Piano Chords for Beginners+ Free Piano Chord Cheat Sheet

Chords are the bread & butter of music. They make up the harmonic body of a song, and are what make a lot of musical pieces sound as full as they do. They are made by playing a number of different notes together, and the most common chords are major and minor chords.

Common Piano Chords Cheat Sheet

A standard size Piano, it has 88 notes. In those 88 notes, we have 8 octaves C-B. With 12 notes in-between, and over 351 unique scales on the Piano. You can make lots of different types of chords on the piano. Some are used a lot more frequently than others though.

So here is a list with the most common piano chords:

  • C major (C) – C, E, G.
  • C minor (Cm) – C, Eb, G.
  • D major (D) – D, F#, A
  • D minor (Dm) – D, F, A
  • E major (E) – E, G#, B
  • E minor (Em) – E, G, B
  • F major (F) – F, A, C
  • F minor (Fm) – F, Ab, C
  • G major (G) – G, B, D
  • G minor (Gm) – G, Bb, D
  • A major (A) – A, C#, E
  • A minor (Am) – A, C, E
piano chord cheat sheet major and minor chart
Piano chord chart

Here’s our major and minor piano chord chart. And, you can download the free version over on our 👉 free downloads page.

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What Are Chords in Music?

Chords are a series of notes played together at the same time. Piano chords are named by their root note, and then the notes that come after.

So if we have a C major, it’s because we have a major 3rd(3), and a 5th. If we call it a C minor, it’s because we have a minor 3rd (b3), and a 5th.

As you deepen your knowledge with chords beyond the basics, you’ll come across extension chords. These will be named with their root note first, quality second, and their extension last.

E.g. Cmin7, Cmaj7

Most common chords are made up of 2 or 3 notes, and these are used in the wide majority of your favourite songs.

The most common chord on the piano is a triad. These are made up of three notes, and you can build them very easily.

Triads

c major triad piano chord diagram
Basic C major triad on piano chart

A triad is the most common type of Piano chord, and is made of 3 notes.

There are 4 types of triad in music:

  • Major triad – these are built using a chord spelling of 1, 3, 5 from the major scale of the key you want to build your chord in.
  • Minor triad – these are build using a chord spelling of 1, b3, 5, from the major scale of the key you want to build your chord in.
  • Diminished triad – these are built using a chord spelling of 1, b3, b5, from the major scale of the key you want to build your chord in.
  • Augmented triad – these are built using a chord spelling of 1, 3, #5, from the major scale of the key you want to build your chord in.

To make a triad, all you have to do is take these spellings and apply them to the key you want your chord to be, and choose the quality.

Let’s break it down in an example:

If we wanted to build a C major chord, we’d take our C major scale, and start counting the notes as we play them across the Piano.

C major scale chart piano
C major scale diagram piano

If you do this your 1st note (root note), will be the C, the 3rd note, the E, and the 5th note, the G. Once you put it all together, you have your very own C major triad!

Apply this to any of the spellings, and any key, to get the chord you want. For instance, if you want D minor, use the D major scale, & the minor chord spelling.

What Are Chord Spellings?

Chord spellings are the note degrees (labelled numerically) that are used to make up a chord. Every major chord, is spelt with the same spelling. But chords with different qualities (E.g. minor), will be made using a different, specific spelling for that chord.

You can find the note degrees by counting up the scale (from the 1st note), in a sequence.

Here is a list of common chord spellings on piano:

  • Major: 1, 3, 5
  • Minor: 1, b3, 5
  • Diminished: 1b3b5
  • Augmented: 13#5
  • Major 6th: 1, 3, 5, 6
  • Minor 6th: 1, b3, 5, 6
  • 7 (dominant): 1, 3, 5, b7
  • Minor 7: 1, b3, 5, b7
  • Major 7: 1, 3, 5, 7

How Do I Make A Piano Chord?

To make a piano chord, you’ll need the spelling of the chord you want to make, (minor, major etc) and the major scale of the key you want it to be. Let’s say you want to make a Major 6 chord. You’ll need to use this chord spelling: 1, 3, 5, 6. Then you want to find the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th notes in the piano scale you want to make the chord out of, and play them all together.

Let’s take C major:

C (1st), D, E (3rd), F, G (5th), A (6th), B

From the above you can see our C is the 1st note, our E is the 3rd note, our G is the 5th, and our A is the 6th.

Play these all together and you have a C major 6 chord. If you wanted aC minor, you’d play a C minor triad and put a 6 on top.

