Degree Names of Natural Minor Diatonic Chords (Triads) / Music Theory Lesson

Author: sleepfreaks

Before Using the Natural Minor Diatonic Chords

In this article, we will be taking a look at switching out the diatonic chords in a natural minor key with their roman numeral equivalents, similar to how we did with the major keys.

However, there is a point that happens to often be remembered incorrectly.
If you have not studied these concepts yet or have forgotten about them, please take a look back at articles 21~26 about degree names and other related information.


The chart used for analysis can be downloaded from the URL below.
We hope it helps aid you in your studies!

Taking a Look at the Rules for Diatonic Chords

Though we have taken various looks at keys and how to make diatonic chords in a natural minor scale, lets take another look at the diatonic chords (triads) in each natural minor key.


Like with the major keys, memorizing all of these would take alot of time and work.
However, as briefly mentioned in our previous articles, no matter what key you are in “the chord types that are available remain the same when starting from the root note”.

  • Diatonic Chords in A (Natural) Minor
  • am_diatonic

  • Diatonic Chords in C (Natural) Minor
  • cm_diatonic

In either case,
the order of minor, diminished (triad), major, minor, minor, major, major
remains the same.

The Downside of Natural Minor Diatonic Chords

Now lets try starting with a different order than when we looked at major chords.
People may often rush and “line up chords by the chord type”.


Though you may seen it written like so (without b (flats)), in this article, we will put “b” to help understand the difference between other scale and diatonic chords, as well as to help tie in this knowledge to techniques that we will look at in future articles.

If we followed this exact roman numeral order and started from A, we would end up with the following chords.


Why did it turn out like this?

Lets take a look back at when we gave numbers to each scale degree.
7. Minor Scales and Scale Degree
27. Note Names and Scale Degree Names

    While the Major Scale is written

  • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (8)
  • the Natural Minor Scale would be

  • 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (8)
  • written as so.


This means that if A is the root note (Tonic), as shown above, the 3(III) is C#, 6(VI) is F#, and 7(VII) is G#, and it is no longer the A natural minor scale made up of only the white keys.

If this seems difficult, think of C as the root (Tonic).

Lets put ourselves in a major key mindset.
In a major scale, we added roman numerals to each note from the start of the scale.


For the C Major Scale

C D E F G A B (C)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (8)

For the C Natural Minor Scale

C D Eb F G Ab Bb (C)
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (8)

The degree names would be as follows:

Degree Names of Natural Minor Diatonic Chords (Triads)

Now then lets try to make some diatonic chords.
We can do so as explained in our 2 previous articles.
In addition, we will the chord type next to the roman numeral for each chord.


  • There are various ways to write degree names, such as using a “△” for major, or using lower-case letters for minor (i.e. “ⅲ”). In this article we will follow the writing style used above.

Like major scales, we just need to add in scale notes according to each roman numeral.
Even if you don’t know the natural minor scale off the top of your head, if you know the major scale, you can simply b the 3/6/7 of the scale.
In addition, each chord is named as follows:

  • Im = one minor
  • IIdim = two diminished (triad)
  • bIII= flat three major
  • IVm = four minor
  • V m= five minor
  • bVI = flat six major
  • bVII = flat seven major

Last, we will add a list of natural minor diatonic chords (triads) with their respective roman numerals.
Please use it as reference for your studies/analysis (follow the link below).


Article Writer: Kazuma Itoh

講師 伊藤
After moving to the USA at 18 years of age with a scholarship from Berklee, he completed a 4 year study focused on song writing and arranging there.
Using this knowledge, he works across a variety of fields from pop music, film music, and more.