Piano Chord Encyclopedia
C Piano Chords
Welcome to this comprehensive guide to C piano chords. Whether you are a beginner pianist seeking to understand the fundamentals of chords, or an experienced musician looking to expand your knowledge, this guide aims to provide you with a detailed understanding of the chords that can be built on the note C.
Chords are the building blocks of music and are essential for creating harmony. By understanding C piano chords, you will gain a deeper insight into the theory of chord structure and be able to incorporate a wider range of C chords into your playing.
Throughout this guide, we will delve into the theory behind C piano chords, examining the concepts of major, minor, diminished, augmented, and seventh chords. Then, we’ll break down of each chord type that can be built on the note C, including examples of how they can be used in music.
At the end of this guide, you will have a comprehensive understanding of C piano chords, enabling you to recognize them quickly in your music.
VIDEO: How to play C piano chords
Triads: Basic chords built on C
The four triads that can be built on the note C for the piano are major, minor, diminished, and augmented. Each of these triads is made up of a different set of three notes and has a unique sound and function in music.
- C major chord (C)
- C minor chord (Cm)
- C diminished chord (C°)
- C augmented chord (C+)
Seventh chords built on C
- C dominant seventh chord (C7)
- C major seventh chord (Cmaj7)
- C minor seventh chord (Cm7)
- C half-diminished seventh chord (Cm7♭5 or Cø7)
- C diminished seventh chord (Cdim7 or C°7)
Understanding the function and sound of each of these seventh chords built on C will help you understand the more complex harmonies and textures you encounter in your music.
Complete lessons on C piano chords
The links below will take you to a comprehensive overview of each C piano chord, including fingering charts, inversions, practice tips, and more.
C Major Chord
C Major Chord Overview
C E G
C Minor Chord
C Minor Chord Overview
C E♭ G
C Augmented Chord
C Augmented Chord Overview
C E G♯
Caug or C+
C Diminished Chord
C Diminished Chord Overview
C E♭ G♭
Cdim or C°
C Dominant 7th Chord
C Dominant 7th Chord Overview
C E G B♭
C Major 7th Chord
C Major 7th Chord Overview
C E G B
C Minor 7th Chord
C Minor 7th Chord Overview
C E♭ G B♭
C Half-Diminished 7th Chord
C Half-Diminished 7th Chord Overview
C E♭ G♭ B♭
Cm7♭5 or Cø7
C Diminished 7th Chord
C Diminished 7th Chord Overview
C E♭ G♭ B𝄫
Cdim7 or C°7
Diatonic C piano chords
Diatonic chords are formed by stacking thirds on top of each note of a scale. Diatonic chords give you more insight into the function of chords and the hierarchy of how they interact in music.
The diatonic chords based on C are:
Extended C piano chords
While this C piano chord guide focuses on the chords you’ll find in functional harmony, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many other chord combinations that occur. These are commonly called extended chords.
Extended chords are chords that include additional notes beyond the basic triad (root, third, and fifth) and the seventh chord (root, third, fifth, and seventh). These additional notes are often referred to as extensions or upper structures.
Extended chords built on C include:
- C Major Ninth (Cmaj9): C, E, G, B, D
- C Major Eleventh (Cmaj11): C, E, G, B, D, F
- C Major Thirteenth (Cmaj13): C, E, G, B, D, F, A
- C Major Add9 (Cadd9): C, E, G, D
- C Major Suspended 2 (Csus2): C, D, G
- C Major Suspended 4 (Csus4): C, F, G
- C Minor Ninth (Cm9): C, E♭, G, B♭, D
- C Minor Eleventh (Cm11): C, E♭, G, B♭, D, F
- C Minor Thirteenth (Cm13): C, E♭, G, B♭, D, F, A
- C Dominant Ninth (C9): C, E, G, B♭, D
- C Dominant Eleventh (C11): C, E, G, B♭, D, F
- C Dominant Thirteenth (C13): C, E, G, B♭, D, F, A
- C Dominant Add9 (Cadd9): C, E, G, B♭, D
- C Minor-Major Ninth (CmMaj9): C, E♭, G, B, D
- C Minor Add9 (Cmadd9): C, E♭, G, D
- C Minor Seventh Flat Five (Cm7♭5): C, E♭, G♭, B♭
- C Augmented Major Seventh (Cmaj7♯5): C, E, G♯, B
- C Augmented Seventh (C7♯5): C, E, G♯, B♭
Note that “add” chords add a specific note to the basic triad without changing the basic quality of the chord, while “sus” chords replace the third with either the second or fourth note of the scale. These chords can also add color and variation to chord progressions, and are commonly used in pop, rock, and other genres of music.
Extended chords can add more complexity, color, and harmonic richness to a chord progression or composition. The most common extended chords include the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords. These chords can be used in a variety of musical genres, including jazz, funk, blues, pop, and R&B.
To explore charts and diagrams for extended C piano chords, check out the database on this page.