What Is the Difference Between Music Notes and Chords?

Oct 28, 2022

Reigniting your passion for piano is a full-scale effort. You need to get comfortable on the piano bench, remember how to read sheet music and get your fingers nimble to the touch of the keys once again.

Depending on how long it’s been, jumping back into your journey to mastering piano may also include a review of the basics, including the mechanics of music. Luckily, our online piano learning app, Clefer, provides a full glossary of terms as well as lessons geared to re-learning chords and rhythm reading with notes. So let’s use that info and take a deeper look at what is the difference between music notes and chords!

What is a music note?

A music note is “a music symbol that represents the pitch and duration of a sound.” A note is the sound made when you press any of the keys found on your piano keyboard. While 88 is the total number of keys found on a full-sized piano (52 white keys, 36 black keys), other keyboard layouts may have a different amount. Piano notes follow the alphabet and are as follows: A, B, C, D, E, F and G (or do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si for solfège notes).

As each note signals the pitch of the sound, it also describes how low or how high the pitch should be. For example, a low note will sound deeper than a high note.  You will also notice that music notes are given specific symbols to indicate how many beats they are played for, which includes: a whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note and sixteenth note. Music notes can also be played as sharp or flat.

It is important to understand what a music note is and how it appears on sheet music since it guides you to play in the right key. A series of individual notes can become what is commonly referred to as the ‘melody’ of a song. For piano music, the melody is often played with the right hand while the harmony is played with the left hand.

What is a chord?

A musical chord is when three or more notes are played together (called a block or solid chord) or individually (called a broken chord). Each chord will have a note as its root, and this is what the chord is named after. For piano music, a chord can be played with the right hand to add fullness to a single melody note. A chord can also be played with the left hand to establish the harmonic structure.

The most common chord in piano typically consists of three notes (called a triad), but more advanced chords will include more. Musical chords are important because when you play a single note on its own, it won’t have much depth or dynamics to it, but playing multiple notes together in a chord inserts a certain mood that brings so many to love the sound of piano music.

And that’s the difference between notes and chords. Individual notes can be a single-layered melody or bass, or they can also be the building blocks of chords. Chords bring notes together in combination to create fuller and richer-sounding music! 

Let Clefer guide your knowledge and build your skills as you reawaken your love of piano!

As one of the best apps to learn piano online, Clefer takes a holistic approach to help you learn piano online. From providing effective, research-based teaching methods with lessons focused on developing core skills to giving details on hand positioning and a full glossary of terms, Clefer ensures you have a strong foundation to continue building your skills.

Download Clefer for free today and see how learning piano online is helping musicians just like you fall in love with piano again!

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