Announcing Kent’s New ‘Piano Chords 108’ Series

I’m excited to announce a new online lesson series, in progress here at Piano With Kent, called Piano Chords 108.

Since my site is blog-like, this course will be published in installments. (That’s also how we did things this summer with “The Blues Piano Crash Course” and “A Study in Blues Piano.”)

Piano Chords 108 (the series introduction  is further below)

Here’s the first few lessons I’ve posted for Piano Chords 108.  As with all full courses on this site, most of this material is premium content (accessible only to supporting members).

Here’s a complete catalog of 108+ chords for checking your understanding:

Companion Piano Chord Reference


Half-Step, Whole-Steps, and Thirds on the Piano

Learn all 12 Major and Major Seventh Chords Together (24 chords)

Learn all 12 Minor and Minor Seventh Chords Together (24 more chords)

Learn all 12 Dominant Seventh Chords Together (12 more chords)


Welcome to Piano Chords 108!

Kent Smith here, your instructor.

This course provides a simple system for memorizing the “108 Essential Piano Chords.”

See the chord symbol, or hear the chord name, and you will know all the notes, with certainty!

Altered and Extended Chords

You’ll also acquire enough knowledge in this class to alter or extend any of those 108 chords. (Jazz students will need this additional skill, for sure.)

In the end, you’ll be able to determine the unique set of notes that define any one of HUNDREDS of chords, on the spot. This impressive accomplishment requires zero rote memorization of any chord. (What?)

Because of the above, my focus on “108” as being the number of chords you will acquire is an understatement. One can see (in the second, more optional part of this course) that the rest of the “standard chord universe” opens right up — as soon as you know how to alter and extend any member of the “Big 108” group.

When it comes to these 108 chords — by far the most common and useful chords in both popular and classical music — you will never again need a chord catalog, chord poster, or web search.

Even though this course has the goal of weaning students off chord catalogs, so to speak, I will definitely include a downloadable picture-based catalog for these 108 chords. Such a reference will no doubt prove useful for checking your understanding of this system. But ultimately, I don’t want you to need any such piano chord reference…

…Because that’s the whole theme and purpose of Piano Chords 108: Lose the catalog (so to speak)!

Here’s the scoop.

Continue reading “Announcing Kent’s New ‘Piano Chords 108’ Series”

A Simple Way to Create Movement within a Chord

Dear Members,

Here’s a straightforward way to use three-note chords superimposed over a single static chord, to create a sense of movement “within the chord.”


Continue reading “A Simple Way to Create Movement within a Chord”

A Good Way to Learn All Your “Thirteenth” Chords (by Pattern, NOT by Rote)

Todays’ post is about learning “thirteenth chords” on piano. In this video, you will learn a good way to learn and retain all twelve of the standard 13th chords without resorting to rote memorization.  In my experience,  I discovered early on that learning scales and chords by rote — that is, note-by-note, without any understanding of the patterns they all have in common — is the worst way to go.  Learning the underlying patterns that consistently define all scales and chords is absolutely where it’s at!


Learn All Your “Thirteenth” Chords (by Pattern, NOT by Rote)


“Fourth Chords” — Very Useful (Part One)

“Fourth chords” are chords built as a “stack of fourths,” rather than as a “stack of thirds.”An example of a “stack of fourths” would be: D, G, C, and F, where D is the lowest pitch, and the rest make up a series of fourths above that.

The greatest thing about these stacks is that any given stack can be superimposed above multiple roots, to create a variety of voicings for various chord types.

Using the stack mentioned above as an example:

A “Dmin7” chord using the stack D, G, C, and F, results in a nice open-sounding voicing, with an added 11th (the “G” note is the 11th).


D, G, C and F also sounds great over a B-flat root, creating a “Bb69” sound! That is, a B-flat major chord, with an added 6th and 9th. (G is the 6th, and C is the 9th).

And so on…my video here explains this in depth. (Check back soon for Part Two, with more insights on this.)