Learn Piano Chords

Lessons, Charts and Printable's for Beginners

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With these basic piano chords’ lessons, you will learn from scratch how a chord is built, modified, inverted, and analyzed.

There is also an introduction to the study of Harmony, where you may experience some confidence boosting results of what a humble little chord, or even better; a progression of chords can do!

Why Learning Chords?

Learn About Piano ChordsLearn How to Play Piano Chords.

For pianists, learning about chords is especially important, since most piano compositions are created mainly with music chords and melodic patterns.

A good resource for all pianists is a book with all the common scale and chord patterns. I recommend: The Complete Book of Scales, Chords and Arpeggios.

You can also learn to play chord piano, where you accompany a melody with different chord progressions. These are often written with chord symbols instead of notes.

What is a Chord?

Chord in root position.A chord in root position.

What is a Chord? Let us start by clearing up what a chord is and what a good definition of music chords is.

The word Chord itself is derived from the ancient Greek word “khorde”, which meant "gut, string of a musical instrument".

The word for chord in Modern Greek is “Synchordia” which means “strings sounding simultaneously”. Here is a short and simple chord definition:

A chord consists of three or more notes played together. Check out this lesson and print a FREE piano chord chart here.

But the notes of a chord can be played in many ways and sometimes not together at all! Chords can be played blocked (all notes simultaneously) and broken or “arpeggiated” (one after the other, like plucking a chord on a guitar).


Music chords are one of the major building blocks of music. Chords belong to a group of musical elements called Harmony.

So, what is Harmony? Harmony happens (!) when notes in general are played simultaneously. A chord is created when three or more notes are played simultaneously.

Harmony can be created by:

  • Intervals (two notes played together).
  • Chords (three or more notes played together)
  • 2 or more melodies played/sung together. Or 1 melody started at different times, like the well-known round “Row, row, row your boat”. (a simple form of polyphony.)

Basically, any two notes sounded together is creating what is called harmony. The harmony can be either consonant (harmonious) or dissonant (not harmonious).

When studying music theory and harmony, you will learn that chords can sound peaceful or weird, ugly or nice, spicy or sweet.

Chords can sound as if they need desperately to go somewhere, and the next chord can either sound like “home” or keeps the tension going.

You can use chords in a progression to lead the music forward or coming to a stop. When learning about chords you will see that they are very powerful ingredients in music indeed!

Music chords are so useful that, simply put, with your own little melody and some chords that fit; there is no limit to the kind of compositions you could make...

Different Types of Chords

There are 3 main types of piano chords:

  1. 3-note chords, also called Triads,
  2. extended Chords like 4-note chords, also called 7th chords,
  3. and added tone chords.

>>Basic Chord Theory: Introduction to Chords

>>Basic Piano Chords

Playing Piano Chords

Chord Piano

How do you play chord piano? Here are lessons in how to get started playing chord piano. It’s easier than you might think!

>>Introduction to Chord Piano 

>>Learn Piano Chords -The Basics of Chord Piano Playing

Printable Piano Chord Chart

Print the basic chords for an easy overview of the most common chords in root position. Fun! Here's a free printable PDF:

>>Free Printable Piano Chords Chart for Beginners

Common Piano Chord Progressions

Here are some fun ways to combine chords in different progressions.

>>Common Piano Chord Progressions

Chord Inversions

Now the fun starts! Let’s twist and turn those chords into new shapes!

Once you’ve learned how a chord is built in root position, you can learn how any chord can be rearranged. This is called Chord Inversions.

>>Go to Chord Inversions

Inversions simply use the same notes as the basic chord in root position, but in a different order. Here is a lesson with FREE printable PDF's:

>>Piano Chord Inversions in Major and Minor with FREE Printable Chord Charts

Analyzing Chords

Roman Numeral Chords

You can write the chords in different ways, as notes, as chord symbols or as Roman numerals.

>>Learn about roman numerals chords here.

Diatonic Harmony

Here we will look at the relationships between the chords. Yes! When chords are played together, they start sounding different than when they are played alone. A very fascinating subject indeed…

>>Go to Understanding Diatonic Harmony

Composing with Chords

Adding Chords to a Melody

Did you ever wonder how to put chords to a melody? Here is a very easy lesson on how to add great sounding harmonies to a little tune. Ah, did I mention it is easy? Have a look:

>>How to Add a Chord Sequence to a Melody

Introduction to Four Part Harmony

This is fun! Find or write a melody. Add some suitable chords. Now write the concoction for four or more instruments….

You will begin to feel the power of being able to compose your own music!

>>Go to 4 Part Harmony for Beginners

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