Db, Ab, Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A, E, B, F#

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If you recall, last week we took an airplane ride over Chordland just to get the lay of the land -- the overview of the world of chords. Today, we are going to show you how easy it is to learn ALL the major chords (there are 12 of them) and be able to play them in seconds -- not hours or days or weeks or months or years. Some people go through their entire lives not being sure about what such and such a major chord is -- and it's all so unnecessary, because you can memorize them in just a few minutes, and learn to play them in 12 seconds or less - one second per chord. I have had many private students over the years who could play them all in as little as 5 seconds -- one little gal (she was about 12 at the time) had particularly fast hands, and could play them in - believe it or not - 3 seconds!  I have slow hands with fat fingers, and yet I can play them in something like 5 or 6 seconds.

So if I can do it with little fat hands and chubby short fingers, you can too.

First, here's what they look like on the staff:

major chords on sheet music

And here's what they look like when played on the piano with your left hand:

Fingering Positions for Major Chords
5-3-1 fingers on C-E-G
C Major
5-3-1 fingers on F-A-C
F Major
5-3-1 fingers on G-B-D
G Major
5-3-1 fingers on D-F#-A
D Major
5-3-1 fingers on E-G#-B
E Major
5-3-1 fingers on A-C#-E
A Major
5-3-1 fingers on Db-F-Ab
Db Major
5-3-1 fingers on Eb-G-Bb
Eb Major
5-3-1 fingers on Ab-C-Eb
Ab Major
5-3-1 fingers on Gb-Bb-Db
Gb Major
5-3-1 fingers on B-D#-F#
B Major
5-3-1 fingers on Bb-D-F
Bb Major

I hope you noticed that 3 of the major chords were made of all white keys:

C   F   G

And I hope you noticed that 3 of the major chords were made of  white keys on the outside, with a black key in the middle:

D   E   A

And did you notice that 3 of the major chords were like an Oreo cookie? Black on the outside, white on the inside?

Db   Eb   Ab

That only leaves 3 major chords, one of which is all black (Gb), and one of which is white, black, black (B), and the other the reverse -- black, white, white (Bb).

Gb    B   Bb

And that's it.

Practice playing the first 3 chords over and over until you can move between them smoothly and quickly. Then practice the next 3 chords -- then the next  3 -- then the last 3. After you can play them by 3's, practice playing the first 6 without stopping. Then practice the first 9 without stopping. Then finally practice playing all 12 without stopping.

There's no particular virtue, of course, in playing them quickly, except for the fact that it makes you confident you can find them in a hurry when you need them in a song. But you'll find that as your confidence grows, your enjoyment and competence in piano playing with grow commensurately. That's it for this week. By next week you ought to be a pro at all the major chords -- every single one.

Next week we'll learn how to stand 'em on their heads, and, therefore, triple the number of chords we can play quickly!

This page updated on January 18, 2015.