How to Play Major Chords on Piano

Major chords (triads) are the easiest chords to form and create an upbeat mood, perfect for beginner players.

These scale degrees consist of three elements – the root note (or base), major third, and perfect fifth (2-3-5) which you can combine into any scale degree combination.

Root Note

Root Note of a Chord | Harmonia MundiThe root note of any chord serves to define its identity and tonal quality, for instance the C major chord has a C as its base note; then its major third (2 whole steps from root note), followed by perfect fifth (3 and a half whole steps), comprise major triad with happy sounding sound.

Chords can often be arranged differently – this process is known as inversion – to alter how they sound and allow for easier chord progressions. Chords may also contain extra notes such as sevenths or ninths that add dissonant sounds; these additional notes are known as su2 or sus4 chords, and should only be used sparingly.

Major Third

The major third is an integral part of major chords, as its sound defines them. It always lies four half steps higher than its bottom note – thus, for example, C chords have an E as their major third note.

Major chords can often be found in songs like “Oh When the Saints Come Marching In” and “Summertime”. Their major third makes these tunes seem happier and brighter.

A major triad is composed of the root note, major third and perfect fifth notes that form its structure in every major key. On lead sheets, you will often see this chord written as Cmaj or Cmaj7; sometimes even sus chord symbols may be present that use fourth tones up from root: this would result in D, F# and A respectively.

Major Fifth

The fifth is a perfect interval and often used in chords because its consonance or pleasing sound appeals more directly to our ears than major second and minor third intervals.

To determine the major or minor nature of an interval, simply count by two physical piano keys (white or black). For instance, C to D is considered major because it represents one generic second on the staff and two half steps on the keyboard.

Utilizing the circle of fifths as a way of memorizing scales and tracking sharps and flats is a fantastic way to make piano playing easier. Additionally, this provides you with an understanding of why some chords are major or minor as well as which emotions they convey (for instance a C major chord has an upbeat feel while its counterpart C minor chord feels downbeat).

Minor Third

Addition of a minor third to a major triad creates a minor chord, since major triads contain three intervals: major second (M2), major third, and perfect fifth. A triad consisting of two major thirds is still considered major but often called dominant chord – and is commonly abbreviated to D major for ease of reference.

To understand why chords differ so significantly, compare a C major (C, E and G) with its counterpart C minor (C, D flat and G). The middle note differs by one step – known as intervals on staff or in half steps on keyboard – creating one whole step intervals known as major seconds; major chords sound bright and bold while minor chords evoke sadness and melancholy feelings.

Minor Fifth

Minor chords feature a sorrowful or melancholic sound and can be created by lowering the third interval note from a major triad to form one with lower pitch while still producing the same overall sound as its major counterpart.

When playing a minor chord, adding extra tones can be achieved by appending additional numbers after its symbol. These numbers represent how many tones above its root it should play the next interval – either the major sixth with nine semitones or minor sixth with eight semitones.

C major 6 chords can be played using both hands with your first, third and fifth fingers to form C maj 6s – C major plus major sixth.