Open chords or open position chords are simply the rearranging of the notes or tones of traditional or “closed” chords. This rearranging or “opening” of chords gives them a rich fuller flavor or sound
If we take for example a traditional C major 7th chord and make it an open C major 7th we could do so by playing the root and fifth tones or notes (C and G) with the left hand and playing the third and seventh tones or notes (E and B) with the right hand. The graphic below shows how this open position chord would look on the piano keyboard.
Similarly, we could play the root and fifth tones or notes (C and G) with the left hand and play the seventh and third (B and E) tones or notes with the right hand. This is how C major 7th looks opened up in this way.
Chord inversions are already rearranged chords. However, they can also be opened up by using the left hand to play the first and third tones or notes of the inverted chord and playing the second and fourth tones or notes with the right hand.
Again, using the C major 7th chord as our example, first inversion would be the tones or notes E,G, B, and C (root). The left hand then would play the notes E and B while the right hand would play the notes G and C as shown in our piano keyboard graphic below.
Do you hear how opening up these chords gives a fuller richer tone to your playing? Try this technique on some of the other traditional or closed chords you’ve learned in our Piano chords section. You can now return from open chords for piano to Free Online Piano Lessons.