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Learning piano chords - a practical introduction

Posted last March 26, 2010, 12:41 pm for Grade Music Tutors in Business report article

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.

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.

As with the major chords, you can go to Chordhouse.com piano chord finder and check out some minor piano chords. All you have to do is select the chord name (C, Eb, F, Ab, F#, etc.) and then select "minor". The chord will be highlighted for you on our "virtual piano keyboard". This will open up a new window so when you are done simply close that page and you will be back here. Go now and view some minor chords then come on back.

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).

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