Playing songs on the piano is a fun and rewarding hobby, but going through the process of learning songs can seem overwhelming for beginners at first.
Each song comes with a unique melody that’s set to various rhythms and supported by harmonies. So when you look at a song through that lens, it’s no wonder why learning each new song could feel challenging.
But what if I told you that despite the different melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, by learning how to play just 4 easy piano chords you can easily play countless songs on the piano?
That’s right! With just 4 simple chords, you can play hundreds of popular songs and impress your friends and family.
Piano chords explained
Now, before talking about the simple chords you can learn to play numerous songs, let’s first talk about what exactly a chord is. A chord is a group of three or more notes that are played together to create a sound, and that sound is called a “harmony.” The notes of a chord are usually played at the exact same time, but often — especially with piano music — those notes can be played in succession to produce a sound that seems like the notes were played “together.”
In both cases, whether the notes are played at the same time, or in succession, the result is a chord.
The most common chords used in popular music are called “major” chords, or “minor” chords. This labeling most notably addresses the overall “mood” that’s created by a chord’s sound — a major chord sounds happy and upbeat, while a minor chord sounds sad and somber.
Alright, so now that we’ve had a crash course into chords, let’s take a look at 4 easy piano chords that will allow you to play countless piano songs.
4 easy piano chords
The first chord you’ll need to be able to play is a C major chord. Arguably the most well-known chord, the C major chord is one of the easiest chords to play as it’s just C, E, and G — all white keys.
The second chord you should learn is the G major chord. This chord consists of the notes G, B, and D — again, all white keys.
The third chord is an A minor chord, consisting of A, C, and E — all white keys.
And the fourth and final chord that you should learn is the F major chord. This chord consists of the notes F, A, and C — as you’re probably guessing by now, it’s all white keys.
Now here’s where the magic happens. Despite their different melodies and rhythms, many popular songs consist of just 4 chords that are cycled throughout. So if you already know how to play its 4 chords, learning the other elements of the song will become much much easier.
A perfect example of this is “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This iconic song uses only 4 chords: C major, G major, A minor, and F major. So if you’re familiar with how to play those 4 chords, you’re already more than halfway through learning how to play the song!
Other song examples like this are:
- “All The Small Things” by Blink-182
- “Home” by Phillip Phillips
- “Run” by Snow Patrol
- “The Days” by Avicii
- “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley
- “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper
- “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon
And countless others!
Start practicing those piano chords!
In conclusion, playing songs on the piano can seem challenging but for a large number of songs, simply learning 4 basic chords will help make playing countless songs much easier. So grab your piano and start practicing those 4 chords! You’ll be amazed at how much music you’ll have at the palm of your hands (no pun intended).