Here’s the transcript for a video lesson I made entitled, Ten Piano Chords That You Should Know And How To Form Them. You will learn how to form chords quickly and easily on piano and keyboard. You can watch the video below.
Hi and welcome. In this lesson you will learn how to form ten different types of chords. By the way if you haven’t subscribed to this channel, I invite you to do so. Subscribe here: YouTube.com/pianokeyboardlessons.
Okay, let’s go. The ten types of chords we will learn are major, minor, diminished, augmented, sus2, sus4, domininant 7th, major 7th, major 6th and minor 6th chords. Now don’t let all these terms confuse you; it is really easy. I will show you how easy it is to learn all these ten chords. It is really easy! Okay? Nothing hard about it. Don’t be frightened.
(We will also learn about minor 7th chords. I did this piano chords lesson on the spur of the moment without any script and ended up not including the minor 7th chord. I will include it here.)
The first thing we’ll start with is the major scale. We will use the C major scale for this. This is the C major scale: C D E F G A B and you go to C. C is note 1, D is note 2, E is note 3, F is note 4, G is note 5, A is note 6 and B is note 7 of the scale. Then we go to C which is the same number 1 in a higher octave or you can call it 8. But it’s C D E F G A B, a total of 7 notes. We will use these 7 notes to form the chord.
Watch the video:
By the way, there are different major scales. But it’s really the same thing. There’s a D major scale (D E F# G A B C#). There’s an F major scale (F G A Bb C D E). There’s a G major scale (G A B C D E F#). Okay? But (for the purpose of this lesson and to keep things simple) we will use the C major scale.
To form our first chord, the major chord, you use notes, 1, 3 and 5 of the scale. So C-E-G is a C major chord. C is note 1, E is note 3, and G is note 5. It’s that simple. You play notes 1, 3 and 5 and this is how you form a major chord in any scale, whether it’s a C major scale, D major scale, F major scale or any other. Just play notes 1, 3 and 5 of the major scale.
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The next chord we will learn is the minor chord. To form a minor chord you play notes 1, flat 3 (b3) and 5 of the scale. So C-Eb-G is a C minor chord. C is note 1, Eb is note b3 and G is note 5. (b3 stands for flat three or flat third.) So instead of playing the third note of the scale, you play the flat of it which is a semitone or half step lower. So 1-b3-5 gives you a minor chord. Remember that C is note 1, D is note 2, E is note 3, F is note 4, G is note 5, A is note 6 and B is note 7. So you play notes 1, b3 and 5 and you have a minor chord. Pretty simple.
The next chord you will learn is the diminished chord. To form a diminished chord, you use notes 1, b3 and b5 of the scale. So C-Eb-Gb is a C diminished chord. C is note 1, Eb is the flat 3rd, and Gb is the flat 5th. Eb is the flat third because it is a half step lower than the third note of the scale. Gb is the flat fifth because it is a half step lower than the 5th note of the scale. That’s all it is. So 1-b3-b5 gives you a diminished chord.
The next chord we will learn to form is the augmented chord. Play notes 1, 3 and sharp 5 (#5) of the scale. Sharp means to go a semitone higher while flat means to go a semitone lower. So Gb is the flat 5 and G# is the sharp 5 of the scale. Nothing hard about it. C-E-G# is a C augmented chord. C is note 1, E is note 3 and G# is the sharp fifth.
To recap quickly, C-E-G (1-3-5) is a major chord, C-Eb-G (1-b3-5) is a minor chord, C-Eb-Gb (1-b3-b5) is a diminished chord, and C-E-G# (1-3-#5) is an augmented chord. So we have these piano chords covered.
The next chord we will learn is the sus2 chord, also called a suspended second chord. All you play is note 1, note 2 and note 5. The formula is 1-2-5. C-D-G is a Csus2 chord (C suspended 2nd chord).
Next, we take a look at the suspended fourth (sus4 chord). Play notes 1, 4 and 5. 1-4-5. C-F-G is a Csus4 chord (C suspended fourth chord).
So far we’ve looked at six types of chords, namely, major (1-3-5), minor (1-b3-5), diminished (1-b3-b5), augmented (1-b3-b5), suspended second (1-2-5), and suspended fourth (1-4-5) chords.
