How to Play Major Chords in Keyboard

Add major chords to your repertoire as one of the best ways to develop your piano technique and enhance your repertoire. They form the backbone of many songs.

Start with D major. Place your thumb on the D key, count four keys right (including white keys) and this gives you an indication of a major chord interval.

Major Triads

Begin your study of major chords by beginning with the tonic triad for any scale; this trio contains the root, third and fifth degrees.

Major thirds (M3) refers to the interval between root and third on a piano keyboard, where four half steps must be taken between one note and its counterpart on another key in order to move from one to another note in succession. To form a major chord simply add fourth and fifth notes respectively.

Any note in the scale can serve as the base of a major chord; when looking at the Circle of Fifths, any white-black-white note could form its basis.

Make major chords using suspended and inverted triads. Suspended triads have an absent third, which can be filled by adding another second or fourth note to a basic triad. Meanwhile, inverted triads consist of the same notes but in an altered order compared to its basic equivalent.

Minor Triads

A minor chord consists of three notes stacked one on top of another, but differs from major chords in that its interval between its first and second note is smaller (known as a minor third).

To play a minor triad, begin by placing your thumb on the root note (D) then add your index finger on the middle note and pinky on the top note. Alternately, you can also work out these triads using scales or counting up from the root key (remembering that black keys count as well!)

Triads can be divided into four distinct qualities, major, minor, diminished and augmented. The first two qualities are known as major because their interval between root and third is larger than any of the other notes in the chord, while for augmented chords (when raised by one semitone to create a major seventh) only one of these four qualities exists.


A chord is composed of at least three notes played simultaneously. All major chords consist of a tonic note as its root note, an interval third note from the major scale and an interval fifth note; typically this fifth interval note will have been subtracted out. Knowing your scales well will allow you to craft effective chords!

On a piano, half steps are the distance between adjacent keys; this includes both white and black keys. All major scales share an identical pattern of half steps and whole steps between adjacent notes.

Minor scales serve as the opposite to major scales in terms of sound. Their deeper tones elicit sadness or melancholy emotions. Furthermore, minor scales offer different fingering patterns for certain chords – here are some natural minor scales.


Learning piano chords is an invaluable skill that will prove useful across genres and songs alike – for instance, “Let It Be” by The Beatles begins with a C major chord!

Triads are among the most frequently encountered piano chords, composed of three notes joined together into an unbroken chord. The intervals between them determine whether or not the triad is major, minor, diminished, or augmented.

There are also piano chords with more than three notes; seventh (or 7th) chords add a fifth note to give their sound color; whereas major thirteenth chords or “maj13s” have four notes instead of three.

Discovering how to build piano chords will provide a solid basis for creating music and understanding harmony. You may be amazed at how just a minor change can create different emotional responses – for instance, minor chords may suggest hopelessness while major ones can feel joyful and powerful.