The Sadly Warm First-Inversion Minor Chord

Last month, we looked at some appealing ways in which famous songwriters have employed second-inversion major chords in the progressions behind some of their most popular and enduring melodies. I’d now like to reference a few brief but well-known examples of the use of a first-inversion minor chord, for which the minor third is the bass note. While not as commonly found in popular music as its major counterpart, the first-inversion minor chord has a uniquely dark quality that may be described as sadly warm, which makes it nonetheless an invaluable resource for the aspiring composer when looking for just the right chord to express that kind of feeling and emotion in an accompaniment to a melody.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.