What Are Intervals on The Piano?

Intervals are the space between two different notes on a piano. They are measured in semi-tones or whole tones.

  • Semi-tone: this is the distance from keys that are only 1 note apart. So from the C, to the C#, or the C# to the D. These are 1 note gaps.
  • Whole-tone: this is a semi-tone x 2. A whole tone is made of 2 semi-tones.

Common intervals on the piano are major, minor and 5th intervals. You’ve probably heard of a major 3rd, minor 3rd or 5th. These are all what we call intervals.

  • Major 3rd: the distance of 4 semi-tones from the root note (1st note) of the scale.
  • Minor 3rd: the distance of 3 semi-tones from the root note (1st note) of the scale.
  • 5th interval: the distance of 5 semi-tones from the root note (1st note) of the scale

In chord spellings major 3rds are labelled like this: 1, 3, 5. Minor 3rds are labelled like this: 1, b3, 5

Intervals can be used harmonically, or melodically. All this means is you either play them together at the same time, or you play them separate from each other in a melody.

What Are Sharps & Flats on The Piano?

Sharps and flats on the piano are just a semi-tone difference between the current note you are playing. We have a total of 7 sharps and 7 flats in each octave. These repeat across different octaves at high or lower pitches.

The sharps on the piano are made up of: C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, & B#

The flats on the piano are made up of: Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb

You will have probably come across 5 of those sharps and flats. But there are 2 that you might have seen as a ‘natural’ note on the piano. These are E# & B#, or Fb & Cb. These notes are just F, and C. They are called sharp or flat, depending on the key you are in.

If you are in C# major, it makes more sense when reading sheet music.

c# sharp major sheet music
Credit: YouTube

If we take a look at the C# major chord it also makes more sense in sheet music. Chords take up all the lines or the spaces. If you were to have an E, instead of an E#, it would look funny.

If you are a music producer, this is much less important to follow. But, if you are a live musician or come from an instrument background, then this is really important to grasp.

What Are The White Notes on Piano?

The piano has 7 white notes. These are what we call ‘naturals’. The white notes on the piano are C, D, E, F, G, A, B. These repeat across different octaves at higher and lower pitches. There is a total of 12 notes in each octave on the piano, because of the 5 black notes.

What Are The Black Notes on Piano?

The piano has 5 black notes. These are what we call sharps (#) or flats (b), and consist of: C#, D#, F#, G#, A#, or: Db, Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb. They repeat across different octaves, at higher and lower pitches.

What Are Major Piano Chords?

major chords piano chord chart
All the 1st inversion major chords.

One of the most common piano chords, is a major chord. These are 3 note triads that can be made using the spelling: 1, 3, 5 (where 1 is your root note). They are happy sounding chords, and are great to learn when starting piano.

Major chords on the piano list:

  • C major (C) – C, E, G.
  • C# major (C#) – C#, E#, G#
  • D major (D) – D, F#, A
  • Eb major (Eb) – Eb, G, Bb
  • E major (E) – E, G#, B
  • F major (F) – F, A, C
  • F# major (F#) – F#, A#, C#
  • G major (G) – G, B, D
  • Ab major (Ab) – Ab, C, Eb
  • A major (A) – A, C#, E
  • Bb major – Bb, D, F
  • B major (B) – B, D#, F#

How Do You Play A Major Chord on The Piano?

To play a major chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the major chord spelling 1, 3, 5.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. E major scale for E major chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Play the root, 3rd & 5th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 3, 5 – thumb, middle, pinky.

What Are Minor Piano Chords?

minor chord piano cheat sheet
All the minor chords 1st inversion

Minor piano chords are the 2nd most common chord in music, and on the piano. They are 3 note triads, that are made up of the chord spelling 1, b3, 5. Minor chords are sad sounding chords, and are very popular in music.

Minor chords on the piano list:

  • C minor (Cm) – C, Eb, G
  • C# minor (C#m) – C#, E, G#
  • D minor (Dm) – D, F, A
  • Eb minor (Ebm) – Eb, Gb, Bb
  • E minor (Em) – E, G, B
  • F minor (Fm) – F, Ab, C
  • F# minor (F#m) – F#, A, C#
  • G minor (Gm) – G, Bb, D
  • Ab minor (Abm) – Ab, Cb, Eb
  • A minor (Am) – A, C, E
  • Bb minor (Bbm) – Bb, Db, F
  • B minor (Bm) – B, D, F#

How Do You Play A Minor Chord on The Piano?

