Learning to play piano chords is an important tool when you are beginning to play your instrument. One way of learning to play the chords easier is by understanding the way the theory works with these chords.
One of the most valuable things to learn as a beginning pianist is piano chords. These will show up time after time when you are playing any song, from beginner to advanced. The best thing to do when learning these chords is to learn the theory behind them.
THE MAJOR CHORDS
Major chords are described as sounding happy or bright. They are used more often in lighter type pieces or movements.
The best way to find which chords to play is by intervals. An interval is the space between one note to another. When you go from note to note, such as c to c# there is one half interval, also known as a half step. From C to D is two intervals or a whole step. C to D# is three intervals, etc.
When playing a major chord, you begin by playing the base note of the scale. The base note is always the beginning of whatever scale you are playing For instance, if your scale is C Major, which is C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, your base note will be C.
After you play the C, you will go up two intervals, or two whole steps. This makes your next note E. The sound with these two notes should already sound bright. Then, you add on the 5th note, which is up two more whole steps. This makes the last note G. After knowing these basic intervals, you can play a major chord in any key. Always remember that you need to know the key signature of what you are playing. For example, if you want to play a major chord in the key of D, remember that D has to sharps in it, F# and C#. When you play the chord, it should be the notes of D, F#, A.
This is the first of part of the major chords. There is also a chord progression that is used often in warm-ups or when learning chords. The progression goes: C, E, G (1st chord), C, F, A (2nd chord), back to C, E, G, (3rd chord), B, D, F, (4th chord), C, E, G. This can also be done in any key. It is important to remember here also that the key signatures make all of the difference in how it will sound.
THE MINOR CHORDS
Minor chords are known as the sad chords. They are used often in dark parts of a piece, or parts that may appear to be angry.
Minor chords are very similar to major chords. The difference is in the third note. In all of the minor scales, the third note is lowered one half step, or one interval. Some examples of minor chords are:
C Eb (E flat), G
D, F, A
G, Bb (B flat), D
All of these should have a sad or eerie sound when you play them.
HOW TO PLAY CHORDS
One thing to remember with chords is that they can be played two ways. The first way is called block chords. This is playing all of the notes at one time. For an example, find an easy piano waltz and look at the left hand. The other way that piano chords can be played is called an arpeggio. The arpeggio is when the chord is broken up. When this is done, you are only playing one key at a time. This is usually done in a rhythmic manner, one note right after the other. This will give the piece you are playing a more flowing sound. It is important to practice chords both ways so that you can get used to the different feel of your fingers to the keys.
Chords are important to learn because they create mood and are often the basis of a song. They are important to learn as a beginning pianist.