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Piano Chords

Beginner Piano Lessons

by Tania Gleaves on February 14, 2015

Welcome to what I believe is one of the easiest beginner piano lessons you will find anywhere. I’ve built this introduction to piano based on the experiences I’ve had successfully teaching countless others. My method is to keep it simple, make everything make sense, and move at a pace that keeps things interesting.

When you look at the piano keyboard, you see white keys and black keys. Each key represents a note. Notice there’s a pattern; the black keys are arranged in groups of two and three. Everywhere you see the group of three, the white key positioned between the second and third black key is called “A.” If you play an A and read off alphabetically as you play each white key after the A, you will notice that the note after G is also between the second and third black key. It is another A. Notice how the tune of both A’s is identical; one is just higher than the other.

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We call the distance between one A and the next A an octave. “Oct,” the root of octave, means eight. There are eight notes from A to A. The distance from B to B is an octave also, and the same is true for all the notes on the piano.

Find the note “C” on the keyboard. To locate it, you can either count up from A, or I’ll give you a hint: somewhere in the middle of the keyboard, locate a group of two black keys (not three); C is the white key just to the left of the first black key. Now, play the C and each white note to the right of it, reading off the names of the notes – C, D, E, F, G, A, B – until you land on the next C. Congratulations, you’ve played a scale in the key of C!

The scale is the most basic building block for everything we do on the piano. The first note of the scale you played was C. Your scale, therefore, was in the key of C.

You build chords – melodic groups of notes played simultaneously – from the notes in the scale. To play a C chord, you would play a C, E and G together. Go ahead and place your thumb over the C, your middle finger over the E, and your pinky over the G. Press down on all three notes together. That’s a C chord.

While your thumb stays over the C, locate a C two octaves down to the left and play it with your left thumb. Play that note together with the C chord. You’ve just combined bass with your chord. Here comes the tricky part. Counting from the C, move your left thumb to the right until it is over the F. With your right fingers positioned over the C chord, move them to the right until your thumb is over the F, your middle finger is over the A, and your pinky is over the C. Play the left and right hand parts together. That’s an F chord with F for the bass. Finally, move everything one more position to the right – left thumb over G and right thumb over G, middle finger over the B and pinky over the D. Play it all together and you’ve played a G chord with a G bass.

Believe it or not, you’ve just played the basic three-chord pattern of most of the rock songs written over the last six decades!

Get comfortable playing notes and chords and combining them with bass. From here, you can learn to play real songs. Check out the links section to decide where you personally want to go next!

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Seventh Piano Chords In It’s Many Forms

by Erik Thiede on 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:

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Dominant Seventh:

Symbol: 7

The dominant seventh consist of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and lowered 7th notes in the scale.

Example: C7 = C E G Bb

Major Seventh:

Symbol: M7 or maj7

The major seventh is a major triad chord plus the unlowered 7th note.

t consist of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes in a scale.

Example: Cmaj7 or CM7 = C E G B

Minor Seventh:

Symbol: m7

The minor seventh chord is the minor triad chord plus the dominant 7th.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd, 5th and lowered 7th notes in the scale.

Example: Cm7 = C Eb G Bb

Minor/ Major Seventh:

Symbol: m/M7 or m/maj7

Can decide between the  minor seventh and part major seventh? Then the minor/ major seventh chord may be your solution. It’s part minor seventh and part major seventh.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd, 5th and 7th notes in the scale.

Example: Cm/M7 or Cm/maj7 = C Eb G B

Diminished Seventh:

Symbol: dim7

Just like the name suggest, a diminished triad chord is a minor seventh chord with the last note diminished or lowered one-half step. Since the 7th note is already lower by definition, the 7th note is double lowered to become diminished (double flat, ). The 5th note is also lowered.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd, lowered 5th and double-lowered 7th notes in the scale.

Example: Cdim7 = C Eb G Bbb

Diminished Minor Seventh or Minor Seventh Flat Five or Half-Diminished Seventh:

Symbol: m7b5

It’s like a diminished seventh chord but the 7th note is only half-diminished, it’s just lowered once not twice as is the case in a Diminished Seventh.

It consist of the 1st, lowered 3rd, lowered 5th and lowered 7th notes in the scale.

Example: Cm7b5 = C Eb Gb Bb

Dominant Seventh Flat 5:

Symbol: 7b5

Just like the name suggest, it’s a dominant seventh where the 5th note is flat in the scale.

It consist of the 1st, 3rd, lowered 5th and lower 7th notes.

Example: C7#5 = C E Gb Bb

Augmented Dominant Seventh or Dominant Seventh Sharp 5:

Symbol: 7#5

Just like the name suggest, it’s a dominant seventh where the 5th note is sharp in the scale.

It consist of the 1st, 3rd, raised 5th and lower 7th notes.

Example: C7#5 = C E G# Bb

Play around with all of these seventh piano chords and learn to recognize them in your favorite music.

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Free Piano Chords – They’re The Path To Beautiful Music

February 12, 2015

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 […]

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Piano Chords – More Than Just a Group of Notes

February 9, 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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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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How Popular Chord Progression Works – A Simple Guide

January 18, 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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The Piano Chord – Making Sense of This Versatile Music Concept

January 12, 2015

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 […]

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Extended Piano Chords

January 2, 2015

As the name suggest, extended piano chords extend beyond the range of the major scale. Recall that chords are created with respect to there corresponding scales. For example, the major scale of “G” has this 8-note sequence: G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G. Chords that require notes beyond the 8th note (e.g. the last “G”) are extended piano chords. The […]

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Top Five Ways To Play Piano By Ear

December 30, 2014

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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Chord Progressions – The Basic DNA of Music

December 5, 2014

Many things in life have a pattern. In music, we refer to those patterns as chord progressions. They are simply a sequence of chords that tends to repeat throughout the song. Have you ever noticed how easy it can be to learn a new song you hear on the radio? Sometimes it only takes hearing […]

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