The Ab Chord (also known as the Ab Major Chord) is made up of three notes – Ab, C and Eb.
You can play an Ab chord on piano in three different ways:
- Root Position – This is where the Ab note is the lowest note of the chord
- First Inversion – This is where the Ab note is the highest note of the chord
- Second Inversion – This is where the Ab note is the middle note of the chord
I’ll quickly explain this in some more detail.
Then we’ll take a look at some famous songs which use Ab chords. These work very well as practise material because they sound great, but have been arranged in a simple way – block chords in the left hand and melody in the right. This means you can focus on learning the chords and chord changes…
But first, let’s take a look at the theory.
Ab Chord Piano – Root Position
Whenever you play an Ab chord on piano, and Ab is the lowest note, that’s known as root position. It looks like this:
There are six places on a standard piano where you can play an Ab chord in root position. If you have a piano close by, try playing each one.
Below you’ll see what all six look like on sheet music. Click the play button to hear what they sound like too.
Ab Chord Piano – First Inversion
Whenever you play an Ab chord on piano, and Ab is the highest note, that’s known as the first inversion. It looks like this:
And here it is played in all places on a standard piano. You’ll notice that there are seven of these.
Ab Chord Piano – Second Inversion
Whenever you play an Ab chord on piano, and Ab is the note in the middle, that’s known as the second inversion. It looks like this:
And here is the second inversion played in all places on a standard piano. There are seven of these too.
Famous “Ab Chord” Songs
Okay, time for some fun!
Let’s take a look at some Ab chords used in actual songs. Famous songs. I hope you’ve heard these before. If not, a simple search on Youtube will get you up to speed…
Each snippet below has a fairly simple arrangement – Block chords in the left hand and the melody in the right hand. This lets you focus on learning the Ab chord and its inversions, while still playing something that sounds pretty good.
First of all, try playing each example as written. But once you’re comfortable with that, feel free to try each of the other Ab chord inversions (covered above).
Then try the chords in different areas 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. That’s a tough exercise, but well worth the effort.
The first song we’ll look at is All Of Me by John Legend. The arrangement below uses the Ab chord in root position only, so it’s a great piece to start with.
Ab Chord Piano Progression 1 – All Of Me
The next song snippet is from Closer by The Chainsmokers. This arrangement uses the Ab chord in first inversion.
Ab Chord Piano Progression 2 – Closer
The final song we’ll take a look at is Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler. This song uses the Ab chord in second inversion.
Don’t forget: Once you get the hang of these examples, have some fun with them. Practice the chords in different positions and different inversions. And listen out for which ones you like best.
Ab Chord Piano Progression 3 – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
That’s about all for this post. I really hope you enjoyed it and learnt something new about Ab chords.