Why play chords on piano ?

What are chords?

Chords are made up of more than one note sounded together. When we play piano with more than one finger at a time, we are playing chords. When we sing, we are only voicing one note at a time. Someone else might join us and sing different notes with the song and what we are hearing are chords.

Keys of a piano

Do we need chords?

A soloist might be able to deliver a song beautifully, but if he/she is accompanied by a pianist playing the same notes she is singing, then it does nothing for the song. The accompanist would need to play chords or progressions that are in the same key and on the same chords of the song.

Who uses them anyway?

All musicians use them. Bands and orchestras are playing within the same chords and songs can be played with simple or complex chords. Imagine, by John Lennon is a well known song with piano chord accompaniment and well known performer, Pavarotti, sang with orchestra and voices using combinations of the notes of the chords in the song.

How do we use chords on piano ?

Learning the basic chords in each key, using notes 1,3,5, is the first step. Derivatives of the basic as well as other chords can be learned and practiced, since the piano is based on patterns repeated within each octave. The next step is to move between chords with studied fingering to produce smooth transitions. A person who wants to accompany themselves on piano would learn the basics and fill in as appropriate.

How long does it take?

There is no standard time in learning chords. It is directly related to the dexterity of the player and the level of desire to and patience to get it done. After all, when you become accomplished, who cares how how you took to learn, at least you will have accomplished your goal.

Are you making progress as a musician ? Please let me have your comments.

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  1. jeremy

    My wife bought a piano about 3 months ago because she plays and it is really calling out for me to play it. The only problem is have no idea how to play anything. I do play guitar and I would love to be able to put the two together. It would also be interesting to learn and see the difference and similarities between the piano and guitar other than not being able to bend a note on a piano.

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Jeremy. A person who plays guitar is one step ahead in knowledge of chords. This will be helpful in learning to play piano. The new challenge for the guitarist would be the fingering, movement of the fingers around the piano. I am, through my website https://www.mypianohobby.com, developing a method that would take you through simple exercises and explanations, learning a few well known songs. Once you understand the principles, you will be able to apply the methods to any songs you want and, of course, I will be available to answer your questions. Can you imagine the fun you and your wife would have? Thank you for your comments. Please stay tuned.

  2. John Rico

    Hey there! I’ve been playing guitar for a while now and I want to learn a new instrument. I’ve been interested in playing piano since I was a kid and I only got the time and money right now that I’m older. I heard chords before in piano but I don’t know how to play it, in other words strumming pattern in guitar. How do you know the chord strumming in piano? I really appreciate your response.

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi John, when you play chords on piano the notes in the chords are the same as the guitar, but the style tends to be more arpeggios than strumming. For instance instead of strumming four C7 chords like on a guitar, you would play two and break up the chord for the other two beats. You would play the notes in the right hand separately. I will be showing these skills on my website very soon, so stay tuned. Thanks for you comments. I will be in touch with you, further. 

  3. Brendon

    My God daughter has been playing the piano for about a year. She has always been into music, even as a young child.
    She is constantly on me to learn to play the piano. It was actually something I wanted to learn when I was young, but it was not in the cards for me.
    Basically I have no musical experience at all, and although I would love to play the piano i have no idea where to even start.
    Do you have any suggestions for an old timer like myself?

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Brendon. No one is ever to old to learn to play piano. Ask yourself which songs would make you feel happy and satisfied playing. Some people like church music, blues and ballads, sing-along songs, country music. There are oldies, songs for family fun times, classical tunes etc. I am setting up this program because there are so many adults who just want to play a few songs they love. It will be delivered by video online, explaining every step and taking it very slowly. You might not want to perform to a big audience from the stage, but you  definitely will feel happy and fulfilled being able to express your music. Go for it !

      Thanks for your interest.

  4. Rebecca

    Hi Joy, nice review on piano playing and chords. I share your interest as I play the piano too. I started taking lessons when I was 4 yrs. old, and quit after high school as I needed more time for college. I love to play the piano. What you learn you never forget. So once in a while I would sit for hours playing. I am more on classical. Playing the piano is a means of expression for me. I love the piece and I love the music. Piano playing is great.

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Rebecca, the most important thing in learning music is to able to remember how to play, and be able to play from time to time even if you are not involved in it as a career. I,too started on classical, but added several genres. No one can take away the satisfaction, the peace, the fulfilment of expressing your music. Best wishes going forward. Thank you for your comments.

  5. Arian

    I’ve always wanted to learn piano but never took the initiative. I know its an awful excuse. I keep busy with guitar, bass and music production but piano is definitely a valuable skill to have both as a songwriter and producer. But yes, It all starts with some beautiful chords!

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Yes Arian. People who want to play can get a world of satisfaction with the knowledge of chords. Just do a course and you will have satisfied that wish of yours. Play and sing to your heart’s delight. Thank you for your comments


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