Your Guide to the E Flat Major Chord
Traditionally, musical keys have had specific musical connotations. Over the years, many composers wrote music in E-flat major to convey feelings of love and devotion . Other composers, such as Beethoven, wrote music in this key to lend a heroic and bold feeling to their music.
To perform music in this key, you need to start at the beginning. Learning the E-flat major scale and the chords built from it are the first steps!
Are you learning the E-flat major chord now? If so, could you use a little extra help?
No worries! We’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find the complete guide to the chords in E-flat major. Read on for more information!
Listening to Music in the Key of E-flat Major
As mentioned above, many Classical composers wrote music in E-flat major. Beethoven’s well-known Emperor Piano Concerto, as well as his Eroica Symphony, were both written in E-flat major .
In terms of contemporary music, songwriters still employ this key. The song Demons by Imagine Dragons as well as Adele’s Rolling in the Deep are both in E-flat major.
The more you listen to music in this key, the more you’ll get a feel for its sound. That aural ability will help you learn your scales, chords, and arpeggios faster!
Let’s get started, then, building E-flat chords together!
E-Flat Major Chords and the E-Flat Major Scale
The pitches used in the E-flat major chords come from the notes in the E-flat major scale. They are:
The numbers below the scale are called scale degrees. Each pitch in the scale has an assigned scale degree number. The first scale degree is E-flat, the second is F, and so on.
Notice also there are three flats on this scale: E-flat, A-flat, and B-flat. When playing music in the key of E-flat major, there will always be three flats in the key signature.
In addition, E-flat is both the lowest and highest pitch on this scale. The interval, or space, between two pitches with the same name, is called an octave.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to one octave of the scale. Although, of course, you can play as many octaves as your keyboard allows.
Chords can be built on any scale degree. Each will have a different aural quality. Let’s go over how to build them in the next sections.
Chords in Root Position
The simplest kind of chord is called a triad. It has only three pitches. We can build triads on each scale degree of the E-flat major scale. Not only the bass notes but also the other pitches in these triads come from the notes of this scale:
E-flat major, E-flat, G, B-flat
F minor, F, A-flat, C
G minor, G-B-flat-D
A-flat major, A-flat, C-E-flat
B-flat major, B-flat, D, F
C minor, C, E-flat, G
D diminished, D-F-A-flat
E-flat major, E-flat, G, B-flat
The triads above are either major, minor, or diminished. In fact, the pattern of chords for any major scale is the same as E-flat’s: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.
After a little practice, you’ll be able to hear the differences between these kinds of chords. You’ll also learn to recognize how they relate to the tonic chord, E-flat major.
Music usually begins and ends on the tonic. The other chords move away from or return to it. The chords that have the strongest pull back to the tonic are the ones built on the 5th and 7th scale degrees. They are called the dominant and the subtonic, respectively.
Chords With Four Notes
Composers and songwriters don’t limit themselves to triads. Far from it, most chords in music contain more than three notes. Here are the four-note chords in the key of E-flat major:
E-flat major seventh, E-flat-G-B-flat-D
F minor seventh, F-A-flat-D-E-flat
G minor seventh, G-B-flat-D-F
A-flat major seventh, A-flat-C-E-flat-G
B-flat dominant seventh, B-flat-D-F-A-flat
C minor seventh, C-E-flat-G-B-flat
D minor seventh flat five, D-F-A-flat-C
E-flat major seventh, E-flat-G-B-flat-D
Again, a chord built on E-flat is the tonic chord. Notice the chord above built on the 5th scale degree, B-flat, is referred to as a dominant seventh. Any chord, including triads and seventh chords, with B-flat as its base, is called the dominant of the key.
Remember, the dominant has a very strong pull towards the tonic and is often used right before that chord in harmonic progressions. The more you practice your chords in E-flat major, the more you’ll hear this movement.
The chords above may look overwhelming. Remember, though, all their pitches come right from the E-flat major scale. Once you have that scale mastered, the chords will be easy to learn too!
In the next section, we’ll go over how to invert these chords. Let’s go!
Inverting E-flat Major Chords
Triads and four-note chords aren’t always used in root position. Triads are found in three different positions:
- Root Position
- First Inversion
- Second Inversion
To see how this works, let’s invert the tonic chord, E-flat major.
Inversions of triads are easy to learn once you understand their pattern. You’re just flipping the notes of the chord around so that each inversion has a new bass note.
In root position, E-flat major looks like this:
If we flip the pitches around again, we end up back in root position:
Four-Note Chord Inversions
Because they contain more pitches, four-note chords can be inverted three times. As an example, let’s use the dominant seventh chord, with the root note of B-flat.
Root position looks like this:
Once more, if we flip the third inversion around again, we end up back in root position:
Once more, all the pitches in chords and their inversions come from the E-flat major scale. That fact should make learning the inversions less intimidating!
Fingerings for the E-flat Major Chords
Now, let’s go over some fingerings for these chords. Sometimes, the fingerings are variable depending on the context in which the chords occur.
In general, though, there are standard fingerings for root position chords. As an example, let’s take the tonic triad in E-flat major. In the right hand, use your thumb for E-flat, your middle finger for G, and your pinky for B-flat.
Fingerings in the left hand are the opposite: play E-flat with your pinky, G with your middle finger, and B-flat with your thumb.
That’s 1-3-5 in the right hand, and 5-3-1 in the left hand.
For inversions, you just have to shift your hand a bit. For example, the same chord in the first inversion could be played as follows:
In the right hand, play G with your thumb, B-flat with your second finger, and E-flat with your pinky. Again, the left hand is just the opposite: use your pinky for G, your fourth finger for B-flat, and your thumb for E-flat.
For the second inversion, just shift your hand again. Practice playing inversions both as chords and arpeggios, and it won’t be long before you’ve mastered them all.
Wrapping Up the E-flat Major Chord
After working on the E-flat major chord, you’ll be ready to take on Rollin’ in the Deep!
If you need more tips and help, though, don’t worry! Check out our blog for more keyboard guides on both performance and theory. We can also help you find the right keyboard for you!