To play a minor chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the minor chord spelling 1, b3, 5.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C minor chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd & 5th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 3, 5 – thumb, middle, pinky.

What Are Diminished Piano Chords?

diminished chords piano chart
All diminished chords 1st inversion

A diminished chord is a type of chord that sounds tense, dark & unstable. It can be made using this chord spelling: 1, b3, b5. It’s popular in Jazz and commonly used to create movement before resolving.

Diminished piano chords aren’t as common in music as major or minor chords, but they are used a lot to add colour to music. They’re very useful chords if you understand them.

Diminished chords on the piano quick list:

  • C diminished (Cdim) – C, Eb, Gb
  • C# diminished (C#dim) – C#, E, G
  • D diminished (Ddim) – D, F, Ab
  • D# diminished (D#dim) – D#, F#, A
  • E diminished (Edim) – E, G, Bb
  • F diminished (Fdim) – F, Ab, Cb
  • F# diminished (F#dim) – F#, A, C
  • G diminished (Gdim) – G, Bb, Db
  • G# diminished (G#dim) – G#, B, D
  • A diminished (Adim) – A, C, Eb
  • A# diminished (A#dim) – A#, C#, E
  • B diminished (Bdim) – B, D, F

How Do You Play A Diminished Chord?

To play a diminished chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the diminished chord spelling 1, b3, b5.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C diminished chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd (minor 3rd) & flat 5th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 3, 5 – thumb, middle, pinky.

What Are Augmented Piano Chords?

augmented chords piano chart
All augmented chords 1st inversion

Augmented piano chords are used to create tension, and instability in music. They can be used for colour and movement in a piece and are built using this spelling: 1, 3, #5.

Augmented chords aren’t as common as major or minor chords, but can be used to create interesting melody changes in your music.

Augmented chords on piano quick list:

  • C augmented (Caug) – C, E, G#
  • C# augmented (C#aug) – C#, F, A
  • D augmented (Daug) – D, F#, A#
  • D# augmented (D#aug) – D#, G, B
  • E augmented (Eaug) –  E, G#, C
  • F augmented (Faug) – F, A, C#
  • F# augmented (F#aug) – F#, A#, D
  • G augmented (Gaug) – G, B, D#
  • G# augmented (G#aug) –G#, C, E
  • A augmented (Aaug) – A, C#, F
  • A# augmented (A#aug) – A#, C##, F#
  • B augmented (Baug). B, D#, G

How Do You Play An Augmented Chord?

To play an augmented chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the augmented chord spelling 1, 3, #5.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C diminished chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd (minor 3rd) & flat 5th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 3, 5 – thumb, middle, pinky.

What Are 6th Piano Chords?

6th piano chords are a common triad, with a 6th note added on top. You can have minor 6 or major 6 chords, and they are built by adding a 6 on top of the minor or major chord spelling.

Common 6th piano chords quick list:

  • C major 6 (C6) – C, E, G, A
  • C minor 6 (Cm6) – C, Eb, G, A
  • D major 6 (D6) – D, F#, A, B
  • D minor 6 (Dm6) – D, F, A, B
  • E major 6 (E6) – E, G#, B, C#
  • E minor 6 (Em6) – E, G, B, C#
  • F major 6 (F6) – F, A, C, D
  • F minor 6 (Fm6) – F, Ab, C, D
  • G major (G6) – G, B, D, E
  • G minor 6 (Gm6) – G, Bb, D, E
  • A major 6 (A6) – A, C#, E, F#
  • A minor 6 (Am6) – A, C, E, F#

How Do You Play A Major 6 Chord?

major 6 chords piano chord chart
All major 6 chords 1st inversion

To play an major 6th chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the major chord spelling 1, 3, 5, 6.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C diminished chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Count 6 notes up from the root.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd, 5th, & 6th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 4 – from the thumb on right hand.

How Do You Play A Minor 6 Chord?

minor 6 chords piano chart
All minor 6 chords 1st inversion

To play an minor 6th chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the minor chord spelling 1, b3, 5, 6.
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for C diminished chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count 6 notes up from the root.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd (minor 3rd), 5th, & 6th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 4 – from the thumb on right hand.

What Are Major 7 Piano Chords?

major 7 chords on piano chart
All major 7 chords 1st inversion.

