The 4 Minor Chord
In this short masterclass we will talk about a very common harmonic phenomenon – the 4 minor chord. I’m sure you are familiar with the 4 minor in several different harmonic situations so I wanted to put together a set of examples to show how common the 4 minor in functional harmony actually is.
The 4 minor is a chord that occurs naturally in minor keys, such as F minor in the key of C minor. But we can also resolve it to the 1 major, i.e. F minor to C major.
The 4 Minor in Jazz
In jazz, the 4 minor usually appears in the context of a 2-5-1. For example, Fm7-Bb7-Cmaj7. In this situation the 4 minor can resolve to either C major or C minor.
We will take a look at the use of the 4 minor chord in the tunes There Will Never Be Another You, Stella By Starlight, and Just Friends.
We will also talk about the role of the 4 minor in classical and pop music, as well as modal jazz.
The 4 Minor Chord Lesson Notation File Type: pdf
The main takeaway from this lesson is to have an awareness of when the 4 minor chord is in play. An awareness of this concept can simplify your understanding of a chord progression while expanding the options you have for improvisation, chord substitution etc.
You can use the 4 minor as a chord substitution in many instances. For example, in the progression Dm7b5-G7b9-Cm7, Dm7b5 can be replaced by the 4 minor, Fm7. Or in the major 2-5-1 Dm7-G7-Cmaj7, we can use a 4 minor idea to change the progression to Fm7-Bb7-Cmaj7.
- Being aware of the picardy 3rd can also be useful. Ending a minor tune with a major tonic can sometime sound cheesy but in some circumstances it can be perfect.