In this lesson we will learn how to form a C sharp major chord on piano and keyboard.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the C sharp major scale.
C Sharp Major Scale
C# is the 1st note or tonic (root) of the major scale. D# is the 2nd note or major second. E# is the 3rd note or major 3rd of the scale. F# is the 4th note or the perfect fourth. G# is the 5th note or the perfect 5th. A# is the 6th note or major 6th of the C# major scale. B# is the 7th note or the major 7th. And C#, one octave higher is the perfect 8th.
To learn more about this scale and others, check out my course, Learn Scales & Music Theory & Give Yourself An Upper Hand.
In case you’re wondering why there is a note called E# in this scale and why it’s not called F, let me explain. In music theory when notes have different names but play the same key on piano, they are called enharmonics of each other. So E# is played with the same key as F on your piano. E# and F sound the same. The sharp sign simply means that E is played a semitone higher. For any major scale, you have to use every note once and no more. So since we already have the note, F sharp in this scale, we couldn’t have an F as well. We had to use the letter, E, and in this case it’s a semitone higher than E, and is called E sharp.
How To Form The C Sharp Major Chord
The C sharp major chord is a triad chord. In other words, there are three notes in this chord. These notes are C#, E# and G#. These three notes are the root, major third and perfect fifth of the major scale. Simply press these three notes together and there you have it, a C#maj chord!
Major Chord Formula: R + 4HS + 3HS
You can form this chord using the major chord formula of half steps. This formula is R + 4HS + 3 HS (root plus 4 half steps + 3 half steps). Let’s first of all locate C sharp on your piano keyboard. C sharp is the first black key in the set of two black keys on your keyboard. Now that we’ve found C sharp, let’s move 4 half steps higher and this takes us to the key, E# which is the same as the F key. Now move 3 half steps higher and this takes us to the key, G#.
To learn more about this chord and others, check out my course, Piano Chords: How To Form Basic Chords On Piano And Keyboard.
Skipping Keys Method
Another way to think of this is to find the root note, C#, skip 3 keys and hold the key E#, the skip 2 keys and hold the note G#.
C# Major Chord in its Root Position, 1st and 2nd Inversions
Until now, we’ve looked at the C sharp major chord in root position. We played the notes in the order, C# – E# – G#. There are other ways to hold this chord. In other words this chord has 2 inversions.
The first inversion is E# – G# – C#. Play the chord with E# at the bottom, G# in the middle, and C# at the top.
The second inversion is G# – C# – E#. Play the chord with G# at the bottom, C# in the middle and E# at the top. We can see this in the chord diagram below.
Right Hand Fingering For C-Sharp Major Chord
Let’s now take a look at right hand fingerings for the C# maj chord. First of all for the benefit of those who don’t know, or just to refresh your memory, your fingers are numbered from 1 to 5. You thumb is the 1st finger, index finger is the 2nd, middle finger is the third, ring finger is the 4th and little (pinky) finger is the 5th.
In root position, the fingering for the C#maj chord is 1 – 3 – 5. In other words, you play C# with your thumb, E# with your middle finger and G# with your little finger. For the 1st inversion of the C sharp major chord, the fingering is 1 – 2 – 5. Thumb plays E#, index finger plays G# and little finger plays C#. The fingering for the 2nd inversion of this chord is 1 – 3 – 5. Thumb plays G#, middle finger plays C# and little finger plays E#.
Video: How To Play C# Major Chord
Here’s a video showing how to play the C# major chord in root position, and its first and second inversions.
The relative minor chord for C# major (based on the 6th note of the major scale) is A# minor.
Chords In The Key Of C Sharp Major – Learn about the chords in the key of C#.
Be sure to check out the Piano For All piano lessons. It’s my favorite online course for learning how to play piano.