Piano Chords Explained

Piano ChordsLooking at a piano and the notes, the first thing even the most amateur musician will notice is an array of keys –some black and some white– that make a different sounds –or note–when struck. These notes have been assigned a letter and from A to G.

If you were to play three of these notes simultaneously –the C, E, and G notes, for instance– you will have played a chord. So, a chord could be considered a combination of notes. The chord played by striking the C, E, and G notes together are the ìCî Chord

There will usually be three or four notes struck at the same time to create the chords necessary to play a particular piece of music. The letters and numbers that accompany the chords tell which root notes are to be struck.

The Major and Minor Chords

Major chords are all represented by a single letter, for example, E, C, G# or Bb. To play the chord, you will skip every other note. To play the C chord from earlier, the notes skipped were D and F (C, G, and E). To Play the G chord, you would hit the G, B and D notes –skipping the A and C notes– and so on.

Only three major keys — C, G, and F– can be played using only the white keys, for the rest you will have to mix in some black keys. To play the D chord, for example, you will strike the D, F#, and A notes, for example.

Now if you strike the A, C, and E notes together the result sounds quite different from the major chords –this is a minor chord. Minor chords like major chords are produced by taking the chord name and skipping the every other note — A, C, and E create Am or A minor.

There are also three minor chords that can be played on white keys alone — Am, Dm and Em. For the rest it will be necessary to use some black keys. -listen to the specific sounds of the chord and attempt to recreate them using a different key.

Another way to remember which of these black keys –also called sharps or flats– you are supposed to use. There are charts available online which are great for reference and can be memorized as well.

The best way would be to combine both–learn all you can about the chords, names and how they work and how the sounds of each one varies.

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