Piano Chord Encyclopedia

Your Complete Piano Chord Resource

On this page, you can explore the widest range of piano chords: learn how they’re built, the theory behind chord construction, and the best practices for playing them on the piano.  Choose from the top menu to find chords starting on any note, and click the links to view the complete in-depth lesson on that chord. All the chords are illustrated with charts, audio examples, and staff layouts to give you a complete understanding of the chord.


Triads are a fundamental concept in music theory that refer to chords consisting of three notes played simultaneously. On a piano, a triad can be formed by playing every other note in a scale starting from any note. Triads consist of three degrees: a root, a third and a fifth. They can be major, minor, diminished, or augmented depending on the intervals between the notes. Triads are essential building blocks of harmony and are used extensively in a wide range of musical genres.

Seventh Chords

Seventh chords are made up of four notes played simultaneously. On a piano, a seventh chord can be formed by adding a fourth note to a triad, which is typically the interval of a seventh above the root note. The four notes in a seventh chord are the root, third, fifth, and seventh. There are several types of seventh chords, including major, dominant, minor, and diminished, which differ in the intervals between the notes. Seventh chords are commonly used in classical music, jazz, blues, and other genres to add complexity and richness to chord progressions.

Extended Chords

Extended chords are chords that have additional notes beyond the basic triad, such as sixth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth intervals. These chords can be formed by adding the additional notes to a triad, creating a more complex and harmonically intricate sound. Extended chords often have labels such as “sus” or “add” and are frequently used in jazz, blues, and other styles of music to create more intricate and interesting harmonies.

Diatonic Chords

Diatonic chords on the piano are chords that are built using only the notes of a particular key’s scale. In Western music, most compositions are based on the diatonic system, which means that the chords and melodies are derived from a specific key signature.  Diatonic chords include the I (tonic), ii (supertonic), iii (mediant), IV (subdominant), V (dominant), vi (submediant), and vii° (leading tone) chords. Understanding diatonic chords is an essential aspect of music theory and can help you understand the function and architecture of the music you’re playing 

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