Printable Piano Chords Chart for Beginners
Here's a free printable piano chords chart (PDF) for beginners.
In this easy piano lesson you'll get tips on how to use this chord chart for piano playing.
You'll also learn how chords are built and some tips on how get started playing chord piano. Have fun!
Printable Piano Chords Chart
A piano chords chart is a handy tool especially when you start learning how to play chords.
This chord chart shows you the most common chords in root position; major, minor, diminished, 7th chords and Major 7th chords in all keys.
Click on the link below to download your free chord chart:
Printable Piano Chord Chart (PDF)
(a new window will open.)
When you start to learn piano chords, I recommend that you get a music book with melody and simple chords, like this Easy Fake Book (Amazon).
It has great songs to practice playing easy chords to, and making (faking ) your own accompaniments.
How to Use a Piano Chords Chart
- First pick a piece with chord markings and melody, or just lyrics and chords. You can use anything you like for guitar with chord tabs as well- since chord names for piano are the same.
- Highlight the different
chords that are used- it might seem like there are a lot, but usually
there are only a few chords, or a specific chord progression.
- Look at the piano chords chart and learn the pattern on the piano keys of those chords.
- Next, write them on a piece of paper and practice only the different chords that are used until you know them well.
- Then, practice the chords in the order of the song, until fluent.
- Finally, sing or hum the melody of the piece you picked, playing the chords at the right words!
The free piano chord chart above shows how to play the most common basic piano chords in all 12
keys in root position: Major, minor, diminished, seventh chord and
major seventh chord.
How Music Chords Are Built
A three note chord, or a triad.
- A chord consists of three or more notes played together.
- The notes of a chord in root position are all spaced an interval of a third apart.
- You actually “build” chords by stacking thirds on top of each other.
- Depending on if the thirds are major (big) or minor (small)
and in what order they are stacked, you get different types of chords.
- The most basic piano chords are either three-note or four-note chords. Basic three note chords are also called "Triads".
There are Four Types of Triads (Three note chords):
- The Major Chord
is a triad (a three note chord) made of a major third and on top a
minor third. This creates the specific sound of “major”; a “happier”,
“lighter” sound. It is written for ex.: E (Root=E, major chord).
- The Minor Chord
is built with a minor third and on top a major third. This gives the
sound of “minor” a more “sad”, “darker” sound. It is written for ex.: Am (Root=A, minor chord).
- The Diminished Chord
is made from only minor thirds. This gives the chord a sound like it
really wants to go somewhere, to be resolved somehow. That is why it is
often referred to as a Dominant 7th chord with no root. It is written
for ex.: D dim (Root=D, diminished chord).
- The Augmented Chord is built from only major thirds; it also has a very “unresolved” sound.
The 7th chord is a four note chord. It has a root, a third, a fifth and a seventh. Starting from the root:
- A “regular” 7th chord,
also called a Dominant 7th chord, for example C7, is made from a major
chord plus a minor third on top. That would make the thirds stacked like
this (from the bottom and up): major third, minor third, minor third.
- A Major 7th chord, for example Cmaj7, is a major chord plus a major third on top. The thirds are stacked like this: major, minor, major.
How To Play Chord Piano
When playing chord piano using for example a “Fake book" (Amazon) you play chords and melody
following a lead sheet.
A lead sheet has only the melody written with
notes (or only lyrics), and above it the chords are written as chord
symbols, like Cmaj7, Eb dim. or Bm for example.
If you already know the
melody, you only need the lyrics and the chords.
either sing the melody of the song (or have someone else sing it!) and
make up your own accompaniment, or pick out the melody in one hand and
play the chords in the other.
Use the piano chords
chart above when you need to remind yourself how to play chords in root position.
However- make sure to
check out my beginner piano lesson about how to
play piano chord inversions
to learn how you can change the position of the chord for smooth transitions from one chord to the next.
You can also learn about, and print my handy piano chord inversions charts here.
Useful Chord Piano Tools