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How to Play: F# Piano Chord & Inversions (F#, F#/A#, F#/C#)

F# major piano chord

One of my favorite sharp keys to play in is the key of F# major! The F# piano chord is a beautiful, bright piano chord that is fun to play. While it does have a lot of sharps, it actually makes it a bit easier. I’ll explain why soon. For now let’s get into the details of F# major!

What is the F# chord on piano?

When you see the term “F#” this is an abbreviation for F Sharp. A “#” is a sharp sign in music theory. (It was a sharp before it was a hashtag, haha!)

F# is a fun major chord to play because it is very unique in that it uses 3 black notes. See the keyboard diagram for more info about this.

For now, what you need to know is that the F-sharp chord is basically a chord in the family of major chords, made up of 3 notes in what’s called a triad. It is formed the same as any other major chord – by building a major third and then a minor third on top of that.

Is F# the same as Gb?

Now, before going further, we need to talk about an important topic. Because F# is a black note, it has two names.

The F# major and Gb major chords are the same physical chord but with different spellings. The musical term for this is that they are enharmonic to each other.

(Want to learn more about flats and sharps? See this video).

Basically, the spelling of these two chords are different.

Here are the two spellings:

F# – A# – C#

OR

Gb – Bb – Db

Interestingly, pianists are often split on whether they prefer the F# or the Gb spelling of the chord. Neither of them is necessarily harder than the other. The F# is spelled with 3 sharps, whereas the Gb is spelled with 3 flats.

Personally, I like thinking of this chord better as F#. But it just depends on your preference.

Getting to the point, it is still good to know both of the spellings if you’re going to try to read music in both keys!

How Do You Play The F-Sharp Chord On Piano?

Now let’s get into the details of the F# chord!

You will play an F# major chord simply by pressing down the 3 notes in the triad simultaneously. See below for a diagram on which notes are included.

Notes In An F# Chord

In its regular form (root position) the F# chord includes 3 notes: F#, A#, and C#. The F# is known as the root of the chord, the A# is the major third, and the C# the perfect fifth.

Check out F# major on the keyboard below!

F# piano chord keyboard diagram

What Key Is F Sharp On Piano?

When learning this chord, you’re going to want to start by finding what’s called the root of the chord – the note on the bottom. In this case, that note is F-sharp, which is a black key.

F#, as the name suggests, can be found by going directly above any F. This makes it fairly easy to find. Just go to the first black key to the right of a F (in musical terms, this is called going one half-step up!)

Another way to think of it is that F# is on the far left of any 2-black-key group.

Hopefully one of these methods will stick in your memory so you can always find F# easily!

F# Chord Piano Finger Position

Another important aspect of learning chords is fingering. Don’t ignore this step now, because fingering plays a big role in learning the piano. You will save yourself pain later if you do fingering now.

In fact, if all my students would focus on fingering, they could save themselves so much wasted practice!

The nice thing is that the fingerings for major chords are always the same. Yes, even for the sharp chords! Even though this chord feels different because of the sharps, you will still use the same exact fingering.

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

Don’t forget that finger 1 is your thumb, finger 3 your middle finger, and finger 5 your pinky.

More Piano Chords To Learn

F# Piano Chord Inversions

Now that you’ve learned F# in its most basic form, it is time to talk about inversions! Inversions are another one of those things that can be boring to practice, but are SO HELPFUL. Trust me, this is not a step you want to skip.

An inversion is basically just the SAME notes but mixed up into different orders. F# inversions will feel a little different than white-key chords since it has three black keys. However, the more you practice putting your hand in the form, the more it will start to feel normal.

F#/A# – First Inversion Chord

F# first inversion is also known as “F#/A#” or “F sharp over A sharp” in simpler terms.

As you can see below, you’ll flip the F# from the bottom onto the top for first inversion.

F#/A# piano chord inversion

Right Hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

F#/C# – Second Inversion Chord

F# second inversion is known as F#/C# for the same reason as the last chord—the C# will now be on the bottom!

To play this on the piano, start with your hand on first inversion. Then, take the A# on the bottom and put it on the top.

Now, C# will be on the bottom, which is exactly what we want! See below:

F#/C# piano chord

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5

As one final step, I highly recommend you try switching back and forth between ALL the different inversions when you practice! I normally have my students start at the root chord, go up the inversions, and then come back down to the root. This will help you get used to the way the different chords feel with the sharps.

F# Major Inversions Sheet Music

If you prefer to follow sheet music, here are the F# inversions written out on the staff. This is written to be played in both hands at the same time, one octave apart.

I know it might look a little scary to play up so high on bass clef. If that’s the case for you, just figure out the right hand and then copy it an octave lower in the left hand. Just a little tip 😉

F# piano inversions sheet music

What chords are in the key of F# major?

You don’t have to stop at just the F# major chord…a chord can be built off of every single note of the F# scale!

Here’s a quick list you can refer to:

I: F#
ii: G#m
iii: A#m
IV: B
V: C#
vi: D#m
vii: E# diminished

F# major is a musical key with 6 sharps, so yes, a lot of the chords in that list are sharp chords!

It might seem scary now, but just take it one chord at a time. As you learn them, check out my tips for memorizing piano chords.

What Chords Go Well With F-Sharp?

Any of the chords listed above will go well with the F# chord, because they are all in the same key signature. However, they will sound better if you play them in certain orders. This is called a chord progression.

Common Chord Progressions In The Key Of F#

Playing chord progressions in the key of F# requires you to be focused on all the 6 sharps that are included. But just take it slowly. Here are a few I love to do:

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

Conclusion

The F# piano chord is a fun one to learn. It has a lot of sharps, but thankfully no double sharps in the actual chord! I love this chord because it is made up of 3 black notes. You won’t play any white notes when doing F# chord inversions! So now it’s your turn—sit down at your piano and practice! Start with the simple chord, then move onto inversions, chord progressions, and more.