Thank you for choosing to take the Pop Hero course. In this course we’re going to look at how to play chords on the piano. Most pop songs are based around just a few chords and once you know how and where to play these chords you’ll soon be able to play all your favourite pop songs. If you’ve never played the piano before it will best to run through the PIANO BASICS below the MY LESSONS tab above. This will cover some of the basics you need to know before you take this course.
We’re going to start this lesson by looking at some of the major chord shapes. ‘Major’ being happy sounding chords compared to ‘minor’ chords which sound sad. We’ll look at Minor chords in Lesson 3 but for now we’re just going to look at the happy sounding Major chords.
On the piano C is the easiest key especially when it comes to the piano because it consists of only the white notes, so we’re going to start there. If I were to play a scale of C the notes are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and back to C.
Now a major chord consists of three of these notes, note 1 (also known as the root note because it’s the base of the chord) note 3 and note 5. So the root note is C, the third note is E and the fifth note is G. If I now play these three notes together I have a C Major chord.
Now like I said before C is one of the easiest keys because it consists only of white notes but what do I do when it comes playing the other chords? Well an easy way is to look at the distance between each note. If I were to start on the C and count up to the E (remembering to include the black notes as well) I pass 4 notes, C#, D, D#, E giving me my third. In musical terms we say we have gone up 4 semitones. Then from the third if I count up 3 notes or rather semitones, F, F#, G it brings me to my fifth.
So the simple formula to work out any Major chord is to start from the root note, count up 4 semitones then count up 3 semitones and I have my three notes needed for my Major chord.
In this lesson we’re just going to look at our ‘white note’ chord shapes. These are the chords C, F and G, we’ll look at the chords which contain the black notes (sharps & flats) in Lesson 2. Fingering wise you use your right hand to play the root with your thumb, the third with your middle finger and the fifth with your little finger. For the left hand simply play the root note of the chord or root note in octaves. If the chord is C we play a C in the left hand or if the chord is G we’d play G in the left hand.
When it comes to learning these chords it’s best to memorise these shapes and where they are located on the piano. To help you do this I have created 3 practise tracks. The first being slow and the third being fast. You will see a chord and then get a count of 4 beats to try and locate it on the piano. Once you have mastered the slow one click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below it and move on to the next one. This will track your progress throughout the course.