Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is a Chord?

Learn what is a chord and what's behind it

In this video, Robert talks about basic chords and how they are structured. This is interesting not only for music beginners, but also for music teachers who need to explain chords to their students.

Released on February 4, 2015

Post a Comment   |   Video problems? Contact Us!
DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, I'm Robert Estrin. Welcome to and with a great question. What is a chord?

Well, if you've been watching my videos, you know I have some advanced chord videos on what is a diminished seventh chord. I also have what is a major scale. These really enter into what is a chord.

I'm going to break it down for you in the simplest possible elements so you understand exactly what a chord is. It's kind of like one of those questions. You think oh, a chord, I know what that is, but if you try to put it into words you might fumble a little bit. I'm going to show you exactly what a chord is.

Well, a scale, of course, is built upon whole steps and half steps. A chord is built on the interval of a third. What is a third? A third is essentially every other note of the scale. If you were to play a C major scale and leave out every other note, voila', you have a chord. You could build all your chords that way just by playing every other note of a scale.

Now, there are two types of thirds that are used in chords. There are major thirds which are a total of four half steps like from the C to the E, one, two, three, four, and minor thirds, which are three half steps from the E to the G, one, two, three. Different combinations of major thirds and minor thirds are the fundamental of tonal music.

Those are the essential chords. There are expanded chords we can get into in another video. This is just a primer, and it will be a multi-part series that will continue at a future date.

You can go and take any key and play every other note starting on any note of the scale. So, you don't have to start on the first note of the scale. You could start on the second note of the scale, for example in C major, start on D, play D, F, A, and then you have another chord. In this case, it's a minor chord, because you have the minor third on the bottom. But, I'm getting ahead of myself here. We'll cover this next time.

Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at and
Post a comment, question or special request:
You may: Login  or  
Otherwise, fill the form below to post your comment:
Add your name below:

Add your email below: (to receive replies, will not be displayed or shared)

For verification purposes, please enter the word MUSIC in the field below

Comments, Questions, Requests:

Robert - host, on February 21, 2015 @6:11 pm PST
Ossia parts are alternative versions of specific sections of a piece. Sometimes they are simplified parts. Other times they are embellishments of the score. You have the option to play the original part or the ossia.
sean jacobs on February 4, 2015 @5:11 pm PST
very good I am impress, good job Robert.
nads on February 4, 2015 @8:31 am PST
Hello.. Hope you are doing well..
I have a question for you Mr. Robert, What is an ossia, on piano sheet music, and how do you play it?
Thanks and regards
Questions? Problems? Contact Us.