If you want to truly be able to play piano effectively, you no doubt have to be able to understand and play piano chords. And so, in this article, my goal id to help you properly navigate how to play an E flat piano chord.
I know that learning piano chords can seem a bit daunting or even confusing, which is why I’ve also included keyboard diagrams into this guide to better aid you.
How to Play an Eb Chord: The Right Hand
To start, let’s figure out which keys we need for the E flat (Eb) chord.
For those of you who don’t know how notes on a keyboard or piano work, all you really need to know is that notes in music are assigned letter names that can range from A to G and repeat from there.
Here’s a diagram to show you which notes go where on a piano:
For beginning players, the white keys are the primary keys you’ll use. I’ve labeled two of the black keys in the above diagram only because those keys are necessary for the Eb chord.
The concepts of sharps and flats is a little more advanced than the things you need to know as a beginner. For now, all you need to know is that a flat (b) makes a note one half-step lower than the lone note.
For example, Eb is the key directly to the left of E, which is one half-step, and Bb is the key directly to the left of B, which is also one-half step.
One key to the left is the rule regardless of black or white keys.
It’s easier to learn how to play an E flat chord on the right hand first because of how the fingers fall on the keys, so lets’ start there; we’ll move on to the left hand later.
Now that we know where we’re going on the keyboard, let’s look at the fingering. Learning fingering is an important step of learning any new instrument; it’s like a roadmap for your fingers to keep you on track, especially when you start to play multiple chords in succession or more advanced melodies.
To start, we’ll assign a number to each finger to make things simple:
We’ll need fingers one, three, and five for this chord; you’ll find that for most basic chords in root position (with the bottom note of the chord being played by finger one on the right hand), these are the fingers you’ll rely on the most.
The thumb, or “finger one” according to the image above, is going to rest on Eb, finger three (middle finger) on G, and finger five (pinkie finger) on Bb.
Go ahead and try to line up your fingers on the keyboard or piano and let them relax, just to get a feel for the hand position.
Here’s a diagram to help you visualize it:
The key difference between a chord and a note or melody is that instead of playing a melody, where you play multiple notes in succession, a chord has multiple keys played all at once.
The Eb piano chord is created by pressing down on the Eb, G, and Bb at the same time. It’s very common for beginning piano players to press down with all their fingers (two and four included) which can create a pretty nasty sound if you’re not careful.
I always tell my students to lift fingers two and four as high as they can without being uncomfortable, just to keep them out of the way. Go ahead and settle your hand back on the keys, try to get fingers two and four out of the way, and press down on all three keys at once.
Great! You’re one step closer to mastering the piano. Practice that a few times if you have a moment; it takes a while to find the sweet spot of pressure.
Pressure in this instance is basically how hard you have to press to create a good sound that’s not too soft or too harsh.
Do note, if you have trouble with your fingers while trying to practice, try implementing one of these 7 piano finger exercises to loosen them up.
How to Play an Eb Chord: The Left Hand
Luckily, fingering on the left hand is identical to that of the right: the thumb is finger one, the pointer finger is finger two, and so on. The only hitch with this is that it’s easy to get the fingering confused, so be sure to pay attention to which hand belongs to which part when you start reading music with two hands.
Here’s another visual to help you line up the fingers on the left:
On the left hand, you’ll have your pinkie finger (5) resting on Eb, which is your root note, your middle finger (3) resting on G, and your thumb (1) resting on Bb.
Take a minute to line your fingers up and practice the same way you did with the right hand, making sure fingers two and four are comfortably out of the way. Once you think you’re comfortable with it, we can try both hands together.
If you think you’ve mastered playing the chord by itself in either hand, and you’d like to look at something a little more challenging, you can look at this begin looking into examples of broken chords, which can spice up any song with a jazzy pattern or marching bass.
How to Play an Eb Chord: Both Hands
If you look back at the keyboard diagram showing you the keyboard with all the white notes labeled, you’ll see that keyboards use repeating segments of notes that go on and on in both directions.
The further right you go, the higher the pitches get, and the further left you go, the lower the pitches get.
To play the Eb chord with both hands, pick an Eb, G, and Bb in the right hand and the same in the left hand, then line up all the needed fingers.
Here’s a diagram if you’d like to see how it may work:
Make sure your 2 and 4 fingers on both hands are out of the way and try it out. It’s a pretty full sound, isn’t it?
How to Recognize an Eb Piano Chord in Music
Great job—you can officially play an Eb piano chord on both hands. Now that you know how to play it, how do you identify it in music?
Sometimes, like on guitar notes or chord progressions, they may be labeled for you. However, when you try to read classical music or notated music, it may help to know how to locate a root position Eb chord through some simple analysis.
The keyboard I showed you earlier had all the notes labeled, but those notes are actually notated on something called a staff. A staff is made up of five connected lines and four spaces between those lines on which notes appear.
Which space and which line the note appears on, as well as whatever clef you see at the beginning, tells you which note name it is. The thick line on the end of the staff just means that the music has come to an end.
Here’s what a staff looks like with a treble clef (the left) and a bass clef (the right):
Now let’s add one more thing and look at some notes in ascending order on the staff. We’ll use the treble clef for this diagram:
Take a second to find G on the scale, since that’s the only recognizable note from the Eb piano chord. To make one of these notes flat, you’ll just put a small, lowercase “b” in front of the note.
Here’s what these chords may look like in a root position on a staff:
Now you know how to play an E flat piano chord it on the right hand, the left hand, both hands, and how to identify it in piano music.
Great job today!
This may be one small step of many, but it’s an important step. Keep practicing and you’ll get a little better every day!
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