Learning piano chord tips – a practical introduction (with virtual piano and chart)



For this blog post,
it would be useful to print it off or copy and paste into a document like Microsoft
Word before printing. The following in paper format will make more sense to you
as you’re sat at the piano/keyboard, rather than a computer screen. This post
also assumes you have some basic knowledge of notes and scales. You can also
use the virtual piano below (if you have flash/quicktime installed)

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Piano chords, or any chord for that matter,
are formed by combining two or more scale tones (notes). You now know the tones
(notes) that comprise all 12 major
scales
and you can play these scales smoothly (not necessarily quickly…yet!).
It is now time to apply this knowledge and begin combining the scale tones to
form chords. You may also see this referred to as combining two or more intervals
(remember the definition from your study of major scales). We will begin our
study with the simplest and most common type of piano chords, the triad (see
examples below).

As the name
implies a triad is composed of 3 notes from the major scale. We shall begin
with the major triad. A major triad consists of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones
(notes) of a major scale. You will also see this referred to as the root (1st),
major third (3rd), and perfect fifth (5th). So, based upon this C major chords
would consist of the notes C, E, and G of the C major scale. The symbols for a
major triad are Major, M, or Maj. Whenever you see these names or symbols
following a piano note (C, D, Eb, F#, etc.) you know it is referring to major
triad chords. Or if you are just given the note (C, D, etc.) it is inferred to
be a major triad.

Now, when
you practice these major chords, I recommend you form them using the 1st, 3rd,
and 5th fingers of your right hand. Thumb (1st), middle finger (3rd), and pinky
(5th). Your left hand will form these chords using the 1st, 3rd, and 5th
fingers also, but the numbering is pinky (1st) middle finger (3rd) and thumb
(5th).

Piano
Chords-Minor Triads

You now know
that combining the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of a major scale form major triad
piano chords. If you lower the 3rd tone one half step it becomes a minor triad.
So, minor triad chords are the 1st, b3rd, and 5th tones (notes) of a major
scale. The b3rd is the symbol for “flatted 3rd”. As stated this means
the 3rd tone (note) of the major scale is lowered one halfstep. You will also
see this referred to as root (1st), minor third (b3rd), and perfect fifth (5th).
So, based
upon this a C minor chord would consist of the notes C, Eb, and G. The symbols
for a minor triad are minor, m, min. or -. Whenever you see these names or
symbols following a piano note (C, D, Eb, F#, etc.) you know it is referring to
minor triad chords.

Now, when
you practice these minor chords, I want you to form them using the 1st, 3rd,
and 5th fingers of your right hand. Thumb (1st), middle finger (3rd), and pinky
(5th). Your left hand will form these chords using the 1st, 3rd, and 5th
fingers also, but the numbering is pinky (1st) middle finger (3rd) and thumb
(5th). For learning chord
progression
and other tips, visit this
post
.

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