In this free keyboard chords theory lesson you will learn simple formulas to help you find absolutely any chord on the piano keyboard without having to rely on bulky chord charts or written music.
Understanding these keyboard chord formulas will make a big difference in your ability to enjoy making music on piano or electronic keyboard.
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In our previous lesson on finding the 12 major chords we learned a simple formula and learned that by choosing the First, Third, and Fifth note of any major scale we will end up with the major chord named by that scale.
New term: Musical Intervals.
A musical interval is simply a distance between two notes on any major scale.
No matter what scale we use, the major chord associated with that scale will have a Root which names both the chord and the scale from which it was taken. a Third, (in the case of a major chord we call it a major third) and a fifth sometimes called a perfect fifth.
Using a C major scale as an example, the distance from C to E is a major third. The distance from C to G is a perfect fifth.
As we move through this lesson you will encounter more of these interval names 2nds, 4ths, 6ths, and 7ths.. Again these refer to distances from the root note of any scale or chord.
Lowered and raised intervals.
We will use our # (sharp sign) and b (flat sign ) to raise( # )or lower( b ) an interval one half step as we learn more and more different types of chords. All this will become clearer as we move through the formulas and pick out some chords in a few different scales or keys.
Here are the formulas for your most commonly used chords
We have already figured out a C major chord by choosing Notes 1,3,and 5 ( C, E, G, ) from the C major scale.
Using the chart below we see that the C minor chord uses scale notes 1, b3, 5, or (C, Eb, G)... the flat sign means lower the third one half step.
A note from your Personal Piano Professor... It would be great if you could memorize all the formulas below but there is no need to do it all at once.
If you are a beginner I recommend that as you encounter any new chord in your playing, take the time to figure the chord out using the right formula and then commit it to memory by playing the chord with both hands in all its possible inversions up and down the keyboard.
Remember to notice the patterns and similarities you will surely see, and feel, as you practice. Concentrate on the major and minor triads first.
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Diatonic chords and chord progressions
As you continue learning about keyboard chords you will benefit from
understanding diatonic chords. Click the link below to begin this
valuable lessons as an introduction to basic chord progressions.
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