› Learn Piano Chords

Learn Piano Chords &
The Basics of Chord Piano

If you learn piano chords you have found an easy and quick way to play. Read more about chords and how you can use them when playing the piano!

Why Learn Chords?

When you learn chords you learn one of the most important elements of music; Harmony. Harmony is created when two or more notes are played at the same time.

If you can read music notes already, learning more about chords and progressions will help you to see how a composition is built. It will help you a lot when learning new pieces; and it will make it easier to memorize them later.

If you are just starting to learn the piano, you can even start to learn piano chords by ear or through some easy lead sheets, and then continue learning to read music notes.

The knowledge about chords and how the different patterns look at the piano will help you as you learn to read notes. But, note readers or not- playing chords is simply fun and easy to do!

Start to Learn Piano Chords

Before you begin:

  • Start by learning names of the notes on the piano keys:
  • Next, learn how a basic chord is built in "root position". For example a C major chord (triad):

How to Play Major and Minor Chords

Here is a good lesson on how to play major and minor piano chords or triads from Learn and Master Piano:

If you know how to play a major and a minor chord, you are ready to play chord piano by either:

  1. Learning to play from a lead sheet.
  2. Play chords by making up your own that fit the melody.

Of course, as you play chord piano you will probably do a little bit of both. Keep reading as I will show you how.

Playing Chords with a Lead Sheet

Lead Sheet ExampleCourtesy of Wikicommons

A lead sheet is sheet music with only lyrics and chord symbols, or as above  the melody of the song plus lyrics and chord symbols.

There is no written accompaniment; this is what you have to make up on your own. This way of playing got nick-named “faking” an accompaniment, and gave rise to so called "Fake Books".

Fake Books are collections of music, melody, lyrics and chord symbols now available in many different styles and genres. Very famous are also the “The Real Books”, (love the name!). Most known for being a collection of Jazz standards, there are now many, many different books and styles in the "Real Book" collection.

There are also great Fake ( or Real) books for beginners, and -ooh this is fun!

If you are just starting out to learn piano chords, I recommend that you get for example The Easy Fake Book (Amazon). Tune up your singing voice- and you’ll be the star of the party in no time!

Making Up Your Own Chords

Play piano by ear is what you do when you pick out music you’ve heard without the help of sheet music. You can do the same with chords. Play a melody you have picked out, and with the left hand you try different chord combinations that fit to the melody.

There is no right or wrong way to learn this, and trial and error will also improve your aural skills (!), so don’t fear mistakes. It will also help to learn a bit about chord theory and how to read chord symbols.

Combining different chords together is called chord progressions. Chord progressions are a particular set of chords played in a sequence. This gives you the sound or style of the music, almost by itself.

To make it easier to move from one chord to the next, you use chord inversions. This means that you rearrange the notes of a chord in a different order. This is great so that you can move from one chord to the next much smoother.


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› Learn Piano Chords

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