F Minor scale

Are you looking to learn more about the F minor scale?

The F minor scale is a great place to start for guitar players who are looking to expand their skill set. It has a dark and mysterious sound that can add depth to your music.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the F minor scale – including how to play it, where it’s found on the fretboard and some popular chord progressions in this key. You’ll be able to apply what you learn here to your own music compositions in no time!

Read the complete article below and learn about the F minor scale today!

Introduction To F Minor Scale

Ernst Pauer and Hermann von Helmholtz describe the F minor key as a harrowing key full of melancholy and, at times, rising into a passion. Christian Schubart’s description of the key was “Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.” Glenn Gould described it as halfway between complex and stable.

Some of the popular works in the F minor key are

  1. Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.
  2. Haydn’s Symphony No. 49, La Passione.
  3. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

The list of symphonies in the key of F minor is presented here.

Minor Scale Structure

The major and minor scales are diatonic scales, with a whole tone being the highest interval between the notes. Hence the notes of these scales are nearly uniformly distributed in the octave with the scale formulas:

{W H W W H W W} or {T S T T S T T} or {2 1 2 2 1 2 2}

You can use any of the above formulas to find out the notes and intervals of the natural minor scales. However, a more detailed structural representation is given below.

R – T – M2 – S – m3 – T – P4 – T – P5 – S – m6 – T – m7 – T – R(O). Note that R(O) is the tonic note, an octave above the R.

Intervals Of Minor Scales

Any natural minor scale has a set of intervals: R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – m7 – R(O), between its seven notes and the root note. You can observe that the difference with the major scale lies in the 3rd, 6th, and 7th intervals, which are lowered by a half step here.

Surely, you would be familiar with the other two minor scales, the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scale, and the differences between the three scales. For those who are not aware,

  1. The Harmonic Minor Scale has a raised seventh note to make it a leading tone, with a higher tendency to resolve to the tonic. Its intervals are R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – M7 – R(O).
  2. The Melodic Minor scale with a raised 6th and 7th note in the ascending direction, with the set of intervals: R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – M6 – M7 – R(O).

F Minor Scale Notes

The notes of the F Natural Minor scale are:

R – F – T – G – S – A♭ – T – B♭ – T – C – S – D♭ – T – E♭ – T – F (O).

Hence F minor: {F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F(O)}, where F(O) is the F note one octave higher than the root.

The key signature of the F minor scale carries 4 flats. This means if you play it on a piano keyboard, you have to use four black keys.

The notes of the harmonic minor and the melodic minor scales are:

Harmonic Minor: F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, E, F(O).

Melodic Minor: F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, E, F(O).

Scale Degrees

You can see the intervals of the F natural minor, scale degrees, and note names of the F Minor scale, F Harmonic minor, and F Melodic minor scale in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Natural MinorFGAbBbCDbEbF(O)
Harmonic MinorFGAbBbCDbEF(O)
Melodic MinorFGAbBbCDEF(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The notes of the F Natural minor scale in the ascending and the descending direction are shown on the treble and the bass clef below:

Treble Clef:

F Minor Scale in Asc and Desc Order on the Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

F Minor Scale in Asc and Desc Order on the Bass Clef

F Minor Scale Guitar Positions

You can see the F minor scale on the guitar fretboard up to the 15th fret in the diagram below. You can see the complete F minor scale on the 6th string between the frets 1 and 13.

F Minor Scale up to the 14th Fret

The five patterns of the F minor scale, also known as the boxes, are shown in the chord diagrams below. These patterns are based on the CAGED guitar system, as highlighted in the main characteristics of each of the patterns below.

Pattern 1

F Minor Scale Pattern P1

Pattern 2

F Minor Scale Pattern P2

Pattern 3

F Minor Scale Pattern P3

Pattern 4

F Minor Scale Pattern P4

Pattern 5

F Minor Scale Pattern P5

1st Pattern

The first pattern is based on the E open chord shape. The other features are:

  1. It spans from the 3rd to the 6th fret, i.e., a four-fret span.
  2. The pattern carries two root notes.
  3. The lowest root note is on the 3rd fret of the 4th string.

