What Are The Standard Piano Notes
Piano notes follow a pattern of black and white keys, with a group of two black keys close together followed by a group of three black keys close together. This pattern repeats across the keyboard, and we use it to identify the notes.
Each of the white keys is assigned a letter name from A to G, and each of the black keys is called a sharp or flat.
What Is A Chord
So what is a chord, anyway? Simply put , a chord is just multiple notes played at the same time.
Yes, theres a little more to it than that . But at their core, chords are usually just sets of notes, usually three, that are played together.
If you want to dive right into learning chord-based playing, . Otherwise, onward!
Diminished Augmented And Seventh Chords
Once you have mastered learning major and minor chords, you can move on to more advanced and complicated chord progressions, like diminished or augmented. For diminished chords, youll see the root followed by the letters dim. So, for instance, when playing a Cdim, you would use the notes C, E flat, and G flat.
Sometimes youll see a small open circle for the chord symbol, like a degree sign, for a diminished chord. For an augmented, you usually see aug following the letter name of the root or a + sign for the chord symbol. You are much less likely to see diminished or augmented chords in typical sheets of music, but you can come across them in jazz songs from time to time.
Lastly, Seventh chords add more to your chord sound by adding another note, meaning you play four notes instead of the normal 3. 7th chords give the music more tone and color, so the sound is fuller. Keeping with C chords, a C seventh chord requires playing the notes C, E, G, and B-flat. Sometimes you might see a slightly different variation in the way it is displayed instead of C7, you may see it written as C maj 7. This indicates that you should use a major third instead of a minor third on top of the chord to use the notes C, E, G, and B .
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Learn How To Play Piano Chords With The Help Of Our Piano Chord Charts This Is A Great Place To Start With Piano Chords For Beginners
Have you ever seen those letters up above the staff in your sheet music and wondered what they are? Those letters are chord symbols. Although guitar players use chord symbols all the time, for many beginning piano students chords are a mysterious art. But for folk, jazz, pop, and rock musicians, chords are the foundation of how they think about, play, and perform music. In this article on piano chords for beginners, Ill tell you how to make basic piano chords and advanced chords, how to read chord symbols, and lots of ways to use chords to make your piano playing more amazing than ever.
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Major And Minor Chords
Question: How do I determine the difference between major and minor chords?
Alberts reply: Major and minor chords are both triads. A triad consists of three notes, each of them a third above the previous.
Thats a rather technical definition, so lets take it apart before moving on to major and minor chords. Lets take a C major triad as an example:
The root of the C major triad is, of course, C. Here, its in the bass , so the chord is in root position.
The notes of a triad can be stacked in thirds, starting with the root. The note a third above the root is called the third of the chord, since the interval between the root and this note is a third.
The note a third above the third is called the fifth of the chord , since the interval between the root and this note is a fifth.
Thus, there are two thirds: between the root and the third of the chord, and between the third and the fifth of the chord.
Each of these thirds can be either major or minor. Because a third is an interval, the terms major and minor refer in this case to those intervals, not to the quality of the chord itself.
As explained in Music Theory Intervals, we can recognize thirds purely visually on the staff:
Without even knowing which notes these are , we can immediately see that this interval is a third. Any notes on adjacent lines or spaces on the staff are a third apart.
We dont know what kind of third this is major or minor until we know the exact notes.
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Train Your Ear And Aural
In this song we start by singing all of the notes . Next, we pick a pitch to inner-hear and sing the rest out loud. Following this, we inner hear 2 pitches, then 3, then the entire song. The aim is to hear the melody as clearly as possible in the mind.
Another great ear training technique is mentioned above: Sing So-Do-Fa-La while playing the melody. Sing the left hand letter names of notes, the roots of the chords, while playing the tune. This technique develops the ability to hear the bass and melody simultaneously .
Improve your Pentatonic Ear Training with Kodaly/Curwen hand signs for the Solfège Words.
