So which notes do you play to make what chord? With eighty-eight keys on the piano, that makes an impossible number of combinations, right?
fall away piano chords
The piano keyboard is made up of only twelve tones. These tones, called the chromatic scale, repeat as you go up the keyboard. Each white or black key is included in the scale, and is a half step away from the keys next to it. As you go up the keyboard, twelve half steps will bring you right back to where you started in the sequence of tones.
Most chords in modern-day Western music are either a major chord or a minor chord. Ninety-nine percent of all popular music, and almost as much classical music, is built on these two kinds of chords and their variations. Major and minor chords are made up of three tones, called the root, the third, and the fifth. Chords are always named for their root. The C major chord, for example, will have a C as its root and lowest note. The third is going to be the third tone of the C major scale, or an E.
The fifth will be the fifth tone of the C major scale, or the G. A major chord sounds like a major chord no matter what note it has for its root.
This is because the number of half steps between each of the notes will always be the same. Between the root and the third you will always have four half steps, an interval known as a major 3rd. The top two notes of the chord, from the third to the 5th, will be three half steps apart, or a minor 3rd. This is how you build a major chord starting from ANY of the twelve tones of the chromatic scale. Say you want to make a D major chord. Count up four half steps from D, and you get F-sharp.
Then count up three more half steps from F-sharp, you get A. The D major chord is D, F-sharp, A. Now say you want to start on a black key, such as E-flat. Make the chord the same way. Count up four half steps to G, then three half steps to B-flat. Your E-flat major chord is E-flat, G, B-flat.
If you have your piano keyboard handy, see if you can play each major chord, one for each of the twelve tones. You can hear how each major chord has a similar sound. This is because their notes have the same relationship to each other. Now, back to those letters above the musical staff. A minor chord is built like an upside-down major chord. It puts the minor 3rd on the bottom, from root to third, and major 3rd on top from the third to the fifth.
Minor goes on bottom, major goes on top, and the fifth goes in the same place. To make a minor chord, start on any of the twelve tones of the chromatic scale. To use C as an example again, the C minor chord will have the same root, the C, but then going up three half steps a minor 3rd takes us to an E-flat. Four more half steps a major 3rd brings us to G. You might have noticed that to change from a major to a minor chord, all you have to do is to move the third the middle tone down by one half step. This tiny change swaps a major chord for a minor chord. So, if you know the major chord, create the minor chord simply by lowering the third a half step.
Give it a try on your piano. Try to make every possible minor chord, all twelve of them.
- How to Read and Play Piano Chords - Hoffman Academy.
- Power chord - Wikipedia;
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- Megans Mind.
Minor Chord Symbols C minor chord: For example, to make a C diminished you use C, E-flat, and G-flat. Try a few diminished chords out on your piano to hear for yourself their unique, unsettled sound. There are also the rather bizarre, space-age augmented chords, built on two major thirds, like C, E, G.
Add flavor and color to any of these chords by adding one or more tones to your basic root, third, and 5th. The added tones are usually indicated with a number written after the chord symbol.
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