How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (2023)

Lisa Witt/chord theory/4. March

Chords form the basis of all music. Once you understand how chords work and how to play them, you can unlock hundreds of songs. In this lesson, we'll teach you the formulas for all piano chords in major, minor, and seventh. You can also test your knowledge with some quizzes!

All Piano Chords: Summary

basics of chords

The Triad:

  1. major chords
  2. minor chords
  3. tiny chords
  4. extended chords

7. Chords and Chord Extensions

  1. major seventh chords
  2. Dominant 7th chords
  3. minor seventh chords
  4. small 7th chords
  5. semi-diminished seventh chords
  6. chord extensions

Other types of chords:

  1. diatonic chords
  2. barre chords
  3. "his" chords
  4. “Adding” chords

free chord chart
Questionnaire Answers

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It's helpful to know some chord fundamentals before we dive into all the different types of chords!

First, what is a chord?In general, a chord is when you play several notes at the same time. The tones have a harmonic relationship with each other. Other terms you should know:

  • Source:This is the note on which the chord is built and named. For example, the root of Cmaj7 is C.
  • Broken:A chord played "broken" means that the notes are played separately, not together.
  • Solid:Unlike broken chords, you play all the notes in a solid chord at the same time.
  • reversal:When we change the order of notes in a stack of chords, this is called inversion. When a chord is inverted, the root note is not at the bottom of the stack. Learn more about inversionsHere.


The following chords are usually played asthe triad, which means they are three-note chords. However, musicians sometimes play them as four-note chords, doubling themsourceObservation.

major chords

Name:It is difficult
chord symbol:C

Let's start with one of the easiest and most popular types of chords: major chords! Major chords sound "happy" and are built around the first, third, and fifth notes of the major scale. if you knowInterval, you can also think of a major triad as a minor third over a major third.

(Video) Piano Chords Chart Tutorial for Beginners Free Pdf

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (1)

minor chords

chord symbol:Cm

The minor chord is a close relative of the major chord. Minor chords sound "sad" and are built on the first, third, and fifth notes of the major scale. We suffocate Tuesday by dropping this note onehalf step. In Cm, E becomes E♭. You can also think of this triad as a major third over a minor third.

tiny chords

Name:C diminished
chord symbol:Cdim

You can think of diminished chords as minor chords that have been "shrunk". As in the minor chord, the third is also lowered by a semitone in this chord. The chord keeps “shrinking” because we lowered that tooquintoin half a step. The resulting chord can sound raucous, but when used correctly, it adds a dramatic edge to a song.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (3)

extended chords

Name:extended c
chord symbol:Grade or C+

Extended chords can be seen as "broader" or "major" than a major chord. For an augmented triad, we take a major chord and raise the fifth by a semitone.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (4)

🔥 Pop-Quiz!

See if you can name the notes in these chords. There are answers inbottomthis post.

  1. E
  2. bdim
  3. Faug
How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (5)

Embrace the power of chords!

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You can play a lot of great music with just triads, but with seventh chords things get magical. Seventh chords quickly spice up a song because they add an extra layer of depth and emotion to your harmonies.

major seventh chords

Name:C-Hard 7
chord symbol:Cmaj7

A major seventh chord is formed by adding a major seventh to a major triad stack. These chords give songs a dreamy, jazzy feel, but still sound a lot "bigger". Be careful not to confuse major seventh chords with dominant seventh chords - there is a difference!

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (6)
(Video) Free Major And Minor Piano Chord Chart - All 24 Chords

Dominant 7th chords

Name:C dominant seventh or "C seven"
chord symbol:C7

Dominant seventh chords have a diminished seventh. This is because this chord takes the pitch of the note below a perfect fifth of the tonic. "Dominant" in music means "fifth". Think of the root (C) of the chord as the fifth note of a scale. Count a perfect fifth and you land in F major has a Bb (Bb). Therefore, C7 is the F major dominant seventh chord and includes C, E, G, and B♭.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (7)

minor seventh chords

Name:C-Moll 7
chord symbol:cm7

To create a minor seventh chord, take a minor triad (1-♭3-5) and add a minor seventh chord. If C is your root note, your chord would be C-E♭-G-B♭.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (8)

small 7th chords

Name:C diminuto 7
chord symbol:Cdim7

Diminished seventh chords have a dramatic, "dishonest" sound. While they can sound squeaky on their own, diminished seventh chords used correctly can give songs a strong emotional impact.