Shotgun Melody, Solfège and Chords
Shotgun Treble Clef Piano Notes | Shotgun Lead Sheet
Learning Minor Chords: Piano Tips
Piano Chords: Chart of Minor Chords
A minor chord is built like an upside-down major chord. It puts the minor 3rd on the bottom, from root to third, and major 3rd on top from the third to the fifth. Minor goes on bottom, major goes on top, and the fifth goes in the same place when constructing chords. To make a minor chord, start on any of the twelve tones of the chromatic scale. To use C as an example again, the C minor chord will have the same root, the C, but then going up three half steps takes us to an E-flat. Four more half steps brings us to G. If you want to make a D minor chord, youll use D, F, and A.
You might have noticed that to change from a major to a minor chord, all you have to do is to move the third down by one half step. This tiny change swaps a major chord for a minor chord. So, if you know the major chord, create the minor chord simply by lowering the third a half step. Give playing these piano chords a try on your piano. Try to make every possible minor chord, all twelve of them. In chord symbols, a capital letter and then a lower case m indicates a minor chord. For example, the A minor chord is written, Am. Sometimes you see min instead of just m, but that is less common. You might also see a minus sign for minor chords, but that happens even less often.
Minor Chord Symbols : Cm, C min, C-
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What Are Augmented Piano Chords
Like diminished chords, augmented chords are most often used to transition between more stable sounds in rock and pop music. One example of this is the song Crying performed by Roy Orbison, where an augmented chord is used in the prechorus.
Common augmented piano chords include:
Back To Major Minor Tonality
In order to understand major and minor chords and how they are used in melodies it is useful to know a bit about keys. Music is organized into 12 major and 12 minor keys. Each major key has a minor key that it is related to. They are related because they consist of the same notes. For example, the key of C major is related to the key of A minor.
The key of C major:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
The key of A minor:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A Depending on which version of the minor scale you play, you may have a G sharp or a G natural.
Play these scales and listen to the different sounds and atmospheres created simply by starting on a different note in the sequence. The key of C major has a much different feeling than the key of A minor.
Now we are moving on to creating chords out of scale notes.
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What Are Minor 7 Piano Chords
Minor 7 chords are minor triads, with a 7th note on the top. You can build a minor 7 chord using this spelling: 1, b3, 5, b7 . They are commonly used in Jazz, they sound smooth, sad and relaxing.
Minor 7 piano chords quick list:
- C minor 7 C, Eb, G, Bb
- C# minor 7 C#, E, G#, B
- D minor 7 D, F, A, C
- Eb minor 7 Eb, Gb, Bb, Db
- E minor 7 E, G, B, D
- F minor 7 F, Ab, C, Eb,
- F# minor 7 F#, A, C#, E
- G minor 7 G, Bb, D, F
- Ab minor 7 Ab, Cb, Eb, Gb
- A minor 7 A, C, E, G
- Bb minor 7 Bb, Db, F, Ab
- B minor 7 B, D, F#, A
Piano Chords In Major And Minor Keys
- Pick a note – this will be the root of the chord.
- Add a note four semitones above the root . This gives you the 3rd of the chord – or the middle note if it is in root position. Root position just means that the root is in the bass, i.e. the lowest pitch note.
- Add another note three semitones above the 3rd. This gives you the 5th.
For minor chords:Major triads compared with minor triads:
- So, a major triad has a root, then the next note is 4 semitones up, then the next note is 3 semitones up.
- For a minor triad, it is the other way round. It has a root, then the next note is 3 semitones up, then the next note is 4 semitones up.
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What Is A Piano Chord
A chord is created when more than one note is played at once, and contains two, three, or more individual notes. On the piano, this means you push down more than one key at the same time.
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.
The most common type of keyboard or piano chord is a triad, or three-note chord.
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.
Add 9th & 11th Chord Extensions
We can create even more beautiful colors on minor chords by adding a few additional notes beyond the 7th. We call these additional notes chord extensions. If we continue to build the chord upward by stacking 3rds, the next note is called the 9th because it is 9th scale tone above the root. The resulting chord is a minor 9th chord. Just be sure that that 9th is 1 whole step + 1 octave above the root. For example, Gm9 will require an A. Next, we can stack another 3rd above that and get the 11th scale tone above the root. The result is a gorgeous 6-note minor chord. In fact, an easy way to think of a minor 11 chord is that it contains 2 triadsa minor triad built on the root and a major triad built on the 7th. The diagram below illustrates Cm9 and Cm11 chord constructions.
