Snapguide

How to play piano - scales & chords

You don't have to spend years taking lessons to learn to play piano. I'll have you playing scales & chords in 5 minutes.

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A piano can look intimidating because of all the keys- but it's really just the same pattern over and over...

A piano can look intimidating because of all the keys- but it's really just the same pattern over and over...

The major scale is made up of only 8 notes across 12 keys. Pick any note, then count each key and follow this pattern: R-2-2-1-2-2-2-1(r), repeat all the way up.

In case you're wondering, the white notes shown here are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.  We'll cover the black keys next. This is the C major scale.

In case you're wondering, the white notes shown here are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. We'll cover the black keys next. This is the C major scale.

Hey, look! It's the exact same pattern. It's just the notes that are different. They are : Db-Eb-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-C-Db. (the b means 'flat') ...Db major scale

Follow that scale pattern until you're familiar with all 12 major scales. It'll make it super easy to figure out the next part....Chords.

The major chord is simply the 1st,3rd and 5th note of any major scale. Here, that would be C-E-G.  The C major chord

The major chord is simply the 1st,3rd and 5th note of any major scale. Here, that would be C-E-G. The C major chord

Or, you can follow this pattern - root note, count up 4 keys (notes), then count up 3 more keys.  The major chord name is whatever ROOT note you start with.

Or, you can follow this pattern - root note, count up 4 keys (notes), then count up 3 more keys. The major chord name is whatever ROOT note you start with.

A minor chord is just like a major chord, but the middle note moves down one step. The pattern is: Root note, up 3 notes, then up 4 notes. This is a C minor chord.

A minor chord is just like a major chord, but the middle note moves down one step. The pattern is: Root note, up 3 notes, then up 4 notes. This is a C minor chord.

You can now figure out a song by looking at any lead sheet or chord chart- for example, try playing these chords: C- Am (a minor)- F- G. Happy music making!

  • Piano or keyboard