The next chord you will learn how to play is called a dominant seventh chord (dom7). To form a dominant 7th chord, you play notes 1, 3, 5 and b7 of the major scale. 1–3-5-b7. C-E-G-Bb is a Cdom7 or C7 chord. So instead of playing the 7th note you play the flat 7th note. For the C major scale, instead of playing B, you play B flat.
The next chord you will learn how to form is the major seventh chord (maj7 chord), which consists of notes 1, 3, 5 and 7 of the major scale. 1-3-5-7. C-E-G-B is a Cmaj7 chord. For C dominant 7th, you play the b7, Bb and for C major 7th, you play the 7th note of the scale, B.
Let’s now take a look at the minor seventh chord. The formula for this chord is 1-b3-5-b7. It’s really a minor chord plus an added flat seventh note. So in the case of C minor seventh (cm7), the notes are C-Eb-G-Bb.
We will learn two more keyboard chords. They are both 6th chords.
We start with the major 6th. What note do you think we must play? You have to play the 6th note, right? The 6th note of the C major scale is A, so A must be included in our chord. A C major 6th chord (Cmaj6) is C-E-G-A. You play notes 1, 3, 5 and 6.
And lastly, the minor 6th (m6 or min6). I’m sure you guessed it; you play a minor chord and you add the 6th. C-Eb-G-A is a Cm6 chord. The formula for this chord is 1-b3-5-6.
The major sixth and minor sixth chords are used a lot in Jazz music. Pop songs don’t usually make use of these two chords. But it’s a good chord to know because it’s very easy to play.
You can do what we just did with these piano chords in any scale. All you need to know is your scale, and remember what numbers to play.
So let’s try it in the G major scale. This is the G major scale: G A B C D E F#. G is note 1, A is note 2, B is note 3, C is note 4, D is note 5, E is note 6 and F# is note 7. To form a major chord as we saw earlier, you play notes 1, 3 and 5. G-B-D is a G major chord. To form a minor chord, you play notes 1, b3 and 5. G-Bb-D is a G minor chord. To form a diminished chord, you play notes 1, b3 and b5. G-Bb-Db is a G diminished chord. To form a G augmented chord, you play notes 1, 3 and #5, G-B-D#. To form a G7 chord you play notes 1, 3, 5 and b7, G-B-D-F. To form a G major 7th chord, you play notes, 1, 3, 5 and 7, G-B-D-F#. To form a Gsus2, you play notes 1, 2 and 5, G-A-D. For Gsus4, it’s notes 1, 4 and 5, G-C-D. For Gm7, it’s notes 1, b3, 5 and b7, G-Bb-D-F. It’s pretty simple.
Let’s try one more scale, the F major scale. The notes of this scale are F G A Bb C D E. F is note 1, G is note 2, A is note 3, Bb is note 4, C is note 5, D is note 6 and E is note 7. Major: 1-3-5 (F-A-C). Minor: 1-b3-5 (F-Ab-C). Diminished: 1-b3-b-5 (F-Ab-Cb). Augmented: 1-3-#5 (F-A-C#). Dominant 7th: 1-3-5-b7 (F-A-C-Eb). Major 7th: 1-3-5-7 (F-A-C-E). Minor 7th: 1-b3-5-b7 (F-Ab-C-Eb). Sus2: 1-2-5 (F-G-C). Sus4: 1-4-5 (F-Bb-C). Major 6th: 1-3-5-6 (F-A-C-D). Minor 6th: (F-Ab-C-D).
Practice your piano chords in different major scales starting with the C major scale. C major, C-E-G. C minor, C-Eb-G. C dim, C-Eb-Gb. C aug, C-E-G#. C sus2, C-D-G. C sus4, C-F-G. C7, C-E-G-Bb. CM7, C-E-G-B. Cm7, C-Eb-G-Bb. C6, C-E-G-A. Cm6, C-Eb-G-A. I hope you understand this. It’s pretty simple when you think of your chords like this.
My name is Mantius Cazaubon and I wish you all the best! To take your piano playing to the next level, click here to learn about the Piano For All piano course. I highly recommend it.