An Introduction to the F Sharp Major Chord

Have you ever jammed out to Kanye West’s “Stronger?” What about “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder or “All Star” by Smashmouth?

Congratulations, you have great taste in songs in the key of F sharp major [1]!

One of the many fun things you can do with F sharp major is creating chords.

Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the F sharp major chord, from what it is to how to create the chord and a few fun things you can do with it.

What is the F Sharp Major Chord?

Before we dive into the fun stuff, though, we first need to talk about what the F sharp major chord actually is.

In the simplest terms, the F sharp major chord is a chord derived from the F sharp major scale.

If you’re new to the concept of piano chords, a chord is a group of three or four notes played simultaneously. There are also five, six, or even seven-note chords, but these are less common and notes are often skipped.

Chords are derived from the notes of the scale they’re named for, which is why knowing the F sharp major scale is helpful in learning the F sharp major chord.

The F Sharp Major Scale, Chords, and Notes

Major and minor scales like F sharp major are the foundation for most chords [2].

How does that work, you ask?

It’s actually quite simple: chords are constructed using the notes of the scale, and can only contain the notes of the scale for which they are named.

So, if we know the notes of the F sharp major scale, figuring out the notes of the chord is pretty easy. The notes of the scale are:

  1. Tonic: F#
  2. Major 2nd: G#
  3. Major 3rd: A#
  4. Perfect 4th: B
  5. Perfect 5th: C#
  6. Major 6th: D#
  7. Major 7th: E#
  8. Perfect 8th: F#

Each of these notes acts as a root note for the chord, or the fundamental note upon which the intervals of the chord are built [3].

Triad and Four-Note Chords

Chords in any major key follow a specific pattern of progression: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.

If you have no idea what that means, it refers to the four types of piano chords [4]:

  1. Major
  2. Minor
  3. Augmented
  4. Diminished

So, in the key of F sharp, your chords are as follows:

  • I: F# major, F# major 7th
  • ii: G# minor, G# minor 7th
  • iii: A# minor, A# minor 7th
  • IV: B major, B major 7th
  • V: C# major, C# dominant 7th
  • vi: D# minor, D# minor 7th
  • vii: E# diminished, E# minor 7th flat five

In this notation, roman numerals are capitalized for major chords and lowercase for minor and diminished. The # represents a sharp.

As we noted earlier, most chords you’ll commonly encounter are either triad chords or four-note chords, which are both listed above.

So, the notes of your F sharp major triad chords are:

  • I (F# major): F#, A#, C#
  • ii (G# minor): G#, B, D#
  • iii (A# minor): A#, C#, E#
  • IV (B major): B, D#, F#
  • V (C# major): C#, E#, G#
  • vi (D# minor): D#, F#, A#
  • vii (E# diminished): E#, G#, B

And the notes of your F sharp major four-note chords are:

  • I (F# major 7th): F#, A#, C#, E#
  • ii (G# minor 7th): G#, B, D#, F#
  • iii (A# minor 7th): A#, C#, E#, G#
  • IV (B major 7th): B, D#, F#, A#
  • V (C# dominant 7th): C#, E#, G#, B
  • vi (D# minor 7th): D#, F#, A#, C#
  • vii (E# minor flat five): E#, G#, B, D#

If you look back at the notes of the scale, you’ll notice that the chords only contain the notes of the scale, which makes them much easier to memorize.

Fingerings

So, how do you play one of the F sharp major chords?

First, hold your hands out in front of you. Your fingers are numbered, with the thumbs as one, middle fingers as three, and the pinky fingers as five.

Let’s say you wanted to play the first major triad chord (F#, A#, C#) with your right hand. Lay your hand in a pattern of 1-3-5, with your thumb on F#, your middle finger on A# and your pinky finger on C#, and play all three notes simultaneously.

Congratulations, you just played the chord!

To do it with your left hand, the pattern is flipped as 5-3-1, with your pinky on F#, your middle finger on A#, and your thumb on C#.

Chord Progressions

You know the basics of the chords, which means we now have space to talk about fun things you can do with F sharp major.

The good news for you is that the chords are made up of notes which always sound good when played together, making them a handy tool when you’re toying with music.

One of the fun things you can do with chords is chord progressions, which are a series of chords put together in a pattern to create a certain sound [5]. You can put them in any order you like, as the notes will still sound good together, they’ll just create a different type of sound.

Here are a few common chord progressions for F sharp major, noted using Roman numerals:

  • I – IV – V (F# – B – C#)
  • I – vi – IV – V (F# – D#m – B – C#)
  • ii – V – I (G#m7 – C#7 – F#)

So, if you wanted to play the first chord progression (I – IV – V) the notes would be:

  • F#, A#, C#
  • B, D#, F#
  • C#, E#, G#

Play the chords by playing notes simultaneously before moving on to the next chord.

Inversions

One last fun thing you can do with chords are chord inversions, which basically means taking the notes of a chord and shifting the order [6].

Let’s take the first triad chord of F sharp major (F#, A#, C#).

Since there are three notes in the chord, there are two inversions:

  1. A#, C#, F#
  2. C#, F#, A#

If it sounds confusing, it’s not. Place your hand in the root position (thumb on F#, middle finger on A#, and pinky finger on C#). To form the first inversion, simply shift your hand to the right or left so your thumb rests on A#, etc.

This will change the tone of the chord and gives you even more room to play with the same set of notes.

Playing All 88 Keys

Think you’re ready to conquer the F sharp major chord?

If you need a little help, no worries. There’s a great big world out there in those 88 little keys, and we’re here to help you figure it out.

Check out our site for more posts like this one to help you learn the ins and outs of this amazing instrument, whatever your learning goals may be.

Stephanie Su
 

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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