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Chord Piano Method

Chord Piano Method

The chord piano method is an easy, common-sense approach to popular music piano study. It is a method based on a knowledge of piano chords and their inter-relationships, known as chord progressions. In conservatories, it is a first year course called Keyboard Harmony. 

Simple Chords

Think of chords as groups of three piano keys, played simultaneously, similar to the three books you see stacked below: bottom, middle, and top. The current order is green (bottom) blue (middle) and red (top.)

Chord Piano Method

The validity of this chord approach is universal and applies to all styles at the piano. Chords are the elemental organizing force of music. If you know six or seven basic chords and their permutations, you can navigate most popular music. If a six year old can do it, anyone can do it.

Pop Songs By Number

Pop Songs By Number Printed Book

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A Method Based On Chords

One can hardly go wrong imitating the chord progressions of the greats. But before you can string groups of chords together into a “song,” you’ll need as much knowledge as you can about the individual chords. Chords are very easy to distinguish visually at the piano, for the piano is essentially an analogue. There is one key for every one of eighty-eight pitches or tones. This is unlike the guitar where one must fashion thousands of chords out of just six strings. It is for this reason that composers are almost always pianists.

Chord Progressions

Chords are arranged in sequential groups, to form “chord progressions,” much like the building blocks of a sentence: subject, verb, and object. In the example below, the “chords” are the letters, C F G etc.

Many songs use only three or four, and six or seven is a maximum. You can see it wouldn’t be hard to handle three or four groups of keys, especially when they fit your hand and fingers rather well once you get used to them.

Most Songs Use Two Or Three Chords

London Bridge, for example, contains only two chords. Even standard songs from every era require usually no more than 4 or 5 chords, many requiring even less. Look at the above example, Twinkle, Twinkle, and you will see it has only three chords, C, F and G.

Try Chords On Our Online Piano

Here are two of the most common chords on the piano, C and F. Try playing the three notes at the same time on a real piano.

C Chord = 1 3 5 
F Chord = 4 6 8 

Chords Are The DNA Of Music

There is a satisfying logical, intellectual and emotional engagement to chords, which is hard to describe until you play one. Teach Yourself Piano is a simple introduction to all 12 chords.


We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!


Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids!



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