Songs in a Minor Key

From the discussions occurring in various forums lately, it seems minor keys and the search for songs in a minor key is a hot topic! So I thought I’d put together a few tips and helpful resources to help you when teaching about all things minor!

TWO Methods for Finding Relative Major and Minor Keys

1. Find the 6th scale degree (submediant) or “la” in a Major scale. This note will be the tonic of the relative minor key. 

E.g. to find the relative minor of F Major, move to the 6th degree or “la” when F is “do”. This will be the tonic note of the relative minor scale.

In the scale of F Major “D” is the 6th degree or “la”.  Therefore, D minor is related to F Major and shares the same key signature. 

2. Count down three half steps or semitones from the tonic of the Major key. You will land on the tonic or “do” of the relative minor key. 


D minor is the relative key of F major – meaning they have the same key signature!

NOW – these two tips will only be of help if the key signature of the major scale is already known!

The post Teaching Major Key Signatures: Part 1 outlines exactly, step by step how I teach major scales/key signatures with sharps.

Part 2 (major scales with flats), is coming soon – I promise!

Popular Songs in Minor Keys (a list of 30 popular songs)

I spent quite a bit of time compiling a list of 30 popular songs in minor keys. The songs are also in a playlist I created on Spotify. Here’s an image of the first 15 songs!
***You can download your own copy of the list of 30 popular songs and the link to the Spotify playlist HERE.

NOW – I didn’t go through the lyrics of each song. I am not 100% sure they are all classroom-friendly. However, I have a solution for you.

You don’t have to listen to every song, just look up the song on and read through the lyrics of the song/s you are interested in using.

Teaching the Theory of Minor Scales

If you are teaching MINOR scales, the resource Minor Scales Explained will be a huge help and time saver for you.

It includes teaching slides, student worksheets and answers sheets and covers natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales. 

Remember to grab your own copy of the list of 30 popular songs and the link to the Spotify playlist HERE.


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