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Piano Lession #4: “Black Key” Major Chords

Major chords where the root is a sharp or flat key are built the same as other major chords: the third is two
whole-steps above the root, and the fifth is a step and a half above the third. These chords, at first, feel
strange to play because the root and fifth are usually black keys so your hand position changes slightly.

Go ahead and let your fingers slide deeper up into the keyboard. It is true that you usually play at the ends
of the black keys - in order to keep your fingers curved to enable strong playing - but here it becomes
awkward to do so. When you play a white key in these chords you’ll probably be playing the skinny part
of the key between the black keys.

On the following charts, the parallel chords are aligned horizontally. Remember, for example, that C# is the
same key as Db. The C# chord and the Db chord, then, use the same keys, but they are named differently
depending on which chord is called for. The same is true of the D# and Eb chord, and on down the list.

E#/Fb and B#/Cb major chords were omitted because their notations are more complicated, and it’s
highly unlikely that you’ll be called upon to use them anyway.

Major Chord Root Third Fifth Major Chord Root Third Fifth
C# C# F � #
G Db Db F � b
A
D# D# G A# Eb Eb G Bb
F# F# A# C# Gb Gb Bb Db
G# G# C D# Ab Ab C Eb
A# A# D F Bb Bb D F
C# Major

Db Major

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