The C major triad, more commonly called the C major chord or simply the C chord for short, is typically the first chord learned in music theory. Here it is on the treble clef staff:
… and on the piano:
Here is the C major chord on the bass clef staff:
As a major triad, the C chord consists of a major third plus a minor third. The interval from C to E is a major third, while the interval between E and G is a minor third.
Inversions of the C Chord
If the root of the C chord – C – is the bass note (i.e., the bottom note), then the chord is in root position:
If the third of the chord – E – is the bottom note, then the chord is in first inversion:
If the fifth of the chord – G – is the bass note, then the chord is in second inversion. (G is called the fifth of the chord because the interval from the root C to G is a fifth.)
C Major Arpeggios
If the notes of a chord are played one after the other, the chord is said to be arpeggiated. Here are the standard fingerings for arpeggios of the C chord. Make sure you learn these fingerings!
(If you don’t understand the below notation, you should start with my How to Read Sheet Music course.)
C major arpeggio in root position:
C major arpeggio in first inversion:
C major arpeggio in second inversion:
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