How to Play Major and Minor Chords on Keyboard

minor chords on keyboard

Major and minor chords are quite similar – just with different intervals between their third and fifth notes. So to find a minor chord simply invert a major one!

Example: A minor is the relative minor of C major; thus if you play up to the sixth note (A) in its C major scale it should sound very much like an A minor scale!

Major Triads

No matter what scale you are playing in, the basic building block of any chord is the triad. Triads consist of three notes stacked together with their root note at the base and third and fifth notes above it; major triads have a bright, full sound while minor ones produce sadder or melancholic tones.

Triads are identified by a capital letter representing their root note, while quality of interval between second and fourth and third and fifth is indicated with either lowercase “mi” or superscript circle o’. Augmented triads are indicated with plus signs (+).

Add another note to a triad’s stack, creating a seventh chord such as C7 (C7 chord). This adds additional sound and color while making your chord more identifiable; but before trying this yourself it’s important to understand how it works before taking any steps yourself.

Minor Triads

Major chords often feature minor versions with slightly altered intervals – it’s just like any major chord, only different. To construct a minor chord, select your root note, add four semitones above it (a semitone is the distance from one key to the next) and three semitones further on up from that note – typically written as either “m or mi.”

Stepping this process one step further, you can then go on to form diminished chords–shown with superscript o or oo–or augmented chords, often indicated with a plus sign (+). Utilizing chord symbols is an efficient way of quickly learning new keys and chords as well as deepening your understanding of their impact on musical compositions – especially important when playing alongside other musicians – as more experience you have with how a chord changes the feel and emotion of music, the better you will interpret it!

Minor 7th

Addition of a seventh to a minor triad adds another note of harmony and richness that softens its sorrowful sound, making it perfect for Romantic period piano pieces and jazz standards, such as in jazz standards.

To create a minor 7th chord, take any major triad and add a minor third above it – for example a C power chord (C + G) with an Eb minor 7th added overtop (Eb + Bb).

Minor seventh intervals always span ten semi-steps from the root note of the chord, so when adjusting note interval qualities in this piano diagram. You must also alter its chord symbol if inverting it; to do this you can either switch from to or vice versa for example.


Reduced chords provide music with a dark and dissonant ambience by using their unique sound; similar to minor triads but with a lowered fifth. Also referred to as Cdim or C* chords, diminished chords can be found both classical music such as Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier as well as contemporary songs by artists like Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be.”

To create a diminished chord, all that’s required is one root note and two notes spaced apart by a minor third; these intervals span three semitones (half tones).

An interval is a crucial element of the diminished sound, and can easily be created by flattening out two notes in a major chord (as pictured above). F, A and C become F diminished triad by flattening B and G respectively – as seen here in the diagram above.