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Chords in the Key of A

Pianote  /  Chords  /  UPDATED Mar 9, 2023

Click on the chord symbol for a diagram and explanation of each chord type:

A | Am | Asus2 | Asus4 | Amaj7 | Am7 | A7 | Adim7 | Am7♭5


A MAJOR TRIAD

Chord Symbol: A or Amaj

The A major triad consists of a root (A), third (C♯), and fifth (E). The distance between the root and the third is a major third interval (or four half-steps), and the distance between the third and the fifth is a minor third interval (or three half-steps). Major triads have a “happy” sound.

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A major triad in root position with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A major triad in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A major triad in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

A MINOR TRIAD

Chord Symbol: Am

The A minor triad consists of a root (A), third (C), and fifth (E). The distance between the root and the third is a minor third interval (or three half-steps), and the distance between the third and the fifth is a major third interval (or four half-steps). Minor triads have a “sad” sound.

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A minor triad in root position with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor triad in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor triad in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

A SUSPENDED 2

Chord Symbol: Asus2

In the Asus2 chord, the third of the A major or minor chord (C♯ or C) is replaced (“suspended”) with a major 2nd (B).

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A sus 2 triad in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A SUSPENDED 4

Chord Symbol: Asus4

In the Asus4 chord, the third of the A major or minor chord (C♯ or C) is replaced (“suspended”) with a perfect 4th (D).

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A sus 4 triad in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A MAJOR 7

Chord Symbol: Amaj7

A major 7 chord is a major triad with an added seventh. The distance between the root and the seventh is a major 7th interval.

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A major 7 chord in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A major 7 chord in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A major 7 chord in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

3rd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A major 7 chord in 3rd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A MINOR 7

Chord Symbol: Am7

A minor 7 chord is a minor triad with an added seventh. The distance between the root and the seventh is a minor 7th interval.

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

3rd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 in 3rd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A DOMINANT 7TH

Chord Symbol: A7

A dominant 7th chord is a major triad with an added seventh, where the distance between the root and the seventh is a minor 7th interval.

You can also think of dominant 7th chords as being built on the fifth note of a major scale and following that scale’s key signature. For example, A7 is built on A, the fifth note of D major, and follows D major’s key signature (F♯, C♯).

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A dominant 7th in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A dominant 7th in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A dominant 7th in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

3rd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A dominant 7th in 3rd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A DIMINISHED 7TH

Chord Symbol: Adim7

A diminished 7th chord is a four-note-chord where each note is a minor third apart. You can think of diminished 7th chords as a “stack of minor thirds.”

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A diminished 7th chord with keys highlighted in red and labelled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A diminished 7th in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A diminished 7th in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

3rd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A diminished 7th in 3rd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

A HALF-DIMINISHED 7TH

Chord Symbol: Am7♭5

The half-diminished chord is also called the “minor seven flat five” chord. It is a minor 7th chord where the fifth is lowered by a half-step.

Root Position

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 flat 5 chord in root position with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

1st Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 flat 5 chord in 1st inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

2nd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 flat 5 chord in 2nd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

3rd Inversion

Keyboard diagram of an A minor 7 flat 5 chord in 3rd inversion with keys highlighted in red and labeled.

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