Easy Piano Chords To Learn – Chords determine the harmony of a song and are formed when several notes are played simultaneously. They can be simple or complex, but even beginner piano chords can make for fun and exciting music. In fact, there are very few songs that don’t use chords in some way, especially in rock music!
When it comes to playing the piano, pianists have thousands of chords to choose from, with some chords more popular than others. Check out some of the more common chords in the piano chord chart below, or read on to learn more about piano chords.
Easy Piano Chords To Learn
A chord is created when more than one note is played at the same time and contains two, three or more separate notes. On a piano, this means you press more than one key at a time.
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All piano chords contain a root note, the note after which the chord is named, and one or more additional notes. Basic piano chords are often just two or three notes long, while more advanced chords tend to include even more notes.
The most common type of piano keyboard or chord is the triad, or three note chord. A triad contains a root note and two other notes, most often notes that create intervals of thirds and fifths above the root note.
One way to get the basic triad shape is to place your thumb and fingers on the adjacent white keys and press down with your thumb, middle finger, and little finger. Learning this technique will allow you to easily play a variety of basic piano chords.
The distance between piano notes, called the interval, determines how they sound when played together. Intervals are measured in half steps and whole steps.
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Piano notes follow a pattern of black and white keys, with a group of two side-by-side black keys, followed by a group of three side-by-side black keys. This pattern is repeated across the keyboard and we use it to identify notes.
Each of the white keys is given a letter name from A to G, and each of the black keys is named a sharp or flat.
Sharp or flat piano notes are named by the name of the letter immediately above (to the right of the keyboard) or below (to the left).
This piano sheet music table represents all of the different notes you will find on your keyboard and is important for understanding how the space between the notes you play will determine the type of piano chord that is created.
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The most common triad, or three note chord, is the major chord. Their popularity and versatility make them great piano chords for beginners.
Chords are used in almost every song you hear. The opening chord of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” is a C major chord. Listen to some of your favorite songs and see if you can hear the major chords sound.
To play a major chord, start by selecting the root note, which can be any note on the fretboard. Subtract two whole steps from the base note. This note is the “third,” so called because it’s the third note in the key starting with the root note. Count one and a half to three half steps from the third. This note is the “fifth”.
When you play these three notes together on the keyboard, you will hear a joyous sounding major triad. Major chords are used in almost all rock and pop songs.
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The intervals in a major chord are called the “major third,” the distance from the root note to the third, and the “perfect fifth,” the distance from the root note to the fifth. We counted the steps from root to third and from third to fifth. To find the interval of a perfect fifth above the root note, count three and a half steps, or a total of seven half steps.
Minor chords, like major chords, contain the three fundamental notes of the keyboard, the root, third and fifth. To play a minor chord, select a root note, then count down from three semitones to a third. Subtract two whole tones (or four half tones) from the third to find the fifth.
Minor chords are also very common in rock and pop music. “Comfortably Numb” is an example of a rock song that starts with a minor chord. Most rock and pop songs use a blend of major and minor piano chords.
The third interval of a minor chord is called the “minor third”. The interval of a fifth in a minor chord is the same as in a major chord, the interval of a “perfect fifth”.
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A diminished third uses a minor third and a lowered fifth, called a “diminished fifth”. A diminished fifth is three whole tones or six half tones above the root note. To find the notes of a diminished chord, count a step and a half from the root to the third and then a step and a half from the third to the fifth.
Diminished keyboard chords are less common than major and minor, but are still commonly used in rock and pop songs. They have an eerie, tense sound. The most common use of a diminished chord is to transition between two other more stable sounding chords. You can hear the diminished chord used this way in the Beach Boys song “God Only Knows”.
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Augmented chords use a major third and an “augmented fifth”. The interval of the augmented fifth is four whole tones or eight half tones above the base note. Augmented chords have a very distinct and unusual sound to most people’s ears.
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Like diminished chords, augmented chords are often used to transition from more stable sounds in rock to pop music. An example of this is the song “Crying” performed by Roy Orbison, which uses an augmented chord in the chorus.
Learning the different types of chords and how to play them on the piano is great fun and opens up opportunities to understand and play all types of music. As you learn more songs and even write your own, you’ll find endless piano or keyboard chord combinations that create different sounds and moods.
At the School of Rock, our students can learn theory, apply what they’ve learned to their instrument, rehearse with a band, and then take the stage and play a concert! Piano lessons are a great way to learn to play and understand music, even if without a specific focus to work towards, piano and keyboard students usually only learn the simplest piano chords or song parts.
A concert with friends at the School of Rock is an effective way to motivate yourself to train hard, learn songs from cover to cover, and set a personal best each season. If you are interested in playing your favorite songs on the piano or keyboard, knowing how to play chords is essential! Stay tuned to learn more about chords and how to play them.
Learn Piano Chords
Piano chords are created by playing more than 1 note at a time! There are many different types of chords, but in this post, we’ll be looking at triads. A triad is a type of chord made up of 3 notes. A great way to remember what a Triad means is to think of a tricycle: just like a tricycle has 3 wheels, a Triad has 3 notes!
The way we play a triad chord on the piano is by pressing three keys at the same time. These chords can consist of white keys, black keys, or a combination of both. If you want to learn more about keyboard notes, check out the easiest way to find piano sheet music!
Here is a short list of the most commonly used triad chords in pop music. Note that each chord has a symbol, a name, and the 3 notes that make up that triad chord. The bold symbol is what you usually see in chord charts while playing your favorite songs!
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Teaching Piano Chords With Powerful Visual Tools
Major triad chords consist of 3 notes stacked on top of each other. The notes we use to create a major chord are important. Even more important is the distance between notes in chords. The distance between one note and another is called an interval.
Major chords are played when the distance between note 1 and note 2 of the chord is a major third (4 semitones, ) and when the distance between note 2 and note 3 of the chord is a minor third (3 semitones . ) Let’s look at this C major chord on the fretboard below:
As you can see, the notes C, E and G make up the C major chord. The distance between the note C and
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