Piano Chords For Beginners – Learn From A Pro

Pianist playing chords

Chords are often the backbone of songs, whether it be pop, classical, or jazz. Therefore, learning to play beginner piano chords is essential in your journey to learning to play the piano.

This article will cover the basics of piano chords and teach you how to play them, read them, and come up with your own chord progressions. 

Should you be new to the piano or songwriting, you will quickly find out the importance of piano chords. Of course, the difficulty varies when it comes to certain piano chords; however, you will promptly understand piano chords inside and out after reading this article.

The beginning of this article focuses on playing piano chords, whereas the end of the article focuses on what piano chords are and the music theory behind them.

When you play any of the chords in this post, the easiest way to go about this is to play the triad in the right hand and play the root of the chord in the left hand. When you get comfortable with this, try switching to an octave. For example, If you play a C Major chord, play a low C with your left hand and then play octaves when you get comfortable.

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Pianote has courses specifically on the following:

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Easy Piano Chord Chart (Common Piano Chords)

Below you will find the easiest and most basic chords to play on the piano. These are the most common chords for piano that you will likely come across daily.

While there are thousands of ways to play piano chords, today, we will break down piano chords in the most basic approach. This means we will skip advanced chords such as chords used in jazz compositions, which typically include 7th’s, 9th’s, 11’ths, and 13ths.

Let’s take a look at the most common piano chords before jumping into common chord progressions below:

  • C Major (C,E,G)
  • C minor (C, Eb,G)
  • D Major (D, F#, A)
  • D minor (D, F, A)
  • E Major(E, G#,B)
  • E minor (E,G,B)
  •  F Major (F, A,C)
  • F minor (F,Ab, C)
  • G Major (G, B,D)
  • G minor (G,Bb, D)
  • A Major (A, C#, E)
  • A minor (A, C,E)
  • B Major (B,D#, F#)
  • B Minor (B, D, F#)

These chords are common chords you will typically come across in music; with this being said, there are more chords, which we will get to later in this article.

Major Piano Chords

 Below you will find a chart of the basic Major piano chords:

  • C Major (C,E,G)
  • Db Major (Db,F,Ab)
  • D Major (D,F#,A)
  • E Major( E,G#,B)
  • Eb Major (Eb,G,Bb)
  • F Major ( F,A,C)
  • F# Major (F#,A#,C#)
  • G Major (G,B,D)
  • Ab Major (Ab,C,Eb)
  • A Major (A,C#,E)
  • B Major (B,D#,F#
  • Bb Major (Bb, D, F)

I recommend playing through these chords block-style. What this means is to set a metronome, and play quarter notes at a specific tempo and slowly increase your tempo/

This will help your finger dexterity dramatically when starting.

Basic Piano Minor Chord Chart

Below are the same basic chords in triad form for your to practice.

  • C minor (C,Eb,G)
  • C# minor (C#,E,G#)
  • D minor (D,F,A)
  • Eb minor (Eb,Gb,Bb)
  • E minor (E,G,B)
  • F minor (F,Ab,C)
  • F# minor (F#,A,C#)
  • G minor (G,Bb,D)
  • G# minor (G#,B,D#)
  • A minor (A,C,E)
  • Bb minor (Bb,Db,F)
  • B minor (B,D,F#)

Whole Steps Vs. Half Steps

To understand chords, we have to understand what whole steps and half steps are. Let’s take the C note, for example. If we start on C and go up a half step, we end on the black key, C#. If we go up another step from C#, we go to D. From C to D is a whole step, simply two half steps.

Easy Piano Chord Progressions To Practice

I have created an article that talks about piano chord progressions for beginners. With that being said, here are a few super common chord progressions we see in music.

  • C Major, F Major, A minor, G Major
  • G Major, E minor, C Major, D Major
  • A minor, F Major, C Major, G Major
  • F Major, G minor, C Major, Bb Major

Diminished Piano Chords

What are diminished piano chords? The basic formula for creating a diminished chord is the following:

  • minor third
  • lowered fifth or flat fifth (minor third)

As you can see, a diminished chord is simply two minor thirds stacked.

Let’s figure out the notes to a b diminished chord:

Start on B and create a minor third, a Whole step, and a half step to get to note D. Then perform another minor third to go to F. 

This means the notes for a B diminished chord are B,D,F. 

Diminished chords are sad-sounding chords and some of my favorites to use in my compositions. They are tricky at first, but with some practice, you can learn to master them.

  • C diminished (Cdim) C – Eb – Gb
  • C# diminished (C#dim) C# – E – G
  • D diminished (Ddim) D – F – Ab
  • D# diminished (D#dim) D# – F# – A
  • E diminished (Edim) E – G – Bb
  • F diminished (Fdim) F – Ab – Cb
  • F# diminished (F#dim)F# – A – C
  • G diminished (Gdim) G – Bb – Db
  • G# diminished (G#dim) G# – B – D
  • A diminished (Adim) A – C – Eb
  • A# diminished (A#dim) A# – C# – E
  • B diminished (Bdim) B – D – F

Augmented Piano Chords

Augmented chords are chords that sound mysterious or suspicious. Think of the chord that you hear in a superhero movie when they present the villain.

The composition of an augmented chord is the following:

  • C augmented (Caug) C – E – G#
  • C# augmented (C#aug) C# – E# – G##
  • D augmented (Daug) D – F# – A#
  • D# augmented (D#aug) D# – F## – A##
  • E augmented (Eaug) E – G# – B#
  • F augmented (Faug. F – A – C#
  • F# augmented (F#aug) F# – A# – C##
  • G augmented (Gaug) G – B – D#
  • G# augmented (G#aug) G# – B# – D##
  • A augmented (Aaug) A – C# – E#
  • A# augmented (A#aug) A# – C## – E##
  • B augmented (Baug) B – D# – F##

Two Major 3’rd’s create an Augmented chord.

Let’s use this formula to figure out C Augmented. A major 3’rd from C is E, and another Major 3rd from E is G#.

This means C Augmented is C,E,G#.

What Is A Piano Chord

Piano chords are what are created when more than one note is played at the same time. For beginner’s purposes, we have focused primarily on triads. 

Root Notes

Every chord contains a root note. The root note is the note that the chord is named. For example, the root of C Major is C. 

How To Play A Major Chord

The easiest way to understand a Major chord is through music theory. For example, when we break down the C Major chord, we get the following:

The notes are C,E,G.

  • Whole step – Whole step – This means you go from C to E.
  • Whole step- Half step – This gets you E to G.

Another way to view this is a Major chord consists of a Major 3’rd and a Minor 3’rd.

You can use this to play any Major chord without knowing the key signature.

How To Play A minor Chord

Minor chors consist of a minor 3’rd and a Major 3’rd, in that order. Take a minor, for example:

The notes are A,C,E. 

For this, we simply start on A and do the following: Half-step, Whole step. This gets you from A to C. Then, you will notice, you use Whole-step to Whole-step to go from C to E.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have developed an understanding of beginner piano chords, it’s time to go out and practice them and begin to memorize them.

I also recommend learning to play piano scales while you are learning more about chords.

If you liked what you learned in this article, head over to Pianote, where you can continue to learn from incredible instructors via video and fantastic content.

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