The Key of E Minor

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This key is the key of E minor and a minor key is different from a major key in the way it's constructed, but much to most peoples' surprise, it is really constructed on the same principal as a major scale. Now some of you may be saying, what the heck are you talking about. [W-W-H-W-W-W-H] (shown on screen) Well, essentially a major scale is comprised of two whole steps and then a half step then three whole steps and a half a step again. The sixth position of that whole step, whole step, half step and the three whole step, half step routine that I just described to you [The 6th Position of that W-W-H-W-W-W-H] pattern is the first position for the minor scale] (shown on screen) the 6th position. So, whole step to the 2, whole step to the 3, half step to the 4, then a whole step to the 5 and then another whole step to the 6th. The 6th position is what we're going to call number 1 and then we're going to start from there.

So, then the pattern goes from two whole steps, a half step, then three whole steps and a half step to a whole step, and then a half step then 2 whole steps, a half step and then two more whole steps [Minor is W-H-W-W-H-W-W Remember Start On The Sixth Note of the Major Scale] (shown on screen) after that.

Now, if all that whole step, half step stuff that I'm talking about right now, doesn't make any sense to you. Be sure to look at our music theory video section that will go over in detail how that stuff works and just like all the other videos in this site. It's constantly being added to. There's going to be a lot more. So, if there's anything under construction, you can expect it to not be under construction very long, I’m moving very fast here and there’s going to be a lot of cool stuff. Which I myself, will be adding in the future. So, stay tuned.

So let’s go over E minor real quick and the chords in the key of E minor. Remember in all these videos, we’re dealing with the first, the fourth and the fifth chord of each key. And in the key of E minor, if you download the corresponding PDF for this lesson, you’ll see that the first, fourth and fifth chords, just like in the key of E minor, ok, the first, fourth, and fifth chords are all minor chords. So, E minor is the first, A minor is the fifth and then B minor or B7 if you will, you can make the fifth chord the seventh chord anytime you want. It’s the dominant seven. [Remember to “Seven” the 5th] (shown on screen)

There are some rules to that and there’s different flavors and ways to move it around. But just know that the fifth chord in any scale can be turned into a seven chord and it really sounds kind of cool. And that’s what we’ve done here.

So, the three chords that we’re going to be messing with are E minor, A minor and B7. So, let’s take a look at those real quick. So, E minor is down here (hand gesture) and you want to use these two fingers, your middle and your ring finger for E minor. (playing) ok. And then for A minor, A minor is right next door, so you just move this stuff to the adjacent strings (hand gesture) over here, and there you have A minor. (playing) And contrary to popular belief, you can hit all of the strings, including the low E string with A minor. (playing) You don’t have to, but you can if you want. Cause E, E is the fifth of the the chord A minor. So, you can put it in there if you want. Putting it on over here (playing) might as well put it (playing) over there too. But like I said you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.

And then there’s B7, which is a triangular formation, back here (hand gesture) and then you’ve got this one on top. (playing) Some people have problems with B7 when they first do it for the first time. Don’t worry about it, you know, it’s a big chord. There’s all four fingers in there. And you want to be careful to stay away from this bottom E string. That’s not included. So, there’s B7.

And something fun you can do, is you can put your middle finger down on this bottom string and then the fleshy part of this finger here (hand gesture) would mute out the string that’s underneath it, the one you just came from and you can get sort of a this is the fifth on the bottom instead of the one. (playing) So, you get sort of a different sound. So, you can move it between this note (hand gesture) and this note (hand gesture) so (playing) and kind of do a circus theme. I don’t know what you would call that, but essentially that’s a little trick, among many tricks here on the site.

Let’s go, let’s look at some pathways between these chords and these pathways are getting kind of easy here. (hand gesture)  We’ve got E minor here (hand gesture) ok, and what I’d like to ask you to do, is just put this you know how B7 has got the triangle over here. Well, just keep this finger back here. Cause you’re going to use it. (playing) So, there’s E minor (playing) you know, you’ve got the sneaky finger back here, you’re waiting basically and all you’re going to have to do at this point, is just take this finger (hand gesture) the ring and move it over so it forms a triangle and put it on top over here (hand gesture) with the pinky. (playing)

So, to go from E minor to B7 is a snap. (playing) Just think about where you fingers are. (playing) I’m just moving a couple of fingers, that’s it. Sometimes you got to jump, like an acrobat, or a trapeze artist, but usually it’s just Boom! It’s right there. And the more of these little shortcuts you get, the better you’re going to get, the faster you’re going to get better. So, without strumming, just go ahead and do this and just get used to it, ok.

Alright, let’s look at E minor with going to A minor. So, here’s the E minor (playing) ok and all you have to do, remember our index is going to lead the show, usually is the ham. It’s got to have all the attention. We’re going to put this over here on the first fret (hand gesture) in the second string in, and then move these over. (playing) So, we just took it from here (hand gesture) and we move these two over and do the adjacent and put this one down (hand gesture) and we can do it that way, but a better way is to lead with your index, Boom! Right? So, E minor (hand gesture) index down on the second string and on the first fret, Boom, move these over (playing) and you’re at A minor.

Try that a couple times without playing it. I will give you some time if you need to pause the video.

Ok, let’s go ahead and get started on the practice progression. It looks like we’re doing E minor, A minor, E minor, B7 for the first one. And then E minor, A minor, B7, and then E minor. The second line there, you see how the last two chords are flipped around. That’s a real effective little trick. So, if you get four chords that sound really good together, the second time you do them, take the last two chords and just flip them. It’s just called a flip and it adds some rhyme [The Ole’ “Flip”] (shown on screen) to your song and that comes with form and songwriting and stuff.

And you will understand that better in our songwriting session. We explain how that works. So, please be sure to check that out and download the four MP3 files over here (hand gesture) it should be in the description for this video. One’s played at 40 beats a minute, then 70, then 100, then 130. [40-70-100-130 beats per minute] (shown on screen)

I’m just going to take it real easy here. Middle of the road speed. So, let’s go ahead and gear up and get started and if you’re not ready yet, of course you can download those files, you know, and do it that way. So, here we go 1,2,3,4 (playing) and there you go and if your chords didn’t sound as good as mine did, that’s ok. I’ve been playing a long time. Give yourself, cut yourself some slack. Sometimes this stuff just doesn’t pop right out of the box and it’s going to take a little practice and dedication.

Usually, I recommend between 20 and 30 minutes a day. So, if you come here for 20, 20 minutes, 30 minutes a day, watch a few videos, practice a little bit, that’s good every day. You don’t have to practice for five hours a day if you don’t want to. I mean, if you want to, I’m not going to stop you, but you know, you don’t have to kill yourself trying to practice.




The Key of E Minor

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