Let’s look at how to play an E augmented chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any other augmented chord.
What Are Augmented Chords?
Augmented chords are major chords, with the upper-note raised 1/2 step.
So to build an augmented chord, we’ll start by building a major chord. Major chords are built using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching major scale.
To convert the major chord into an augmented chord, we’ll raise the upper-note 1/2 step.
Chord Types Printable
Learn to play 17 types of piano chords using 12 different root notes with this 34-page PDF! Chords are sorted both by their root note (C, D, E, etc.) and type (major, minor, etc.).
How to Play an E Augmented Chord
So to build an E augmented chord, we’ll start by building an E major chord. We can build an E major chord by playing the first, third and fifth notes of an E major scale: E – G♯ – B
Then to convert this chord into an augmented chord, we’ll raise the upper-note B by 1/2 step, to B♯ (the same note as a C).
To play an E augmented chord, we’ll play:
E – G♯ – B♯
We can use this pattern to build any other augmented chord on the piano! Start with a major chord, and then raise the upper note 1/2 step.
How to Label the Notes
You may be wondering why we’d call the B♯ a B♯ instead of a C. The reason is because augmented chords are a type of “1 – 3 – 5” chord, or “triad”. This means these chords are built with intervals of a first, third and fifth (you can learn all about piano intervals here).
When we build augmented chords, we’re building them using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching major scale, but the fifth note has been raised 1/2 step. This is why the note is still labeled a type of B, since B is the fifth note of the E major scale.
The abbreviation for augmented chords can be either the “+” symbol or “aug”. So the chord symbol for an E augmented chord could be written as either Eaug, or E+.
Now you know how to build an E augmented chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build any other augmented chord!
Augmented chords aren’t as common as some of the other chord types, but it’s good to know how to build them for when you need them.