Playing the E Major Chord on Piano

Trying to play a song with an E major chord? Have a look at this guide to playing it in all its forms.

When you look down at the keys, you might feel flustered by all the possibilities. You’re not alone — chords can be tricky for beginners. This short article reveals all the tricks from music theory to help you play the E major chord. 

Understanding chords and inversions.

A chord is when you play a combination of two or more notes together. The most basic chord is a triad which has three notes. 

To play a major chord, you take the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale and play them together. You build them from two intervals, a major third, and a minor third.

For more on intervals, check out Ear Training for Beginners

You can play triads in three different positions, known as inversions. 

Root position: 1, 3, 5.

First inversion: 3, 5, 1.

Second inversion: 5, 1, 3. 

Read more about chords and inversions in our blog post for Piano Chords for Beginners

Making the E major chord. 

The major scale is a good place to start figuring out any chord. Let’s start from the E major scale.

You can play an E major chord by taking the first, third, and fifth degrees of the scale. 

First inversion of E major.

The 1st inversion is when you play the chord in this order: 3, 5, and 1.

Second inversion of E major.

The 2nd inversion is when you play the chord like this: 5, 1, and 3.

Advanced tip: Add the ninth.

Want to add flavor to your chord? Add a nine! The ninth is just the second degree of the scale. We call it nine and not two because you play it one octave higher than the chord’s root note. Usually, when you play the nine, you also add the seven.

A seventh of E is D#, or D if it’s flat. A ninth of E is F#. Check out the table below to learn how to use the ninth with E major and minor chords. If you’re sitting at the piano, make sure the E is the lowest note in the chord.

Popular songs with the E minor chord:

Are you keen to learn some popular songs which use the E major chord? Try these:

  • The Cave – Mumford and Sons
  • Vultures – John Mayer
  • Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
  • Echoes – Pink Floyd
  • Crash into Me – Dave Matthews Band

Make music!

Practice playing E major with the help of this article. You can also download the Simply Piano app for interactive and step-by-step assistance playing E major and other chords.