My piano sheet music has treble clef notes and bass clef notes, but it also appears to have chords written above as well!! I am a beginner and have no clue what to do. Help!

  • 2
    You should find that the chords specified above the staff are representative of what is specified in the piano notation. It's possible that this wouldn't always appear to be the case, such as notes being omitted from the chord within your part but ultimately you can disregard those if you are looking to play the part exactly, or use those chord symbols to inform you of which notes would most appropriately be added to your part to fill out more of the texture. May 4, 2017 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


Most likely they're there for any guitarist who wants to join in. Guitarists often only need the names of the chords in each bar to be able to play along with the song, so it's useful that the chords are written either above or below the appropriate bars. Sometimes the publishers are even more helpful and provide chord windows - the little diagrams of which strings get pressed down where for each chord. As the piano player, you can ignore them, or if you prefer, use them to extend the notes you've been given , or play the same chords with different inversions.


Play the notes, ignore the chords. They may be interesting for improvisation, and for playing electronic keyboard/arranger or accordion, or using a guitar for additional accompaniment (and a bass guitar for the bass line?).

But as a piano player, the notes are usually all what you have to do.


DO NOT IGNORE THE CHORDS. Pay attention to them. If you ever want to go beyond just playing what other people write to writing your own music, paying attention to which chords go where is the absolute first step of understanding music and harmony. Play what is written down, however, set aside 10 minutes of practice time to analyze the chords, where they are in the scale, where they go, what scale degrees lead to other scale degrees. I understand you're a beginner and if what I'm saying is frightening don't get too overwhelmed. Find the scale of the piece, practice it, find all the chords in the scale, practice those. At first this process may take a little while, but after a couple of time it should only take 5-10 minutes. Doing this will help you understand song structure, it will help you learn music faster, and once you know your scales and chords well enough, you won't need sheets and be able to play whatever you're feeling.

P.S. Any note in the chord written down would sound ok to play. I would recommend going out of your way to play some of those notes to explore the hidden sounds of the piece.

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