The Wonderful World of Piano Chords and Voicings

05/14/2014 9:42 am

piano notes

I Love Piano Chords!

I admit it, I love chords! That may sound like a strange admission but once you get familiar with chords on the piano, you will know what I mean. One of the first things that I focus on with students is playing great chords. Specifically, great piano chord voicings. That simple means that you are trying to connect each chord smoothly into the next without jumping all over the piano. The way we accomplish this is by using chord inversions. An inversion is simply a rearranging of the notes in a particular chord.

For instance, in this blues example below, you will notice that although the chords are very different in each measure, the chord voicings that the player is using are connected very smoothly. Each tone in each chords moves very naturally to the next chord without sounding jerky and disconnected. This is tremendously important because it will make you sound like a pro piano player. A good way to tell a beginner from a seasoned player is to see what kinds of chords he or she plays.

That is why I am such a pain when it comes to reading your piano notes and learning your chords and voicings. When you begin taking piano lessons as a beginner, it is tempting to skip over these aspects of playing because they may seem a bit too tedious (who wants to learn all those chords!), but you have to trust me that you will enjoy playing piano so much more if you give chords and voicings the attention it deserves.

piano chords

Each style of music such as blues has specific voicings that sound great within that style but a good start is to take your triad chords and learn as many as you can in all their inversions. Once you have that foundation, then you can progress into other styles such as jazz piano or salsa piano.

Below is a simple C Major Triad: C E G
You will see that in root position, the C is on the bottom.
In 1st Inversions, the E is on the bottom.
In 2nd Inversions, the G is on the bottom.

Again, this would be a great exercise to learn for every triad.

C Major Chord Inversions

Happy playing!
~Adrian Edward

1 Comment

  • Linda Jacobs

    I just found your website. And I guess I am a step up from beginning. Looking forward to learning more about chording and fill ins in gospel music. Thank you