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Nicholas Wanstall Group

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Daniel Lazarev
Daniel Lazarev

Piano Chord Chart

When it comes to playing the piano, pianists have thousands of chords to select from, with some chords being more popular than others. Check out some of the most common chords in the piano chord chart below, or keep reading to find out more about piano chords.

Piano Chord Chart


All piano chords contain a root note -- this is the note the chord is named after -- as well as one or more additional notes. Basic piano chords often consist of only two or three notes, while the more advanced chords tend to incorporate even more notes.

The most common type of keyboard or piano chord is a triad, or three-note chord. A triad contains a root note and two other notes, most often the notes that produce the intervals of a third and fifth above the root note.

One way to get the basic shape of a triad is to place your thumb and fingers on adjacent white keys and push down with your thumb, middle finger and pinky. Learning this technique will set you up to play various basic piano chords with ease.

Minor chords, like major chords, contain three basic keyboard notes, a root note, third, and fifth. To play a minor chord, select any root note, then count three half-steps up to the third. From the third, count two whole-steps (or four half steps) to find the fifth.

A chord is a group of notes that can be played together and function as the harmony in music. There are lots of different chords that can be organized in different groups and categories. One thing that differ among chords is how many notes that are included. There are triads (three notes), four-note (sometimes called tetrachords) and five-note chords. In addition, chords with six or seven notes also exist. See in-depth summary of chord types.

A good way to learn chords on the piano is to be familiar with how they are constructed. The Cmaj7 chord adds one note to C, the seventh in the C major scale. The Cm7 adds one note to Cm, the seventh in the C minor scale. Looking at the extended chord (e.g. C7, C9, C11), they are adding notes using intervals from the root of the chords with seventh, ninth and eleventh degrees.

When you know which notes that belong to a chord, you can play it in several ways. A chord can be played by pressing down all the relevant keys simultaneously or each at a time. As you make progress, you will find more ways of altering the outcome. It is also important to use the right fingers and this is called fingerings.

The numbers are used to simplify and represent the five fingers from thumb (1) to little finger (5), regardless if the left or right hand is concerned. On this site you can find fingerings for the chords, these are suggestions that strives to follow the standard way, but must not be optimal in all situations or for all hands. Exercises could be done for developing independence among the fingers. Normally, the ring fingers are the weakest and need the most strength training. See fingerings illustrated with pictures.

On the image below you can see one example of how a piano chord is presented on this site including a diagram:A red color means that the key is part of the chord that is in focus. To play the actual chord on a piano, press down all keys marked in red (if needed, see a diagram compared to a realistic picture). Since the pattern of keys repeat itself on the keyboard, you can place your hand in many positions. You will notice, however, that there is more bass on the left part of the keyboard and more treble as you go to the right. Therefore, you should strive for placing your hand somewhere in the middle.

When looking at piano chord symbols, we often see # (pronounced sharp) or b (pronounced flat), for example C# or Db.Then the chord is written with a sole letter, as in C, it is a major chord. A chord written as Cm means C minor.Sus, Dim and Aug are abbreviations for suspended, diminished and augmented. For inverted chords a slash is used between the original chord name and the alternative bass note (i.e. C/E).A parenthesis can sometimes be seen in the chord name, for example C(#5), meaning that the chord has an alteration or extension.Less common is the use of no in a chord. In these cases a note is omitted and Cno3 means that the triad is played without the third.ExercisesA collection of exercises with musical notation that can be open as pdf-files.Go to exercises page

In search of a piano chords chart? You will find various chord charts here. Learn how to build major, minor, diminished, diminished seventh, augmented, suspended fourth, seventh suspended fourth, dominant seventh, minor seventh, major seventh, minor sixth and major sixth piano chords.

Piano For All gets my highest recommendation on this site for learning to play the piano. This piano program places particular emphasis on learning to play piano chords and chord progressions. Go here to check out the Pianoforall piano course.

