How to Understand Basic Piano Chords Symbols
When you play chord piano, you usually read chord symbols.
You will see the name of the root (any of the note names) an m
(if the third is minor) and a number for any notes that have been added
to the basic three notes of the triad. So 1-3-5 is never written since
it is the basic chord formula.
Lets take an example. This is a 4-note chord; called a C minor seventh chord:
1. C is the root, (number 1).
2. “m” means that the 3rd is a minor 3rd. (The Major 3rd is never written).
3. 7 is the added note the seventh step up from 1. (In this case it is a small or minor 7. If it would be the "big" or major 7, this would be written “Maj”).
You may see other numbers in basic piano chords like 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, and 13. All those are additions to the 1-3-5 formula.
The 5 can actually be left out, it is not so important, but the 1
(root), 3 and any "spice notes" like for ex. the 7th should be played
since they give character!
Another way of writing basic piano chords is with roman numerals, like I IV V for example. This is a clever way of writing chord progressions since you can use them in any key.