2nd Pattern

This pattern is based on the D open chord shape.

  1. For F minor scale, it lies from the 5th to the 9th fret.
  2. It has two roo notes.
  3. The lowest root note is on the 8th fret of the 5th string.

3rd Pattern

The 3rd pattern is derived from the C major open chord shape.

  1. It stretches from the 8th to the 11th fret.
  2. There are two root notes.
  3. The lowest root note is on the 8th fret of the 5th string. Note that the lowest root note position is the same as that of the second pattern. This is because the patterns overlap and provide you with an easy transition.

4th Pattern

Based on the A open chord shape, this pattern has the following characteristics.

  1. It spans from the 10th to the 14th fret.
  2. It carries three root notes.
  3. The lowest root note lies on the 13th fret of the 6th string.

5th Pattern

It is based on the G chord shape.

  1. It spans five frets but uses the open position on the 3rd string. Hence it actually lies between the 1st and the 4th fret.
  2. It also has three root notes.
  3. The lowest root note is on the first fret of the 6th string.

Practicing The Scale Patterns

We have described in detail how to play and practice any scale in our articles on D Major and E major scales. You may refer to the fingerings and other playing and practicing details there, as the major concepts are the same.

What Are The Chords Of the F Minor key?

The triad chords in the key of F minor, their Roman numeral designation, quality, and chord names are shown below in the table:

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationiiidimIIIivvVIVII
Chord NamesFmGdimA♭B♭mCmD♭E♭
Chord QualityminordiminishedMajorminorminorMajorMajor

As you can see, the seven triad chords formed by the harmonization of the minor keys in general and F minor in particular are:

  1. Three major chords – III, VI, and VII – A♭ major, D♭ major, and E♭ major.
  2. Three minor chords – i, iv, and v – Fm, B♭m, and Cm.
  3. One diminished chord – ii°, Gdim.

What Are The Notes In These Chords?

The seven chords, their notes, and their intervals are shown in the table below.

Scale DegreesIntervalsChord NotesChord Name
1R – F – m3 – A♭ – M3 – CF – A♭ – CFm
2R – G – m3 – B♭ – m3 – D♭G – B♭ – D♭Gdim
3R – A♭ – M3 – C – m3 – E♭A♭ – C – E♭A♭
4R – B♭ – m3 – D♭ – M3 – FB♭ – D♭ – FB♭m
5R – C – m3 – E♭ – M3 – GC – E♭ – GCm
6R – D♭ – M3 – F – m3 – A♭D♭ – F – A♭D♭
7R – E♭ – M3 – G – m3 – B♭E♭ – G – B♭E♭

Relative & Parallel Major Of F Minor

The relative major of the F minor is the Ab major scale. It has the same notes and key signature as the F minor. In other words, F is the relative minor of Bb.

A♭ – B♭ – C – D♭ – E♭ – F – G – A♭

The parallel major scale of the F Minor scale is the F Major, with the notes:

F – G – A – B♭ – C – D – E – F

Songs In The Key Of F Minor

Some of the popular songs in the key of F minor are:

  1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.
  2. “Hello” by Adele.
  3. “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees.
  4. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna.
  5. “Another Day In Paradise” – Phil Collins.
  6. “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls.
  7. “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran.


F minor is a popular key for guitar players and beginners. The reason is it’s not too hard to play chords in this key, and there are plenty of songs that use these chords. In this article, we explored the notes of the F minor scale, the different positions you can play this scale on the guitar, and some popular chord progressions.

We also looked at the relative minor (A-minor) and parallel minor (F-major) keys and provided a list of songs in the key of F minor. Leave comments in the section below if you have any questions!

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