In this article you’ll learn how to construct the F 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 F minor triad is formed of the 1st, flat 3rd and flat 5th of the F major scale.
- F – root note
- Ab – minor 3rd above the root
- C – 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.
F 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 F note.
However, the order of the notes must be the same:
- F – lowest note
- A flat – middle note
- C – highest note
This is called ‘root position’.
F Min Triad on Guitar
There are two simple positions that you can use to play a F 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 A flat. We still keep the C above, but then the F (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.
- A flat – lowest note
- C – middle note
- F – highest note
1st inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 1st inversion of a F Min triad by starting on an A flat. Then play the C above and the F above this.
1st Inversion of Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a F 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 C natural. We play the F above then the Ab becomes the highest note in the chord.
- C – perfect 5th (lowest note)
- F – root note (middle note)
- Ab – minor 3rd (highest note)
We could construct a 2nd inversion starting on any C note in any octave. The only thing that must stay the same is that the we use the F above and the Ab above that.
2nd inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 2nd inversion of a F Minor chord by starting on a C natural. They play the F above and the Ab above this.
2nd Inversion on Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a F 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 F Minor Scale
By looking at the F Minor scale we can actually make triads built on each note and only using notes from F major. Below you can see a list of each triad we will create be starting on different notes of the scale.
- F Minor
- G Dim
- Ab Major
- Bb Minor
- C Minor
- Db Major
- Eb Major
Famous Songs in F Minor
Here’s 3 famous examples of songs in a F Minor key. For this reason, they use F Minor chords, as the root note chord, prominently in their chord progressions.
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana
“Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is a seminal grunge anthem that ignited a cultural revolution in the early ’90s with its raw, angst-ridden energy and Cobain’s iconic vocals.
‘Holiday’ – Greenway
Green Day’s “Holiday” is a politically charged punk-rock anthem characterized by its high-energy performance and sharp social commentary.
‘One More Night’ – Maroon 5
Maroon 5’s ‘One More Night’ is a chart-topping pop hit known for its infectious melody and lyrics that explore the complexities of a tumultuous relationship.