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C major Piano Chord - How to Play a chord of C major on Piano

C major Piano Chord - How to Play C major on Piano
C major Piano Chord - How to Play C major on Piano

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.

C major - Root position

Play chord of C major
C major on piano

The notes required for a C major piano chord are as follows:

  • C
  • E
  • G

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.

C major root position on piano
Here's how it sounds:

How to build a chord of C major

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.

How to build a chord of C major on piano

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.

How a C major chord looks in sheet music

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.

Chord of C major in sheet music

C major - First inversion

Also written as C/E
C major first inversion on piano

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.

Here's how it sounds:

C major - Second inversion

Also written as C/G
C major second inversion on piano

Here's how it sounds:
Learn about chord inversions on piano
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