If you’re interested in learning more about G minor triad, specifically as it pertains to how to ply it on the piano, you’ve come to the right place! Through various diagrams and images, along with in depth written details, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know so that you can feel much more confident when it’s time to showcase your playing ability on the piano.
What is a G Minor Triad?
Let’s begin by discussing the concept of a triad. Now, a triad essentially consists of three specific notes from a scale. A G minor triad would be made up of the first note (hereby known as the root), the third note, and the fifth note from the G minor scale.
For those curious about what a G minor scale looks like, here it is:
If you’ve already learned a G major triad, you may be a bit confused as to why it’s so different from the G minor triad.
In music, major refers to music that evokes a sense of happiness in the listener, as opposed to minor, music that evokes a feeling of sadness or melancholy.
There is a lot of music theory to explain why G major and G minor are so different, but to make things simple, just remember this:
Major and minor versions of a key, while using most of the same notes, will have different flats and sharps!
The key of G minor contains one flat, B flat, and one sharp, F sharp.
So, we are technically taking the G major scale and lowering the third note from B to B flat to create the G minor scale.
So, now that the theory is out of the way, let us now find the notes of our G minor triad. As stated before, a triad is made up of the root, the third, and the fifth of a scale. Looking at the G minor scale above, we see that the root is G, the third is that B flat, and the fifth is D.
And now that we have identified the notes of our triad, let’s see where they are located on the piano!
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Finding the G Minor Triad on the Piano
Regardless of whether you are playing on a piano or a much smaller keyboard, one thing remains the same: There are a lot of notes to keep track of! Definitely more notes than you have fingers!
So, how do pianists keep track of all of these notes?
One of the easiest ways to learn to find notes when you are just starting in your piano journey is to use the black key trick. It works like this:
Take a look at that picture above. You may notice that the black keys on the piano — excluding the solo one circled in blue on the very left of a full-sized piano keyboard — are arranged in alternating groups of two and three.
To make it even easier, I’ve circled the sets of twos in yellow and the sets of threes in red.
This is a very helpful navigation tool because once you locate a note, it will look the same no matter where you are on the keyboard, i.e., the first black key of a set of two has the same name no matter if you’re playing it on the left or the right side of the piano!
This is true of any note.
With that said, the first note we will be hunting down for our G minor triad is the root. G.
To find a G, you’ll first look for a set of three black keys on the piano. Again, you can start anywhere you wish, but most beginning pianists find it more comfortable and natural to start right in the middle of the piano.
Pianists orient themselves using the note in the middle, called Middle C. To start at the most natural and comfortable place, you’ll want to start with a G in the set of three closest to that Middle C.
This way, you can also focus on your playing posture and make sure you are sitting correctly while you learn. Posture is very important, so this is definitely a step you don’t want to skip.
So, now that you are on a set of three black keys and sitting up properly, you’ll want to look at the first two black keys in the set. The white key right in middle of them is the G. It looks like this:
And once you find the root, the other two notes aren’t far away!
The third, the B flat, is the black key on the right side of that set of three. (The little lowercase b is a flat sign. Bb = B flat).
The fifth, the D, is located just a little farther away. Find the very next set of two black keys to the right. The white key between them is the D. It looks like this:
And, put together, the entire triad looks like this!
And don’t worry too much about memorizing all of these black key tricks. They are good for getting started, but you won’t need them forever. Before too long, you’ll memorize where the keys are located and you’ll be able to find any note by sight or touch alone.
The only way to get there, though, is to practice!
So, let’s learn how to play that G minor triad so that you have something to practice!
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Playing G Minor Triad with the Right Hand
You’ve got ten fingers to keep track of and, in this article, we’re going to learn a little bit about piano fingering.
The fingering of any chord or selection of music, is the composer or arranger’s suggestion of what finger to put on a given note, thereby putting your entire hand in the most efficient position to get the job done. In music, the fingerings are noted by little numbers printed above a note.
You won’t see any little numbers floating around here, but what I will do is suggest the fingering that should be using to play the triad. I highly recommend that you use it, because it will set you up for success and help you focus on your hand position and posture.
Here’s a handy dandy chart for how pianists number and keep track of their ten fingers:
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start playing this triad with our right hand.
First, locate the G where you would like to start and place your 1st finger (your thumb) on it, like so:
Note the way my hand is rounded and my thumb is laying on the key. You’ll want to really pay attention to that hand position and posture, because, while it may not have an effect on your playing now, it definitely will in the future.
So, set yourself up for success and make sure you are holding your hand properly, not letting the heel of your palm touch the piano, and keeping your fingers rounded and not bending at the first knuckle!
