Chords are not just a term in geometry but refer to piano notes as well. A chord gets created in a piano when more than one note is played at once. A chord is a conjunction of two or more individual notes and to achieve a chord in a piano, the pianist is required to push down more than a key at the same time. The basic chord in the piano will have 2 to 3 notes, whereas the advanced chords will have more notes. When we consider a piano chord, each of them possesses a root note and the note after which the chord has been named. And the common type of chord in a piano is a triad or a three-note chord.
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The basic types of piano chords
There are two major types of piano chords, namely the major chords and the minor chords. To play the major chord, the players have to start by playing a root note, and they can be any of the keyboard notes from the root note and we have to count up to two whole steps. Such a note is referred to as the third note. From the third note, we have to count up to one and a half steps or three half steps. This is called the fifth note and when we play these three keyboard notes together; we hear a major triad. The major keyboard chords are a part of some of the major pop and rock songs. Some examples of the major piano chords are the C major (C- E-G), D major (D) D-F #-A, E major (E). E-G#-B etc.
The Minor chords in piano are comprised of three basic keyboard notes namely a root note, a third, and the fifth. To play a minor chord, it is required to select a root note and count for three and a half steps up to the third. From the third, count for two whole steps to find the fifth. These cords also play an integral part in pop and rock songs and some examples of Piano minor chords are, C minor (Cm). C-Eb-G, D minor (Dm). D-F-A. etc.,
There is also another type of piano chord, namely the diminished chords that are used in rock songs. These chords make use of a minor 3rd note, lowered 5th note, and a diminished 5th note. In augmented piano chords, the pianist makes use of a major 3rd, and a raised or an augmented 5th note. The interval of the augmented fifth comprises four whole steps or eight half steps starting from the root note. These augmented chords are highly beneficial in creating a distinct and unusual sound to most people’s ears.
How do you read these chords in the music sheet?
The chords get notated in the music sheet in different ways and the most predominant method is that the chords get notated in the form of symbols. These symbols are shorthand methods that indicate a particular chord and are notated above the area where the music is notated. If you had to play your favorite song, you may have played a million chords, but you don’t have to keep them all in your memory. Most of the songs will comprise of only a few simple chords and if you can play them by following the instructions and the notes given in the music sheet.
There is also something called the chord chart which is the shorthand method of notating music. These charts are used by musicians and they are used to communicate the song progression quickly. Several online apps help us to find the chord that we need to find and will come in handy if we tend to forget these cords on the way.
Why should we learn the piano chords?
Any pianist needs to learn the piano chords and get much versed in them, as these are the building blocks of any music. Any piano tune is based on these chords as every single piece of music can be broken down into chords. In music, the chords can be differentiated into two types, namely the blocked and the broken chords.
The blocked cords are played at once, whereas the broken cords are played one by one in consequence. These chords are the basis of a piano and by learning to read the piano chords, the pianist can play the keyboard right away. It also helps them in their music composition endeavors and helps them to improvise on the music.
Learning the piano chords is indeed a great brain exercise as before playing the piano, it becomes mandatory for the pianist to learn, understand and organize the chords in the mind. The fingers tend to play what the brain says. Thus it is beneficial to learn the music in the form of chords, rather than as separate notes. Memorizing the chords also serves as a shortcut to playing the piano and once we learn the chords, it becomes practically easy to play almost any song.
As you memorize the cords and get to know the nook and corner of music, it becomes easy to build one’s music. Composing music becomes easy when the pianist learns the chords and improvises to keep them in different patterns. Learning the chords is thus important as it helps the pianist to know the why and how of music.
The piano music sheet could be a lot overwhelming when we start practicing music, but it is not rocket science or something that we cannot handle. The key to playing the instrument is to know what its chords are, the different variations of chords used in the music, and memorize them to play the song fluently.
When we start learning the piano scales and the chords, we can notice that the chords are generally played by the left hand, and the right hand focuses predominantly on the melody. They are easy to remember and play and if you can number by skip counting, then you can learn and recognize the piano chords as well.