Adding Flavor to Major Chords for Piano

Add flavor and color to any major or minor chord by enhancing it by adding one or more tones above its root, typically indicated by adding numbers after its chord symbol.

C maj 7 denotes playing the seventh tone in C major scale – D, above the root note C.


Root chords are one of the most frequently played major chords, often consisting of three notes – usually, these consist of the root, major third and perfect fifth (1 – 3 – 5). As it’s usually easy to play this chord type is often one of the first types to learn; furthermore it creates an enjoyable sound and serves as the basis of all other chords played thereafter.

Most major chords share an interval between their notes, which means that with just one root note you can construct any major chord in any position.

To understand the intervals of a chord, it helps to imagine them as stacks of books stacked upon one another – with the bottom book representing the root tone, followed by major third and perfect fifth volumes stacked atop each other – with each book colored differently, making it easy to identify each note’s position in terms of Red-Blue-Green or any other order of color coding.


Once you master basic major chords, you can move on to more advanced piano chords. Each type of chord has its own sound and role in music composition – some more stable than others but all adding something special to your playing! One way you can change its function or quality is through inversions; these allow you to alter how its notes are arranged together in its chord form.

Suspend or replace middle notes by writing “c sus 2” after the chord symbol; this number indicates how many half steps up from the root it should go up the scale from there; for instance C sus 4 would replace third with fourth tone from root chord, creating more dissonant feelings and often used in transitional chord progressions to lead into major or minor chords.


A perfect fifth chord (also referred to as a fifth chord) is an intermediate step beyond major third chords. To remember it easily, just remember the letters above the musical staff – chords named by their root letter such as E Major chord are always named accordingly.

Beyond root, 3rd and 5th interval chords we can also assemble other major chords by adding tones to the scale – known as extensions – creating chords such as seventh chords, dominant 7th chords or half-diminished 7th chords (1-3-5-7).

The major thirteenth chord can be created by adding the 13th tone of the scale above its root. Due to its instability, this chord should only be used sparingly and should usually be followed up with another major or minor chord to alleviate tension.


This chord is an integral component of your piano chord vocabulary and adds emotion to a piece. Typically found in Romantic-era piano pieces and jazz, as well as piano ballads and other modern songs, this chord adds emotion.

Maj7 chords combine a major triad with the interval of a seventh note, creating what’s commonly known as Maj7 chords. Learning this chord is essential if you wish to explore more advanced piano music and understand harmony.

Sheet music indicates the major seventh chord as either “maj7” or “M7.” Sometimes you will also see additional tones and modifications superscripted as well, like Cmaj7 or 7(#11). A minor seventh chord is formed from taking a minor triad and adding an additional minor seventh note above the root – for instance a C minor seventh chord contains notes C-Eb-Gb-Bbb which makes playing it somewhat challenging due to its wide range of notes.