In this lesson you’ll learn how to play every variation of a chord of C major on piano, including its root position, first inversion and second inversion.
The notes required for a C major piano chord are as follows:
C major is the most popular piano chord in music, and also one of the easiest to perform. That’s becuase you don’t need to use any sharps or flats (also known as “black notes”) to play it. You only use the white notes on the keyboard. This method will show you the best way to play a chord of C major on piano.
Start by playing two C notes in your left hand, one octave apart. Once you’re comfortable, play a G note in the middle with your left hand second finger.
Your right hand should then be used to make up the rest of the chord. Start by playing an E note with your thumb. Play a G with your second, then stretch your fifth (pinkie) finger up to a high C.
All major chords on piano are built in the same way. The formula goes ROOT note, then count FOUR, then count THREE. But what does this actually mean in practice?
For C major, start with the ROOT NOTE of C. Then count up FOUR. You’ll arrive on the major third – in this case, the note of E. Finally, fount up another THREE notes to land on the perfect fifth – which is a G.
So the chords required to play a chord of C major on piano are C, E and G. You can use this formula to work out how to play a major chord in ANY key signature.
This is a diagram of how a C major chord is written on a music score. The C sits at the bottom of the chord stack; the E is in the middle, with the G sitting at the very top.
A First Inversion chord of C major uses the exact same notes as the Root Position, but played in a different order. A good way of playing this is with two E notes in your left hand, one octave apart. Then play a triad chord in your right using the notes G, C and E.