Advanced Classic Rock Harmony – Parallel Minor

By Darren DeFranco


Hey guys,

Today we’ve got another advanced lesson for you. Specifically, we’ll be looking at how we can borrow from the parallel minor key to spice up our chord progressions and add some interest to really hook our listeners.

Here’s the basic idea: Let’s take the key of C. It has the following chords – C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, and B diminished. Typically, if you are in the key of C, you’ll use those chords to write a song. But now, we’re going to borrow from the parallel minor. Parallel minor basically refers to a minor key of the same root, in this case the key of C minor. The chords in C minor are C minor, D diminished, Eb major, F minor, G minor, Ab major, and Bb major. So basically, you will temporarily borrow these chords as you create your songs.

Not too bad, right? In this lesson we’ll walk you through the process.

Enjoy the lesson!


Try borrowing from the parallel minor to create your own eight measure chord progression. For extra practice, identify what your parallel minor chord choices would be for the following major keys:

1) D major

2) A major

3) E major


1) The parallel minor is D minor which has the chords D minor, E diminished, F major, G minor, A minor, Bb major, and C major.

2) The parallel minor is A minor which has the chords A minor, B diminished, C major, D minor, E minor, F major, and G major.

3) The parallel minor is E minor which has the chords E minor, F# diminished, G major, A minor, B minor, C major, and D major.


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One Comments to “Advanced Classic Rock Harmony – Parallel Minor”
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