones (or four half steps).
The formula for forming a minor chord is R + 3HS + 4HS (root plus 3 half steps plus four half steps). Simply find the note F on your keyboard. This note is the note to the immediate left of the set of three black keys. Now move three half steps higher (or 3 keys) to Ab, then from Ab, move 4 half steps (or 4 keys) higher to C.
Another way to think of a minor chord is in terms of skipping keys. Find the root note, F, skip two keys and play the next note, Ab. From Ab, skip 3 keys and play the note, C.
Until now, we’ve looked at the F minor chord in its root position only. We’ve placed the root note F at the bottom, Ab in the middle and C at the top (F – Ab – C). It’s not time to talk about the first inversion and second inversion of the Fmin chord.
For the first inversion of the Fm chord, the notes are in the order Ab – C – F. Ab is at the bottom, C is in the middle and the highest note is F. F is played an octave higher.
For the second inversion of the chord, the notes are in the order C – F – Ab. This means that C is at the bottom, F in the middle and Ab at the top.
How about the fingering of this chord? Firstly, for those who don’t know or need to refresh, the fingers of the right hand are numbered from 1 to 5. The thumb is number 1, index finger is number 2, middle finger is number 3, ring finger is number 4 and little (pinky) finger is number 5.
In root position, the fingering for the F minor chord is 1 – 3 – 5. The thumb plays F, middle finger plays Ab and little finger plays C.
For the 1st inversion of the chord the fingering is 1 – 2 – 5. This means that you play Ab with your thumb, C with your index finger and F with your little finger.
For the 2nd inversion of F- chord, the fingering is 1 – 3 – 4. Play C with your thumb, F with your middle finger and Ab with your ring finger.
Video on How To Play an F Minor Chord
Here’s a video showing how to play the Fm chord on piano.
The following are keys where this chord occurs naturally.
In the key of F minor, the F minor chord is chord i. In the key of Ab major, it’s chord vi. In the key of C minor, it’s chord iv. In the key of Eb major, it’s chord ii. In the Bb minor key it’s chord v and in the key of Db, it’s chord iii.