In the PIANO CHORD DICTIONARY, all chords are presented in root position. In root position, the name of the chord is the key furthest to the left in the chord, thus a C chord in root position has a C as the key furthest to the left in the chord. Chords are, for the purpose of this study, intended to be played by the left hand. The style of pop piano known as SINGER-SONGWRITER, or LEAD SHEET STYLE, is dependent on this setup: melody in right hand, chords in left hand, and is the best place for beginners to start.
In general, a beginner's strategy should be to play chords with the left hand, and the melody with the right hand. The keyboard is shown with Piano by Number stickers applied as in the print version of PIANO CHORD DICTIONARY.
In the diagram below you will see the printed symbol for the chord, such as C, which is what you will encounter in popular sheet music. Underneath are alternate printed names (and symbols, such as triangles, etc.) such as C maj7, that pop musicians have devised, and which may appear in sheet music depending on the age of the printed sheet music you are using.
The C seventh chord is comprised of white keys with a black key on the top. It is also called "C seven." This same chord may use a variety of chord symbols in sheet music, such as C7. It is the simplest example of a "blues" chord. In classical music, it is a "dominant seventh chord."
ONLINE CHORD MACHINE
Use the virtual piano keyboard below to get the flavor of the C dominant seventh chord, also usually spoken of as the C seven chord.
Use your computer's mouse to click and play the piano keys below that are marked X at the top of the key.
Play the keys marked with Xs in quick succession, from left to right, so the sounds blend together.
The C7 chord is pleasing but unresolved, and is the chord found most frequently in songs in the blues style. There is a quality of expectation about the chord, as if it was leading to something else.
Here's a fun chord game. Make up your own song using the Xs in a different order. Use mostly the Xs, but sometimes include other white and black keys. Most songs are based on the notes of chords, with other notes occasionally appearing. Have fun: there is no wrong answer.
SELECT MORE CHORDS BELOW
Click on the chord name. Chords are organized according to the symbols that you will see in popular sheet music. This is a beginner's list that covers chords through the 7th chord, such as C7. For more complex chords, such as C9, see the Chord Substitution List. Beginners are advised to learn chords through the seventh chord (such as C7) before venturing further into complex chords.