Illustrated Piano Chord Library

Learn to read and form piano chords and inversions, with illustrated keyboard fingering, staff notation, and simple interval breakdowns.

 

Major chords have major thirds and perfect fifths.
Brandy Kraemer 

A major chord is built with a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth. Major chords are known for their pleasant, positive, or triumphant moods:

   ▪ Easy Major Piano Triads
   ▪ Major 6th & 6/9 Chords
   ▪ Major 7th & Dominant 7th Chords
   ▪ Major 9th & Dominant 9th Chords


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Minor chords have minor thirds and perfect fifths.
 Brandy Kraemer

A minor chord is built with a root, a minor third, and a perfect fifth. These chords are known for being somber and melancholy, and can effectively evoke a sense of desperation, urgency, or apathy:

   ▪ Minor Piano Triads
   ▪ Minor 7th & Minor M7 Chords
   ▪ Minor 9th, Minor M9 & ADD9 Chords


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Diminished Piano Chords

Diminished chords have minor thirds and diminished fifths.
 Brandy Kraemer

A diminished chord is built with a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth. Diminished chords — which can sound bizarre, enigmatic, confused, or dissonant — are natural occurrences; there is one diminished chord in each musical key:

   ▪ Diminished Piano Triads
   ▪ Diminished 7th & Half-Diminished Chords


 

Augmented chords have major thirds and augmented fifths.
 Brandy Kraemer

An augmented chord has a root, a major third, and an augmented fifth. Like the diminished chord, its sound is slightly “off-center.” But the augmented chord tends to be happier and less ambiguous than its diminished cousin, and does not occur naturally in any key:



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Suspended chords have a perfect fourth instead of a third.
 Brandy Kraemer

A suspended chord has a root, a suspended 2nd or 4th, and a perfect fifth. The suspended note replaces the third:

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Piano Chord Fingering Lessons

Learn About Enharmony

The 6 Enharmonic Key Signatures

If you’re familiar with the circle of fifths (or you just know your way around the key signatures) you may have noticed a few anomalies. Some keys – like B-sharp and F-flat major – are seemingly absent, while others go by two names

The Inefficient Keys

The circle of fifths shows only the working scales. But, if we expand on its pattern, we can see that it’s actually more of an infinite spiral, so there’s no end to the possibilities of musical scales.

Table of Working & Non-Working Keys
See a clear visual of which keynotes are workable and which would be redundant.