You can think of diminished seventh chords as stacks of minor thirds. We double the seventh, making the top note on Cdim7 equal to A. Learn more about diminished chordsHere.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (9)

Semi-Diminished 7th / Minor Seven Flat 5th Chords

Name:Often just called "C minor seven five five".
chord symbol:Cm7♭5

The semi-diminished or flat fifth chord scares many musicians because it looks super complicated, but it really isn't! The instructions are in the name: just take a regular Cm7 chord and lower the fifth by a semitone.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (10)
(Video) Piano Chords, Simplified (free one-page PDF for beginners)

chord extensions

In genres like jazz, you can find strange chords like C9 or even Cmaj13! these are calledchord extensions. Chord extensions refer to chords that have notes beyondoctaves.

Basically, we keep stacking notes above a seventh chord to create tension. However, it's important to remember that numbers greater than 7 are large square root ranges by default. Therefore, a Cm13 chord has an A, not an A♭ (as it would be if we were using the C minor key signature) because a C major ninth is A.

Here are examples of chord extensions with the augmented part in pink:

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (11)

Important:OfnoYou have to play these chords with one hand! Most pianists will split these chords between the two hands. And many pianists even omit some notes because too many notes can sometimes create dissonance. Therefore, experiment with omitting different notes.


What are the notes of the following chords? There are answers inbottomthis post.

  1. Fmaj7
  2. Gm7
  3. D11
How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (12)

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As you travel through piano chords, you'll find other interesting chord symbols and musical words that describe the context of a chord or what has changed. Here are some other common types of chords.

diatonic chords

Ver:Diatonic chords explained

Diatonic chords refer to all naturally occurring chords in a given scale. These chords correspond to the key of the scale. For example, here are the C major diatonic chords:

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (13)

Interestingly, the pattern of chord types here is the same in all major keys. A ii chord in F major will also be minor.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (14)

🔥🎹HOT TIP!Roman numerals refer to the degree of the scale on which the chord is built. They also tell us if a chord is major or minor. Capital letters mean the chord is major and lowercase letters mean the chord is minor. Learn more aboutnumerical system; it's useful for chords!

barre chords

Barre chords look like a combination of a chord symbol and a single note. If you see such a symbol, play the note to the right of the bar with your left hand as the bass note. Then play the chord to the left of the bar with your right hand. You can think of this chord symbol as saying, "Play C over E."

C/E is essentially a C chord infirst reversal. Barre chords are how we note inverted chords on a chord chart.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (15)

🔥🎹HOT TIP!If you want to switch between chords faster and change the sound of your playing without changing the function and quality of a chord, check outreversals!

"his" chords

In this case, "sus" means "suspended". For sus chords, we skip a mid note and replace it with another.

(Video) Ultimate Piano Chords - eBook For Beginners - FREE Download!

In a Sus2 chord, replace the third with the second note from the root. In a Sus4 chord, replace the third with the fourth note from the root.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (16)

“Adding” chords

When you see "add" in a chord name, it means you are adding an extra note to your existing triad.

The difference between "Cmaj9" and "Cadd9" is that Cmaj9 contains the entire stack of thirds, while Cadd9 just means adding the ninth note to the existing C triad.

How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (17)

🔥 Pop-Quiz!

What are the notes of these chords? Find the answers inbottomthis post.

  1. IV-Akkord in A-Dur
  2. B♭/D
  3. Fsus2
  4. Gadd9

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How to Play ALL Piano Chords - Free Downloadable PDF Chart (18)

Questionnaire Answers

the triad

  1. E = E-G♯-B
  2. Bdim = B-D-F
  3. Faug = F-A-C♯

7. Chords and Chord Extensions

  1. Fmaj7 = F-A-C-E
  2. Gm7 = G-B♭-D-F
  3. D11 = D-F♯-ACEG

Other types of chords

  1. IV-Akkord in A-Dur = D-F♯-A
  2. B♭/D = B♭-D-F (right hand) over D (left hand)
  3. Fsus2 = F-G-C
  4. Gadd9 = G-B-D-A


Don't want to remember formulas? Download a free chord poster with all C major piano chords discussed. Print this cheat sheet and hang it on the wall behind your piano!

Download Chord Chart

Whew, that was a lot of chords to learn!

If you're intimidated by the volume of chords, don't worry, you don't have to memorize them all at once! Print out the chord poster and hang it behind the piano. The more you use these chords, the more you will remember them.

When you're ready to move from C major, work on the next key. It's all the same formula. For example, a dominant 7th 5th chord in D major is 1-3-5-7. Translated into notes the D-F#-A-C♮.

To learn more about keys, see our key lesson.Circle of Quintessence. Have fun practicing!

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Lisa WittHe has been teaching piano for 19 years and during that time he has helped hundreds of students play the music they love. Lisa received a classical piano education at the Royal Conservatory of Music, but has since devoted herself to popular music and playing by ear to accompany herself and others.

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