Composition & Improvisation: Commonly-Used Chord Patterns: C Minor Triad

Successful Composition and Improvisation is not just about melodic invention. An enormous range of music can be created by playing chords in a variety of simple patterns. Here, for your consideration are some commonly-used voicings and rhythms for a C Minor Triad

Note: Studying-practicing such patterns the right way (as integrated theoretical, aural, visio-spatial, and kinesthetic ideas) in all keys greatly expands your musical comprehension and fluency and develops your ears.

Oom-Pah, Oom-Pah

This simple two-fisted pattern establishes both a solid rhythm and minor harmony…



Notice how a simple change in rhythm creates a whole new kind of music, something with a kind of lilt…


Arpeggios, Two-Hands, Triplets


Block Chord Voicings

Think about playing these chords melodically


Arpeggios, One-Hand, Triplets


Alberti Bass

A standard accompaniment in classical music…


Four Part Choir

Here are the notes arranged as if for the four voices (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) in choir. This is considered an “open” voicing, meaning that the notes are spread out.


Ballad Accompaniment Variation 1

Outlining the major harmony in 3/4 time…


Ballad Accompaniment Variation 2

Outlining the major harmony in 6/8 time…



One of those instantly recognizable rhythms…

(Play one octave lower than written)

Arpeggios, Cascading Quadruplets


Two-Handed Chord Melody


Stride Bass

As used in ragtime and jazz…


Is that it?

Of course not! Countless other chord patterns are possible, but you get the idea. An incredible amount of music can be made by the creative combination of chord voicings and rhythms. Can you think of or invent some other patterns?


About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
This entry was posted in Chords, Composition, Improvisation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Composition & Improvisation: Commonly-Used Chord Patterns: C Minor Triad

  1. paula graham says:

    thank you so much…Love all your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Hoekstra says:

    you are inspiring!


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