How to Play Piano Chords

play piano chords

To change a major chord into a minor one, simply lower its third by one half step – this creates a much mellower sound.

Be mindful that black keys play just as integral a part in creating chords as their white counterparts, so don’t be intimidated to count them!

Start off by building the C major chord. Simply count four half-steps from F sharp up to A and three more from F to complete it.


Chord inversions are an effective way to add variety and depth to your piano playing, as well as making chord changes more pleasing to the ear (via voice leading). But learning them may prove challenging: practice will be necessary in mastering fingering techniques as well as understanding how a chord sounds when inverted.

Consider, for instance, a basic C Major chord played in root position. To invert it into first inversion mode all that’s required is moving the lowest note up one octave so that it becomes the top note and moving your left-hand fingers from their current positions to new spots on its fret board.

Now, to convert this pattern to a minor chord, simply lower the middle note by half a step to create a flat third – just one simple way you can invert any piano chord you desire! Using this formula you can invert any piano chord you wish!

As with anything new, starting small when incorporating inversions into your playing is key. Select a chord you already know from its root form, invert it, and practice playing it consistently before trying other tones within that chord or other inversions of that same chord to see how they sound.

As time progresses, you’ll become adept at recognizing chords in their inverted forms simply by looking at sheet music. This can be invaluable when it comes to interpreting music since chord shapes tend to repeat throughout songs. Furthermore, with practice you will soon be able to build chords without needing to think too hard about them, providing another powerful advantage when playing piano smoothly and confidently.


As part of your study of piano chords, it is essential to familiarize yourself with their scales. A scale consists of notes that rise or fall by whole and half steps from its root note until reaching its top note (such as C). The intervals between these notes determine how a chord sounds; for example a major chord has one step between root and third note while minor chords require two steps between root and fifth note (soon after this example has an interval of three steps between root and fifth).

Knowledge of scales will enable you to quickly identify the necessary notes needed to form a chord, then experiment with their sound together. Your chosen chord may sound either harmonic or dissonant; to create harmony you must play these notes at a rhythm that complements the music.

When playing chords, the notes may be played all at once or one at a time; depending on its composition. Chords may consist of triads, seventh chords or even augmented and diminished chords and each has its own distinctive sound that can add different emotions or feelings to a song.

If you’re new to piano, triads may be a great place to begin learning how to play. Their form makes them easy to recognize on the keyboard without too many notes to memorize.

As well as using triads, seventh chords can also add depth and tension to your harmonies. These chords consist of steps moving upward from their root note that can be played using either hand; for added versatility.

If you’re curious to gain more knowledge about chords and their composition, our Piano Chords & Scales book is an invaluable reference source. This coil-bound guide features chords from across all major and minor scales as well as pentatonic and blues scales – and best of all, it is free for download so that you can quickly look up scales or chords on any device!