A note about compound intervals: a compound interval is any interval larger than an octavesuch as a 9th or an 11th. Some students find it easier to reduce compound intervals to smaller intervals within the span of an octave. You can get the same notes for any compound interval by subtracting 7 from the compound interval. For example, the note that is a 9th above C is also a 2nd above Cthe note D. Similarly, the 11th above C is the same note as the 4th above Cthe note F.
The minor 9 and minor 11 chords we can use for the 1-chord, 4-chord and 5-chord in C minor are shown below.
Minor 9th Chords
Minor 11th Chords
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What Is A Minor Chord
Now for minor chords. To make a major chord minor, you just slide down the third, or the middle note you lower it a half step. So 1, 3, 5 would become 1, b3, 5. Or C major chord at C, E, G would become C minor chord at C, Eb, G.
Now to explore the overall sound and mood of a minor chord. To me, they sound dark, sad, sombre.
Relative Minor Vs Major Scales
A relative minor scale sounds complicated, but really, it isnât! Rather, a relative minor scale is a scale that shares all of the same notes as those of a major scale, but are played in a different order. For example, the A minor scale is the relative minor of the C major scale, as both scales share the same notes. Take a look:
A Minor Scale: AâBâCâDâEâFâGâA
C Major Scale: CâDâEâFâGâAâBâC
As you can see, both scales share the same exact notes, but have a different starting point. With A Minor being the relative minor of C Major, although they have the same notes, they sound totally different when you hear them played.
For instance, the C Major scale â usually the very first scale that beginner guitarists learn â has a bright, cheerful tone to it. On the flipside, the A Minor scale has a darker, more foreboding tone, even though itâs made up of the same exact notes. Relative minor scales are a great way to remember that the order in which you play notes, and which notes you position next to each other in a song, has significant bearing on its mood and tone. When playing using these scales, youâll use the appropriate major chords and minor chords that work within those scales. Knowing these components of musical theory can also help you more easily craft guitar solos, if you start writing your own music.
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Piano For Singers Play Major And Minor Chords On Piano
In this piano for singers tutorial, Im going to show you how to play major chords on piano in all twelve keys. Sound hard? This piano tutorial is super easy and perfect for beginners AND people who need a refresher.
This is one in a multiple-article series on piano for singers, where I make learning piano easy and fun. Youll be accompanying yourself in no time!
The trick to easily learn major and minor triads is to understand how they are made up intervallically. For example, a major triad consists of a major third on the bottom and a minor third on the bottom.
A minor triad is the opposite: a minor third on the bottom and a major triad consists of a major third on the top.
Once you have figured out this pattern, you will have no problem playing any major or minor triad in any key.
This approach is WAY EASIER than memorizing key signatures or looking at a cheat sheet. Try it and soon youll be able to play major chords on piano in all the keys!
Want to practice in all twelve keys? Get your free Circle of 5ths printable here.
Intro To Piano Improv With Minor Chords
If you are relatively new to the piano, perhaps youve never played a minor chord progression before. In todays lesson, not only will you learn 3 minor chords youll also play in a minor key. Todays lesson sheet is in the key of C minor, which contains 3 flats . In fact, you can download the lesson sheet PDF and backing track from the bottom of this page after logging in with your membership. You can also easily transpose this lesson to any other key using our Smart Sheet Music.
Before we get into the details, however, we need to dispel a few myths up front
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Use Chords To Improvise
Improvising on a chord sequence is a great way to begin exploring the creative and fulfilling skill. This is because the framework of a powerful chord sequence holds your playing. Try it out now with this sequence in the left hand:
- C major C, E, G
- G major G, B, D
- A minor A, C, E
- F major F, A, C.
The right hand can pick out a melody. If you are new to this, start with long melody notes.