In some music sheets, I see two clefs for both hands, but also chord symbols on top, example:

enter image description here

What is the reason for it? Are this chords just for reference? Is it enough to just play notes as is on the clefs, or should I use the chords for additional arrangement? I don't think it's for a second instrument, it's supposed to be arrnaged ofr piano.


3 Answers 3


The chords are for reference, for the sake of other instruments or improvisations. As a piano player, playing the score is already meeting your quota of notes. If you want to diverge, the chord symbols may help with that.

  • 2
    Also, some pianists might want to use the chord names to play a simplified version of the part. Jan 27, 2018 at 12:44

The chord symbols are there mainly for guitarists. They are the names of the chords in each bar, and most guitarists are used to reading the chord symbols when playing along with the piano part.

They are also an opportunity for the piano player to put his own interpretation to the harmonies that the symbols show. Sometimes, I may read exactly what the dots show, others, I'll go by the chord symbols and play different inversions (or extensions) of those chords.


If it's an instructional piece, intended to be played meticulously by a pianist, I don't really know why the chords are there either!

But the written LH part is pretty generic. Plenty of scope to 'do your own thing'. And maybe a guitar or ukelele might strum along. Maybe it might be played on a 'home keyboard' where you play the melody with the right hand and hold down a chord shape in the left, letting an 'auto-accompaniment' feature do its stuff. The chord symbols enable all of this, and more.

  • 4
    If it's an instructional piece, I still see instructional value in showing the chords so the student knows he's not just playing random notes.
    – JiK
    Jan 27, 2018 at 16:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.