The Im, IVm & Vm chords – Step 4

Chord Progression Guitar Lesson - S4
In this step we look at more contradictions. All those Roman Numerals that were major, can be minor, I call these the m chords!

The M Chords

When harmonizing the major scale, we naturally get major chords for chords I, IV, and V, just like we naturally get minor chords for chords II, III, and VI.

Should you start playing actual music, you’ll soon discover how this is not always the case. Some songs have a major chord where there should have been a minor and the other way around.

In this step, we look at when the major chords have become minor.

The Im chord

A great example of how the I chord can be minor is found in I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. Learn this song in the intermediate electric course to fully understand this concept.

What has happened is that the verse moves I – V – IV in the key of Eb, however, chord I is temporarily Ebm. Therefore we call it a Im.

This is not a VI chord, it is a I chord that has changed to minor and therefore sounds different from VI.

As we play the bridge section and move to chord VI, a Cm, this becomes apparent. The 5th of the Cm is the 3rd of the Eb. What happens is that we get a feeling of being uplifted as we’ve moved from Ebm to Eb. But since the chord is Cm, chord VI is the saddest of all chords, we get a complex shift of emotions.

This is the core of why the song is so memorable. This is the effect of the Im.

The IVm chord

The IV chord is a maj7 chord and comes with the mode Lydian, an uplifting, forward-striding sound. Whenever you hit chord IV it feels as if you are moving on to a brighter future. Therefore, chord IV is often used at the beginning of a bridge section.

Turn this into a minor chord and we get a feeling of disappointment, of failure.

Possibly the best example of a IVm is The Spanials’ song Goodnight Sweetheart, here the IVm is extremely apparent.

In my guitar courses, a good example is Over The Rainbow. learn it to fully appreciate the sound of IVm.

The Vm chord

The least common of the m chords is without a doubt the Vm. It is extremely rare, but it does exist. The first example I always use to describe the Vm is Last Request by Paolo Nutini. Here you can find a Vm.

Another example is Blackbird by The Beatles, but then again, there are so many changes in that song that the full effect isn’t apparent.

In general, chord V is known for its pulling power back to chord I, and extreme pulling is achieved by using altered chords.

One such chord is the Hendrix chord, the dom7#9. The #9 is a m3rd an octave up, so a dom7#9 is both minor and major. Although this is not a Vm.

After spending years looking for good examples of the Vm chord, I have actually found three: Angels by Robbie Williams, the solo starts on what feels like a Vm. And The Beatles’ last song, Now And Then also makes use of it.

Perhaps the best example of a Vm chord is to be found in (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

Learn all these songs and you’ll have a good sense of what the Vm is and what it is not.

You must play songs

The only way to fully understand the feeling the m chords bring is to experience it in actual songs.

Without this experience, you only have academia, not real emotions, not real music.

Therefore, to understand chord progressions, you must play chord progressions, in context, in songs.

Next, we look at the X chord, a chord that should have been minor but instead is major. Instead of unexpected sadness, we get a happy surprise. These are a lot more common!

Chord Progressions | Related Pages

Chord progression | Step-by-step guitar course

Chord Progression Course

In these guitar lessons, I talk about how to best describe chords when they are put after each other and form chord progressions.

The main thing to discover here is how popular music is a combination of the harmonized major scale and the Blues.

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman chords

Learn how to play (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recordings.

C | G/B | Bb | F F C/E Dm |
Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired…

Angels | Chords + Lyrics

Angels Chords

You can learn how to play Angels by Robbie Williams using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.

E Esus4 | E | A Amaj7 | B |
I sit and wait, does an angel, contemplate my fate…

I Heard It Through The Grapevine | Chords + Lyrics

I Heard It Through The Grapevine chords

Learn how to play I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye using chords, lyrics, TAB, backing track, and video guitar lessons.

Ebm | Ebm | Bb Ab | Ab6 Ab |
I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew, ’bout your plans to make me blue…

Last Request | Chords + Lyrics

Last Request chords

You can learn how to play Last Request by Paolo Nutini using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

D | F#m | Am | Em |
Slow down, lie down. Remember it’s just you and me…

Now And Then | Chords + Lyrics

Now And Then chords

You can learn how to play Now And Then by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

Am (Asus4) | G6 | Am (Asus4) | G6 |
I know it’s true. It’s all because of you…

Over The Rainbow | Chords + Lyrics

Over The Rainbow chords

You can learn how to play Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy using chords, lyrics, TAB, chord analysis, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.

Gsus2 /F# | Em /D | Bm7b13 | G7 Amadd4 /B |
Somewhere over the rainbow…



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Now available as both a chromatic (original version) and “within a key”, developed with the help of a Spytunes student.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on chord progressions.

This guitar lesson on chord progressions was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.

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