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The first key to remember when trying to make sense of the piano chord is that they’re based on…you guessed it…piano scales! In our examples, we will use the key of “C” but the formula applies to all keys.

Remember that the major piano scale for the key of C is C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C – where the first “C” is the root of all chords in the key of “C”.

Click Here To Learn What A Piano Chord Looks Like And How It Works!

One more thing: We use the terms lowered or raised a lot below.

  • “lowered” means shifted down one-half step or made flat (flat).
  • “raised” means shifted up one-half step or made sharp (sharp).

We will reference this scale in our examples below.

There are Four Main Piano Chord Types each are further distinguished by what’s often referred to as their quality (Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished, Suspended):

  • Triad
  • Seventh
  • Extended
  • Other

Let’s explore the construction of the triad chords…


Remember triads are the simplest chord pattern consisting of only three notes.

triad piano chord

Further, these three-note (triad) chords can be one of the following:


Symbol: M or maj, implied if no symbol is present

This the probably the most basic and familiar chord form.

It consist of the 1st, 3rd and 5th note in a major piano scale.

Example: Cmaj or CM = C E G


Symbol: m

This the probably the second most basic chord form.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd and 5th notes in the scale.


Cm = C Eb G


Symbol: dim or o

Just like the name suggest, a diminished triad chord is a minor triad chord with the last note diminished or lowered one-half step.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd and lowered 5th notes in the scale.

Example: Cdim or Co = C Eb Gb


Symbol: aug or +

Just like the name suggest, an augmented triad chord will last note in the chord augmented or raised one-half step.

It consist of the 1st, 3rd and raised 5th notes in the scale.

Example: Caug or C+ = C E G#

Suspended or Suspended Fourth:

Symbol: sus or sus4

Just like the name suggest, a suspended chord is a chord that when played doesn’t sound “resolved” The listener is sort left “hanging” or suspended, waiting for another note or chord to finish the sequence. It’s like the following incomplete sentence: “Once you play a chord…”

It ends without giving you what you need to complete the thought.

In a suspended chord the 3rd note is typically replaced by the 4th note.

It consist of the 1st, 4th and 5th notes (sometimes the 3rd note is also played)

Example: Csus or Csus4 = C F G



Click Here To Learn What A Piano Chord Looks Like And How It Works!


Piano music is much more beautiful when it’s played with free piano chords because chords create harmony. Built from single notes starting with the first note or root of the simple major triad chords are the result of playing a root note (also called the tonic or degree I), a third tone above the first (major third or degree III), and a fifth tone (perfect fifth or degree V). This odd-numbered combination is called a major triad but its sound is far from being “odd.” The minor triad chords are formed simply by lowering the fifth one-half step (5):

Click Here To Get Free Piano Chords Tips!

Major and Minor Triad Chords

If you’re familiar with the work of Bela Barok, then you know what we mean. Bela Bartok was a Hungarian composer whose work is known for its “odd-numbered” chords as well as its “even-numbered” chords.

There are approximately 12 different root keys that you can use to build a chord, and there about 600 chords that you can learn to play by using free piano chords. As you practice them, you’ll discover some interesting patterns that make a few of them more memorable than the others.

Here some of the more common ones played in the Major and Minor triads:

Root Key Major Chord Triads Minor Chord Triads
C C, E, G C, Eb, G
C# / Db C#, F, G# C#, E, G#
D D, F#, A D, F, A
D# / Eb Eb, G, A# Eb, F#, A#
E E, G#, B E, G, B
F / E# F, A, C F, G#, C
F# / Gb F#, A#, C# F#, A, C#
G G, B, D G, A#, D
G# / Ab G#, C, Eb G#, B, Eb
A A, C#, E A, C, E
A# / Bb A#, D, F A#, C#, F
B / Cb B, Eb, F# B, D, F#

To find more free piano chords, you need only to search for them on the Internet! It’s easy to find free piano chords online and some of the better ones will have the following:

  1. display all 50 chords (or more)
  2. visually demonstrate the keys that should be played
  3. literally send each chord to your computer’s speakers as a sound file.

Working with audio will help train your ear to recognize a chord the moment that it’s played. And with enough practice, you should be able to identify a chord in any music (jazz chords, gospel, blues, rock, etc.) with little difficulty.

So if you’re looking for something a little different from the all the static music books out there, then you should enjoy the interactive quality of free piano chords online. There’s so much more to explore in the world of music and it’s great to live in an age where technology and music mesh together to broaden our understanding, skill, and appreciation through tools like these. And we can certainly sympathize with those individuals who learned piano in the pre-Internet era.

Even though the former pre-Internet approach is the same as the approach of the masters, few of us can deny the fact that technology is an enabler. Taking advantage of today’s accomplishments makes us no less of a musician. So enjoy!

Click Here To Get Free Piano Chords Tips!

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Piano Chords – More Than Just a Group of Notes

June 5, 2015

At their most basic, piano chords are formed by playing three or more notes simultaneously. The combinations that result set the mood of a musical piece – happy, sad, powerful, soulful, etc. Historically, major chords have always evoked positive emotions while minor piano chords evoke the opposite. That’s a fairly simplistic observation, but it gives […]

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Top 10 Ways To Effectively Practice Piano

May 28, 2015

Let us start by admitting piano practice isn’t always fun. At times, it can be as grueling a task as mopping the floor or teaching your York Terrier to roll over (even when he hasn’t done it for the hundredth time). The key thing about piano practice however, is that it isn’t really supposed to […]

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How Popular Chord Progression Works – A Simple Guide

May 26, 2015

What is a popular chord progression? Chord progressions are actually series of chords which are played one after the other to produce a harmonious tune. By now you have learned the different piano chords and may have memorized them a bit. The knowledge you have about chords will help you a lot in playing the […]

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Top Five Ways To Play Piano By Ear

April 12, 2015

Learn scales and try to pick them out in the music you hear. One of the top five ways to play piano by ear is by learning (at the very least) what scales are and what they sound like. Scales are a series of octave-specific notes that are played in a particular pattern or order. […]

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Seventh Piano Chords In It’s Many Forms

February 14, 2015

Seventh piano chords are just like the triad chords PLUS the 7th note in the scale. It’s used a lot in jazz, gospel and blues piano music. Just like with the triads, seventh piano chords can have several forms: Click Here To Get The Lowdown On Seventh Piano Chords! Dominant Seventh: Symbol: 7 The dominant […]

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Piano for Beginners – Different Ways of Learning

February 8, 2015

There is a bit of a mini-revolution going on in the world of piano teachers. And it all has to do with teaching piano for beginners. You see, there’s the old way of teaching piano. This way focuses on learning notes, learning to site read music, and learning where each individual note is on the […]

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Top 10 Ways To Improvise On The Piano

November 6, 2014

1. Use fake books. Fake books, as one of the top 10 ways to improvise on the piano, are gentle introductions to what could be interpreted as the Wild West of improvisation. Improvisation is largely based on freedom of expression. Without having a good foundation of the basics, beginners may feel intimidated by the possibilities. […]

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E Chord Chart for Piano

August 26, 2009

Using the the piano chord chart table, Here are the E Chords: E Chord Name Symbols Chords Notes* E Major (implied if without notation) EM or Emaj or E E G# B E Minor Em E G B E Augmented Eaug or E+ E G# C E Diminished Edim or Eo E G A# E […]

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