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C major Piano Chord - How to Play 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 play. 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.

Then use your right hand to make up the rest of the chord. As you’re already playing a C in your left hand, play 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

E flat major, like all triads, consists of three notes. This chord is formed by combining the root note, Eb, major third, G and perfect fifth, Bb of the major scale. Eb – G – Bb. In other words, you play notes 1, 3, and 5 of the scale. Play these notes simultaneously and there you have it, an Eb major chord!

All major chords follow the exact same pattern: start with the ROOT note, go up FOUR notes, then go up THREE notes.

But what does this mean in practice? For a chord of Eb major, start with your thumb on the root note (the root note is the name of the chord you're playing - in this case, Eb). The next note is FOUR notes above the root (G). Then the final note is THREE notes above that (Bb).

For example:

  • Start with your thumb on Eb
  • From the Eb, go up FOUR notes to G
  • From the g, fo up THREE notes to finish on Bb

And that's how you build a chord of C major on piano. That's all there is to it!

How an C major chord looks in sheet music

This is a diagram of how a chord of Eb major is written on a score. The Eb sits at the bottom of the chord stack. the G is in the middle, with the Bb sitting at the very top.

Chord of Eb 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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