In this article you’ll learn how to construct the E minor triad as well as how to play it on piano and guitar.
We’ve also included sections on inversions for those that want a deeper understanding. Lastly, listen to some examples of popular songs that featured this triad.
Root, 3rd and 5th
The E minor triad is formed of the 1st, flat 3rd and flat 5th of the E major scale.
- E – root note
- G – minor 3rd above the root
- B – perfect 5th above the root
Here is the triad written on the stave in the treble and bass clef.
Before you read on make sure that you have a basic understanding of intervals. Intervals are vital for understanding how triads are built. Check out our guide to major, minor and perfect intervals for more on this.
E Minor Triad on Piano
Below you can see how to play this triad on the keyboard or piano. This pattern of notes could also be played starting on any E natural note.
However, the order of the notes must be the same:
- E – lowest note
- G – middle note
- B – highest note
This is called ‘root position’.
E Min Triad on Guitar
There are two simple positions that you can use to play an E min chord on guitar. Both positions can also be slide up or down the neck to play different minor triads.
A 1st inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the second note, which in this case is G natural. We still keep the B above, but then the E (or root) become the highest note.
This way of rearranging a triad gives us a different sound as the relative pitches of the three notes has changed.
- G – lowest note
- B – middle note
- E – highest note
1st inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 1st inversion of a E Min triad by starting on a G. They play the B above and the E above this.
1st Inversion on Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a E minor chord in the 1st inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
A 2nd inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the third note, which in this case is B natural. We play the E above then the G becomes the highest note in the chord.
- B – perfect 5th (lowest note)
- E – root note (middle note)
- G – minor 3rd (highest note)
We could construct a 2nd inversion starting on any B note in any octave. The only thing that must stay the same is that the we use the E above and the G above that.
2nd inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 2nd inversion of a E Min triad by starting on a B natural. They play the E above and the G above this.
2nd Inversion on Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a E minor chord in the 2nd inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
Triads from the E Minor Scale
By looking at the E Minor scale we can actually make triads built on each note and only using notes from E minor. Below you can see a list of each triad we will create be starting on different notes of the scale.
- E Minor
- F# Dim
- G Major
- A Minor
- B Minor
- C Major
- D Major
Famous Songs in E Minor
Here’s 3 famous examples of songs in a E Minor key. For this reason, they use E Minor triads, as the root note chord, priminently in their chord progressions.
‘Eleanor Rigby’ – The beatles
“Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles is a poignant classic that paints a portrait of loneliness and isolation. It showcases the band’s lyrical depth and innovative approach to songwriting.
‘The Chain’ – Fleetwood Mac
“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac is a timeless rock anthem that combines intricate harmonies with a driving rhythm. The song is known for its memorable guitar solos and the band’s signature vocal interplay, making it an iconic track in rock music history.
‘Seven nation Army’ – White Stripes
“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes is a garage rock masterpiece celebrated for its distinctive and catchy guitar riff that has become an anthem in the realm of alternative and indie rock.