Major 7 chords are triads with a 7th note on top. You can build a major 7 chord using this spelling: 1, 3, 5, 7 (using a major scale). They are commonly used in Jazz and give a smooth feel to chords. They are great for adding more colour to your chord progressions.

Major 7 piano chords quick list:

  • C major 7 (Cmaj7) – C, E, G, B
  • C# major 7 (C#major7) – C#, E#, G#, B#
  • D major 7 (Dmaj7) – D, F#, A, C#
  • Eb major 7 (Ebmaj7) – Eb, G, Bb, D
  • E major 7 (Emaj7) – E, G#, B, D#
  • F major 7 (Fmaj7) – F, A, C, E
  • F# major 7 (F#maj7) – F#, A#, C#, F
  • G major 7 (Gmaj7) – G, B, D, F#
  • Ab major 7 (Abmaj7) – Ab, C, Eb, G
  • A major 7 (Amaj7) – A, C#, E, G#
  • Bb major 7 (Bbmaj7) – Bb, D, F, A
  • B major 7 (Bmaj7) – B, D#, F#, A#

How Do You Play A Major 7 Chord?

To play a major 7 chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the major 7 chord spelling: 1, 3, 5, 7
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for Cmaj7 chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 7 notes from the root.
  • Play the root, 3rd, 5th, & 7th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 5 – from the thumb on right hand.

What Are Minor 7 Piano Chords?

minor 7 chords piano cheat sheet
All minor 7 chords 1st inversion.

Minor 7 chords are minor triads, with a 7th note on the top. You can build a minor 7 chord using this spelling: 1, b3, 5, b7 (using a major scale). They are commonly used in Jazz, they sound smooth, sad and relaxing.

Minor 7 piano chords quick list:

  • C minor 7 (Cm7) – C, Eb, G, Bb
  • C# minor 7 (C#m7) – C#, E, G#, B
  • D minor 7 (Dm7) – D, F, A, C
  • Eb minor 7 (Ebm7) – Eb, Gb, Bb, Db
  • E minor 7 (Em7) – E, G, B, D
  • F minor 7 (Fm7) – F, Ab, C, Eb,
  • F# minor 7 (F#m7) – F#, A, C#, E
  • G minor 7 (Gm7) – G, Bb, D, F
  • Ab minor 7 (Abm7) – Ab, Cb, Eb, Gb
  • A minor 7 (Am7) – A, C, E, G
  • Bb minor 7 (Bbm7) – Bb, Db, F, Ab
  • B minor 7 (Bm7) – B, D, F#, A

How Do You Play A Minor 7 Chord?

To play a major 7 chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the minor 7 chord spelling: 1, b3, 5, b7
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for Cmaj7 chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note, then flatten it.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 7 notes from the root, then flatten it.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd, 5th, & flat 7th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 5 – from the thumb on right hand.

What Is A 7 Piano Chord?

dominant 7 piano chords diagram
All dominant 7 chords 1st inversion

7th piano chords, are what we call dominant chords. They are a major triad, with a minor 7th added on top, and are commonly used as a movement chord to inject, suspense, and colour into music.

Dominant 7 piano chords quick list:

  • C dominant 7 (C7) – C, E, G, Bb
  • C# dominant 7 (C#7) – C#, E#, G#, B
  • D dominant7 (D7) – D, F#, A, C
  • Eb dominant7 (Eb7) – Eb, G, Bb, Db
  • E dominant7 (E7) – E, G#, B, D
  • F dominant7 (F7) – F, A, C, Eb
  • F# dominant7 (F#7) – F#, A#, C#, E
  • G dominant7 (G7) – G, B, D, F
  • Ab dominant7 (Ab7) – Ab, C, Eb, Gb
  • A dominant7 (A7) – A, C#, E, G
  • Bb dominant7 (Bb7) – Bb, D, F, Ab
  • B dominant 7 (B7) – B, D#, F#, A

How Do You Play 7 Chord?

To play a 7 chord on the piano, do this:

  • Use the dominant 7 chord spelling: 1, 3, 5, b7
  • Choose the root note you want your chord to start from (this can be any note).
  • Use the major scale of this root note. E.g. C major scale for Cmaj7 chord.
  • Count up 3 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 5 notes from the root note.
  • Count up 7 notes from the root, then flatten it.
  • Play the root, flat 3rd, 5th, & flat 7th all together.
  • Use this fingering: 1, 2, 3, 5 – from the thumb on right hand.

Piano Chord Chart Free Download (Hi-Res)

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