We’ve got our root and, if you’re using your thumb to play it, your hand should now be naturally in position to play the rest of the triad.
Your 3rd finger will play the B flat. You might need to scoot your hand up a bit to reach it and still keep your hand rounded, and that is just fine. Lastly, put your 5th finger on D and the triad is complete!
Whoa, you’re halfway there!
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Playing G Minor Triad with the Left Hand
Our next mission is to play the triad with our left hand! Hopefully, your hands are mirror images of each other, so the fingering for your left hand will be a little different than your right!
To start, look for the G. You can use the same G you used with your right hand or you can use the G that lives an octave lower, as was described earlier in this article.
Whichever one you choose, put your 5th finger (your pinky) on it.
Again, note how my pink is still nice and rounded. For many people, their left hand is their non-dominant hand so if you aren’t a lefty, you may have to take extra care in your left-hand posture.
Don’t worry, it’ll strengthen up in no time.
Now that your 5th finger is on the root, you are in position to the play the rest of the triad. Just like the right hand, your 3rd finger will play the B flat. Then lay your thumb on the D:
You’ve got it! You’re playing the G minor triad with both hands!
A couple of things before we move on to the next section:
While you are playing, I strongly recommend practicing one hand at a time before you go playing both together. It’ll give you time to really work on your technique.
Use the weight of your arms to play the keys instead of trying to use your individual fingers.
Again, make sure your fingers aren’t bending at the first joint when you are playing and that any fingers not in use aren’t floating up in the air. A little floating is fine, just don’t pick up the bad habits you see below.
And when you’ve got the G minor triad down in both hands, you can take the next step!
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Time to Take the Next Step
There is so much you can do with one simple triad!
You can play it high and low, you can play hands together or alternating, or you can break the thing apart!
To play a broken triad, all you need to do is play the notes one at a time instead of all together. Try it! Try playing the notes separately, lowest to highest, highest to lowest, or any combination you can think of!
You can also try an inverted triad. That might sound complicated, but it’s really not. All it means is playing the triad in a different order than the root position that I described in the article. Try playing them B flat, D, G or D, G, B flat, as seen in the picture below!
Triads also sound great with a pedal! If you have a piano, the pedal you want to use is the damper pedal. It’s the one on the right-hand side.
If you’re playing on a digital keyboard, don’t worry, you won’t be left out. There are plenty of digital piano pedal accessories in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges that you can use. Just check to be sure that the pedal you want to buy is compatible with your instrument.
And when you’ve mastered the G minor triad every way you can, check out these popular songs, all written in G minor!
Popular Songs in G Minor
Let’s begin with a great song by Queen.
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
One that everyone knows and a personal favorite of mine! The chord structure for this song is pretty complicated, but now you know that (at least the beginning and end) are in the key of G minor! Head bang along with this Queen favorite!
Hot Stuff by Donna Summer
While we’re in the 70s, how about this disco favorite? Dance along to this catchy tune, set in the key of G minor
Symphony No. 40 in G minor, Mvmt I by Mozart
The pulse-pounding first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 is a definite crowd pleaser. And possible one of those classical pieces you’ve heard before but never knew its name or composer. Well now you do. Give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed!
Now that you are playing the G minor triad like a pro and you have some songs to listen and aspire to, the next step for you to take is to just play!
Sure, practice is hard work sometimes, but don’t forget to let it be fun too! You should be enjoying your new skills! Play for yourself, play for friends and family, play for anyone who will listen!
If playing in front of other people makes you nervous, there’s really only one way to get over that.
You guessed it. It’s to do it more often.
And the more you play the better you’ll get and the more your friends and family will want to hear you! So, enjoy the fruits of your hard work, you’ve earned it!
And when you’re ready for more, we’ll see you in the next article!
Piano Terminology You Need to Know
Triad – three notes, consisting of any given note combined with the notes three and five notes higher in the corresponding scale.
Scale – graduated sequence of notes dividing what is called an octave
Root – note that establishes the tonality of a musical key, chord, or scale and gives it its name.
Minor – tonality based on a minor scale, the 3rd tone being a minor third above root. “Sad and Melancholy” sounding.
Major – tonality based on a major scale, the 3rd tone being a major third above root. “Happy” sounding.
Flat — to lower a note by one semitone
Sharp — to raise a note by one semitone
Fingering – the placement of fingers in the most suitable and efficient way to play a series of notes.
Octave — the distance between one note (like F) and the next note bearing its same name; eight keys apart.