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A Chord Piano

The A chord is made up of three notes – A, C# and E.

You can play the A chord on piano in three different ways:

  • Root Position – This is where the A note is the lowest note of the chord
  • First Inversion – This is where the C# note is the lowest note of the chord
  • Second Inversion – This is where the E note is the lowest note of the chord

I’ll quickly explain that in a little more detail.

Then we’ll take a look at some famous songs which use A chords. These are great practice material… because they’re fairly simple and actually sound pretty good.

But first… the boring stuff.

Actually that’s not true, it’s just interestingly challenged.

But very important nonetheless.

A Chord Piano – Root Position

Whenever you play an A chord on piano, and A is the lowest note, that’s known as root position. It looks like this:

Piano keyboard with an A chord highlighted in root position
A Chord Piano – Root Position

There are seven places on a standard piano where you can play an A chord in root position. It’s worth playing each one so that you start to become familiar with them.

Below you’ll see what all seven look like on sheet music. Click the play button to hear what they sound like too.

Sheet music showing all seven A chords in root position from low to high

Probably not the best chord progression you’ve ever heard. But don’t worry… the good stuff is coming… just a little further below (right after we cover the basics).

A Chord Piano – First Inversion

Whenever you play an A chord on piano, and C# is the lowest note, that’s known as the first inversion. Here’s what it looks like:

Piano keyboard with an A chord highlighted in first inversion
A Chord Piano – First Inversion

And here is the first inversion played in all positions on a standard piano:

Sheet music showing all seven A chords in first inversion from low to high

A Chord Piano – Second Inversion

Whenever you play an A chord on piano, and E is the lowest note, that’s known as the second inversion. Here’s what the second inversion looks like:

Piano keyboard with an A chord highlighted in second inversion
A Chord Piano – Second Inversion

And here is the second inversion played in all positions on a standard piano:

Sheet music showing all six A chords in second inversion from low to high

Famous “A Chord” Songs

Okay, time for some fun. Where you get to hear some A chords in actual song snippets. I hope you love each song just as much as I do…

Each one is arranged fairly simply, so that you can focus on learning the chords and chord changes.

First, have a go playing them as written. But once you get comfortable with that, feel free to try each of the different A chord inversions (covered above).

And try them in different positions on the piano.

And if you really want to test yourself:

Try playing the melody lower on the piano, with your left hand. And the chords higher on the piano with your right hand.

The first song we’ll look at is Someone Like You by Adele. This song uses A chords in both root position and first inversion.

A Chord Piano Example 1 – Someone Like You

A snippet of sheet music from the song Someone Like You by Adele

The next song is Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys. This song uses the first inversion of the A chord.

A Chord Piano Example 2 – Girl On Fire

A snippet of sheet music from the song Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys

Finally let’s take a look at Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus. This arrangement uses the second inversion of the A chord.

Once you get the hang of these progressions, don’t forget to practice playing the chords in different positions and different inversions.

A Chord Piano Example 3 – Achy Breaky Heart

A snippet of sheet music from the song Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus

That’s all for this post. I really hope you enjoyed it and learnt something new about A chords.