HOW TO PLAY PIANO CHORDS

You now understand your major scales; this means that you have done the hardest work in your process to learning to play the piano.

Major and minor piano chords are very predominant in all music, so we shall start with these.

Major chords

How do I form, for instance, a C major chord? Well, remember this:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7

C... D...E.....F....G... A....B

Now, the formula for a major chord is:

1 35 , translating that into notes we get,

CEG

That’s it! It does not get any easier than this my friend.

This chord above is a C major chord.

Here is another example, this time we will construct say, an F major chord.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7

F...G....A....Bb..C.....D....E

Formula,

135, write this in terms of notes we get:

FAC

Minor chords

The formula for a minor chord is: 1 – b3 – 5

So a C major chord will be: C – Eb – G

And an F major chord will be: F – Ab – C

CHORD FINGERING (How do I lay my hands down on the piano to play these chords?)

Let

· t=thumb

· i=index finger

· m=middle finger

· r=ring finger

· p=pinky

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

finger to use

t

m

p

This means that when you play a C major chord with your right hand, you are going to use your thumb to play C, middle finger to play E and your pinky to play the G note.

Another way to play the root of C major is this:

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

finger to use

t

i

r

Other fingerings:

FIRST INVERSION

chord

E

G

C

finger to use

t

i

p

SECOND INVERSION

chord

G

C

E

finger to use

t

i

r

Later we’ll do 4-fingered chords; this is how you will finger them:

Cmajor 7 chord,

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

E

G

B

finger to use

t

i

m

p

SECOND INVERSION

chord

G

B

C

E

finger to use

t

i

m

p

C add9 chord,

ROOT INVERSION

chord

C

D

E

G

finger to use

t

r

m

p


Don’t worry concerning these chords; I will be explaining them as time goes on.

Note that you may come up with fingerings that are more convenient for you than the ones I’ve provided. If that’s the case, go ahead and use your own fingerings!

Playing piano chords: harmonically or melodically.

You can play piano chords either harmonically or melodically. Normally we play chords harmonically for fast songs and melodically for ballads, but this is not necessarily a rule because even for ballads pianists do play their chords harmonically a lot.

Let’s say we have C major chord: CEG

If I wanted to play the chord harmonically, I will play all of the notes of CM together, at the same time.

If I wanted to play the chord melodically, I will play the notes individually: C, E and then play G or I can go down with it, like this: play G, E and then C. If you want to you can even start on E, go to C and then play G, the choices are yours. Just experiment with different combinations and come up with your own style!

You can also mix the combination by playing the chord, first harmonically then melodically.

Try this for the CM chord(C-E-G)!

C-G → C-E → C-E-G

Try some of your own combinations and see what you can come with. To play piano, experimentation is what is going to take you to the next level and makes learning interesting and fun!

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