Major Chords by Shape: A quicker way to learn major chords on piano

The shape of a chord is the way it lands under your fingers, where the black notes and white notes fall, etc.

There are 12 major chords, and we can group them by shape for faster learning.

Major Chord Group 1: C, F, G

The C major chord has 3 white notes:

C Major Chord

There are two other major chords that have 3 white notes:

F Major Chord

G Major Chord

These three chords are not only the same shape, but they’re the I, IV, and V chords (“one, four and five chords”) of the key of C. So, it’s really useful to learn them as a group. (If you don’t know about chords as numbers yet, then just take my word for it – learn these three as a group.)

Major Chord Group 2: A, D, E

In the key of A, the I, IV, and V chords are A, D, E. These chords also have the same shape (white keys on the outside, black key in the middle).

A Major Chord

D Major Chord

E Major Chord

Major Chord Group 3: Ab, Db, Eb

Ab Major Chord

Db Major Chord

Eb Major Chord

Major Chord Group 4: Bb, B, Gb

Unlike the other three groups, these three chords are not related by either shape or I, IV, V grouping. I group them together because they’re unique in shape.

Bb and B are a kind of inverse of each other – Bb has one black, then two white keys. B has one white, then two black keys.

Bb Major

Bb Major Chord

B Major Chord

Gb major is the only major triad to have all three black keys.

Gb Major Chord

Andy Grall at the piano

I’m Andy Grall, and I teach piano online and in Houston, TX. If you’re ready to dive in to learning piano, schedule your free consultation now:

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