Chord I is a major chord, chord ii is a minor chord, iii is minor, IV is major, V is major, vi is minor and vii is a diminished chord. In the C major key this would give us the chords, C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminished.

The sequence of chords for the minor scale is minor diminished major minor minor major major. For example, in the key of A minor, the scale is A B C D E F G and the sequence of chords is A minor, B diminished, C major, D minor, E minor, F major, and G major.

Chord i is a minor chord, chord ii is a diminished chord, III is major, iv is minor, v is minor, VI is major and VII is a major chord. In the key of A minor this would give us the chords, A minor, B diminished, C major, D minor, E minor, F major and G major.

Many people begin their study of the piano by learning to read notation on the staff. This is definitely a smart approach to learning the piano, but a well-rounded pianist will also learn how to read piano chord charts or lead sheets. One method is not better than the other. They complement each other and help build piano skills overall.

One the other hand, playing from a chord chart or lead sheet allows for a good bit of improvisation. You can choose the style and rhythms of your performance. If you are performing with others, as in a little jazz combo, you can take musical cues from each other and play off each other more freely.

Often, when a piano is accompanying a singer or instrumentalist, the piano is there to lay a foundation of harmony and rhythm, while the singer or instrumentalist carries the melody. When you can work from a chord chart or lead sheet, you can instantly create simple accompaniments to complement other musicians.

Reading a chord chart requires you to use your ears to anticipate harmonic progressions and correctly interpret the style of the piece. A simple way to play this example would be to give each chord a quarter note value.

Since this type of chording does not require you to play a melody in the right hand, the most common way of interpreting a chord chart is to play the chords in the right hand and a bass note in the left hand. The bass note should be the root of the chord unless otherwise indicated by the chord symbol.

You can work the melody line into your chords if you would like to hear the melody on the piano. You can create a counter melody or harmonic line to accompany the melody. The options are endless when it comes to reading from a lead sheet.

When you invert a chord once, you move the lowest note to the top of the chord and the middle note becomes the new lowest sounding note. You can invert it a second time and what was originally the highest note is now the lowest note.

Piano chords sound and work the best when you play a variety of inversions. If you keep everything in root position, your hand will be jumping all over the piano and the music will sound really choppy. However, using inversions will help you to move between chords with ease and the transitions between chords will sound much smoother.

C/G indicates that you will have a C chord in your right hand with a single G note in your left hand. Let your bass line serve as the rhythmic foundation. Use it to add syncopation or repeated notes to the piece.

Once you get comfortable building and playing chords, spend as much time as you can playing around with the chords and experimenting. It definitely helps to play along with some prerecorded music or with another musician so that you can feel the music and practice changing chords quickly and smoothly.

Chords can be played in different positions. The number of possible positions depends on the number of notes in the chord. If a chord has three notes, there are three possible positions for that chord, because there are three possible notes that could be at the bottom of the chord.

One way to practice would be to play the chord in root position, then first inversion, then second inversion, then root position again, repeating that pattern all the way up or all the way down the piano.

The wonderful thing about inversions is that they open up a whole world of music to you at the piano! The more you practice them, the more they become second-nature to you . . . and the more fun the piano becomes!

I have begun to volunteer at church as a supporting pianist/organist for contemporary Christian songs ( Matt Maher, Chris Tomlinson etc). My training was 7 years of classical music in my youth. It has been a transition to play chords vs melody but I am catching on, Chord inversions have become critical to keep up with the vocals. Cant wait for help with minor inversions, and eventually diminished, suspended? Big in church music. Blessings to you for offering this online.

Once you become familiar with the characteristically melancholy sound of this chord progression, you will learn to recognize it instantly. Here are a few examples of this sad chord progression in songs representing various genres.

The interval rocking technique is a great for harmonizing melodies and for creating elegant piano accompaniment textures. For additional examples on how to apply interval rocking to your playing, check out the following courses: 041b061a72


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