Chords are a great starting point for being able to play your favorite songs. A chord that is commonly used in popular music is the A flat major chord. The A-flat major chord consists of three notes, and can be played in any octave on the piano by either hand.
In this article, we will learn which notes comprise the A-flat piano chord, how to play it in each hand, and some advice on how to play the chord with the best technique possible.
Notes in the A flat major chord
The A-flat major chord is comprised of three notes: A-flat, C, and E-flat. You will notice that this chord uses two black keys and one white key. As with all chords, the A-flat major chord can be played in any range of the piano.
Experiment with how it sounds in different octaves to create the desired effect. These images show the A-flat major chord notated in the treble clef (for the right hand) and the bass clef (for the left hand).
Piano Finger Numbers
Before we learn how to play the A-flat major chord, it is important to know our piano finger numbers. Each finger has its own number that is used in sheet music to tell you which fingers to use to play which notes.
The numbers are the same on each hand. The thumb is always number one, the pointer is number two, the middle finger is number three, the ring finger is number four, and the pinky is number five.
These fingers will be used to play the A-flat major chord in the left hand:
- A-flat – finger five
- C – finger three
- E-flat – finger one
These fingers will be used to play the A-flat major chord in the right hand:
- A-flat – finger one
- C- finger three
- E-flat – finger five
Playing the A-flat Major Chord in the Left Hand
Now we can try playing the A-flat major chord in the left hand! The image below demonstrates how to play the A-flat major chord with the correct fingering. The pinky (finger five) plays A-flat, the middle finger (finger three) plays C, and the thumb (finger one) plays E-flat. Keep in mind that finger five and finger one both play black keys, while finger three plays a white key.
Playing chords in the left hand is a common strategy used to accompany melodies played in the right hand. This is a fun way to play some of your favorite songs!
When a song is in a key, whatever note the key is named after is the “home note/chord” of that piece of music. This means that note and chord will be used frequently.
Playing the A-flat Major Chord in the Right Hand
We’ve played the A-flat major chord in the left hand, and now it is time to play it in the right hand! The image below shows the correct fingering to use when playing the chord in the right hand.
The thumb (finger one) plays A-flat, the middle finger (finger three) plays C, and the pinky (finger five) plays E-flat. Remember that fingers one and five will both be playing black keys, while finger three will be playing a white key.
Playing chords in the right hand is a common strategy used to accompany someone singing. You can play the whole chord in the right hand, while playing the root note in the left hand. The root note of a chord is the note the chord is named after.
Therefore, A-flat is the root note of the A-flat major chord. This strategy of playing the root note in the left hand and the entire chord in the right hand provides a nice, full sound, and is a highly effective way to accompany a sung melody. Try playing the chord this way, and singing a song over top of it to see for yourself!
Posture and Technique Tips
Knowing the notes in the A-flat major chord and the fingers used to play them are very important pieces of information, but they are only part of the picture. The other elements involved are posture and technique. Positioning your body correctly and knowing how to play the notes without creating tension in your hands and wrists are incredibly important.
Because this chord uses black keys, you will have to move your hand farther up on the keys to play the chord. Make sure you are keeping your fingers curved, and your wrist parallel to the ground. Curving your fingers and playing the keys with your fingertips will give you the most control possible over how the notes sound.
Keeping your wrist parallel to the ground helps prevent injury – lifting the wrist will make you lose control of the sound, and lowering your wrist can create tension in the hand and wrist that can eventually lead to injury if it becomes a habit. The Philadelphia Piano Institute has further information about proper handling of the wrists to avoid injury.
When playing the piano, always keep posture in mind. Sit up straight, while leaning in slightly toward the piano. Keep your feet flat on the floor so they can reach the pedals easily if they are needed. Sit at a distance that allows you to comfortably extend your arms to the piano keys without having to lock your elbows. These are simple things you can do to ensure you are playing with the best technique and most possible control.
You now know all about the A flat major chord! You have learned which notes comprise the A-flat piano chord, the proper fingering to use in each hand, and several tips on how to play it using the best possible technique. Now it is time for you to start using the chord in your piano playing!
Make playing this chord part of your practice sessions, and find music that uses this chord so you can practice playing it as part of a song. Use your new knowledge of the A-flat major chord to improve your skills and get even better at playing the piano!
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