A more obsecure chord to learn: the G# major chord! Playing G# on the piano is not too hard, but you do have to get used to the sharps. We’ll be going over all of that in this post!
What is a G-sharp chord?
A G-sharp chord on the piano is a major triad spelled with 3 sharps. It is formed the same as any other major chord – by building a major third and then a minor third on top of that.
When you see the term “G#” this is an abbreviation for G Sharp. A “#” is a sharp sign in music theory.
G# is a very interesting chord, because the center note is a white key, but it is spelled with as a sharp. We’ll talk about that more in a second.
Is G# The Same As Ab?
Now, before going further, we need to talk about an important topic. Because G# is a black note, it has two names.
The G# major and Ab 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:
G# – B# – D#
Ab – C – Db
Most pianists prefer the flat spelling of this chord. It is typically seen as easier because it is a more common spelling. No one likes to refer to “C” as “B#.”
For this reason, if you’re a beginner, you may want to start by learning the A flat chord first.
But, the G# chord can show up in many songs as well, especially if the music is written in a key like F# or even the simpler key of B. So it is still important to learn this chord. If you’re more on the intermediate side of things, keep reading!
How Do You Play The G-Sharp Chord On Piano?
Now let’s get into the details of the G# chord!
You will play an G# 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 a G# Chord
In its regular form (root position) the G# chord includes 3 notes: G#, B#, and D#. The G# is known as the root of the chord, the B# is the major third, and the D# the perfect fifth.
Check out G# major on the keyboard below!
What Key Is G 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 G-sharp, which is a black key.
G#, as the name suggests, can be found by going directly above any G. This makes it fairly easy to find. Just go to the first black key to the right of a G (in musical terms, this is called going one half-step up!)
G# 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 would practice right instead of wrong!
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
- G7 Chord
- Gb Major Chord
- G Major Chord
- Ab Major Chord
- A Major Chord
- Bb Major Chord
- B Major Chord
- C# Major Chord
- Db Major Chord
- D Major Chord
- E Major Chord
- Eb Major Chord
- F Major Chord
- F# Major Chord
G# Piano Chord Inversions
Now that you’ve learned the most basic form of G#, then we need 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 exact notes, but mixed up into different orders. G# inversions will feel very similar to other sharp chord inversions, since they have two black keys and one white key.
G#/B# – First Inversion Chord
G# first inversion is also known as “G#/B#” or “G sharp over B sharp” in simpler terms.
As you can see below, you’ll flip the G# from the bottom onto the top for first inversion.
Right Hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1
G#/D# – Second Inversion Chord
G# second inversion is known as G#/D# for the same reason as the last chord—the D# will now be on the bottom!
To play this on the piano, start with your hand on first inversion. Then, take the B# (aka C) on the bottom and put it on the top.
Now, D# will be on the bottom, which is exactly what we want! See below:
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.
G# Major Inversions Sheet Music
If you prefer to follow sheet music, here are the G# 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 😉
A Note On the Key of G# Major
G# is a very unique key in music. It is technically only a theoretical key, as it contains a double sharp.
The notes in the scale would go, G#, A#, B#, C#, D#, E#, F##.
While you could build a chord off of each of these notes, it is much, much easier to play in the enharmonic-equivalent key, which is Ab (as mentioned earlier).
It is more likely that you will play the G# chord in a different key, like F# major. Most songs just aren’t written in the key of G# because it’s too complex. This is just something to keep in mind when learning this chord.
G# major is a very interesting chord/key, wouldn’t you agree? It is not a chord you see everyday in piano practice. But, it is still good to know about. Good job to you for taking the time to learn about it! So now, go ahead and sit down at the piano and try playing this chord! You got it.