The Most Beautiful Piano Chord, the Heaven Chord
What do you think the most beautiful piano chord of all time is? Some pianists would argue that the most beautiful piano chord is some crazy jazz chord with lot’s of strange notes in it. But to me, the most beautiful piano chord is one that can be used on the simplest chord progressions. In fact, this chord can be used in place of a regular C Major chord. Therefore, my all-time favorite piano chord is extremely useful because you can use anytime you would otherwise play a simple major chord. In today’s piano lesson, you will learn:
- The Heaven Chord (The Most Beautiful Chord of All Time)
- A Trick to Quickly Remembering the Chord
- The Heaven Chord Construction
- Using Heaven Chord on Multiple Chords
- Heaven Chord in Piano Progressions
- Accompaniment with the Heaven Chord
- Using the Heaven Chord as an Intro
Whether you are just getting started as a pianist or you have experience accompanying at the piano, you’ll find the techniques from this lesson to be highly useful. Are you ready to transform your piano accompaniment skills? Let’s dive in!
The Heaven Chord, the Most Beautiful Piano Chord
When it comes to the most beautiful piano chord, there’s no name more fitting than the word “Heaven.” To me, the word “Heaven” encompasses a beauty that I often seek to create when I play the piano. Therefore, I gave this chord the name Heaven because it is the most beautiful piano chord in my opinion.
What is the Heaven Chord
The Heaven Chord is a chord that you can use as a substitute for a major chord. For example, instead of playing a C Major with the notes C, E, and G, you can use the Heaven Chord.
Doesn’t that piano chord sound beautiful?!? Later in this lesson, I’ll explain exactly what you are playing. However, before we do this, I want to explain a quick trick to remembering this chord.
HEaven Chord Quick Trick
How to you remember the notes of a C Heaven Chord? Well, you can think of this chord as a 2nd Inversion G Major Triad in your right hand played over a C Major 1st inversion in your left hand. In other words, your left hand will play E G C, which is a first inversion triad, and your right hand will play D G B, which is a 2nd inversion G Major Triad. Now, when I play this chord, I like to remove the G from my left hand so that this note is not doubled in the right hand.
If you don’t know your major chords like G Major, it will be a struggle for you to play these chords in other keys. In this case, I recommend learning all 12 major and minor chords in our Level 1 Foundations Learning Track.
Next, you’ll learn how the Heaven Chord is constructed.
Beautiful Heaven Chord Construction
The Heaven Chord is constructed by playing a C Major Triad and stacking 2 more third intervals. For example, if you play a C Major Triad, you have the notes C, E, and G. If you stack a third, you have a B, and if you stack another third, you have a D. Therefore, when you combine all 5 of these notes, you have what is called a C Major 9 chord:
What we did above is “color” our C Major chord with 2 additional notes. First, we added the B to the chord, which is called the 7th of the chord. Next, we added a D to the chord, which is what we call the 9th of the chord, or a “chord extension”. If you don’t know your 7th chords, you can learn them in our Major 7 Chord Theory & Application Course. If you don’t know your Chord Extensions, you can learn them in our Piano Chord Extensions Course.
A C Major 9 is the “technical” name for what I am calling the Heaven Chord. However, for the chord to sound “heavenly”, there are 2 essential criteria that need to be met:
2 Essential Criteria for Heaven Chords
- You want to play some of the notes close together to create clusters. For example, notice that on the C Heaven Chord that you learned at the beginning of this lesson, there is a C and D very close together. This is a “cluster”, and it helps give the chord a warm, lush sound.
- You want to invert the chord so that the 3rd of the chord is on the bottom. For example, notice that the E is the bottom note of the chord instead of the C. As a result, this gives the chord a longing, unresolved sound, which is essential to Heaven Chords.
Next, let’s practice a Heaven Chord on an F Major chord.
Heaven Chord on an F
If you want to play an F Heaven Chord, it’s as a simple as following the Heaven Chord Quick Trick I mentioned earlier. Firstly, play a 1st inversion F Major Chord in your left hand with the notes A, F, and C. Secondly, play a 2nd Inversion C Major Chord in your right hand using the notes G, C, and E.
Remember that you can omit the C from the left hand so that you don’t end up doubling that note in the right hand. Doesn’t it sound amazing? I encourage you to practice Heaven Chords in other keys. If you don’t know how, you can change the key of this lesson with the click of one button with our Smart Sheet Music.
Now that you’ve learned your Heaven chords in C and F, next you’ll learn how to use these chords in a chord progression.
Using Heaven Chords in A Chord Progression
How do you use Heaven Chords in a chord progression? The simple answer is to use these chords whenever you would see a major chord. For example, if you had a progression that went C Major to F Major, you could play it the ordinary way:
Or, you could play it with beautiful Heaven Chords, which would sound like this:
To me, the Heaven Chords sound much more interesting than the ordinary major chords. Next, let’s look at 3 examples of how to use Heaven Chords with a melody.
Heaven Chords Example 1
It’s nice to add some notes in-between your chords so that you have a melody in addition to the harmony. Here is an example of a melody you can use between the chords:
The above music can be used as an accompaniment with a singer, or it could be used as an intro to a song in C. Next, let’s look at another way you could use Heaven Chords in a progression.
Heaven Chords Example 2
In example 2, we will use Heaven Chords in a descending motion. Check it out:
This particular example works very well as an intro to a song in the key of C. Try creating your own intro using this descending idea.
Now, you might be thinking, “Jonny, this sounds great. But can I use these Heaven Chords on other chords besides C and F?”. The answer is Yes, and in the next section, I’ll show you how.
Heaven Chords Example 3
In our final example, we will explore Heaven Chords on chords other than C and F. Something that is very nice to do is to play melodies down a C Major Scale and harmonize the top note with Heaven Chords. How do you do this? Well, you take whatever note you land on and determine the Heaven Chord by using the Quick Trick formula I described earlier. However, this time we will need to think backwards, starting with the top note and working our way down. For example, here is a melody that uses Heaven Chords while working down the notes primarily from the C Scale:
Doesn’t that sound great? As the above example demonstrates, you can use Heaven Chords to harmonize any melody note into a Major 9th chord.
Now that you can play Heaven Chords, what’s next? I recommend that you practice this chords over other Contemporary Chord Progressions. For example, you can apply these chords to the progressions in our Contemporary Progression and Improv Courses (Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced).
You can use these chords over the Love Progression, which you can learn in our Love Progression Course.
You can also use these progressions over the One Chord Wonder progressions, which you can learn in the One Chord Wonder Course.
Finally, to see how I use these chords in an arrangement, checkout my performance of And So it Goes by Billy Joel.
That’s it for this week’s piano lesson. See you in the next Quick Tip!
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