How To Play Ab Piano Chord

The Ab piano chord is a major chord and has the notes Ab, C and Eb. All major chords, including Ab major, are essential to learn and understand. It'll set you up quite well for continuing to play chords on piano. 

We're going to learn more about the A flat major chord here including:

  • Notes of the Ab chord
  • Ab piano chord chart
  • which fingers to use for Ab major
  • video on how to play Ab chord
  • Ab/C piano chord
  • Ab/Eb piano chord
  • inversions for Ab major
  • chord progressions
  • and some theory

Ab Piano Chord Notes

The notes of the Ab major chord are: Ab C Eb.

These notes can be played in any order, it doesn't have to be just Ab, C and Eb in a little group. 

What you do want is Ab as your lowest note in the left hand as it's the root note. Root notes are important. The rest of the notes can be played above that.

This means you can play the Ab chord in your right hand or your left hand. I usually play it in my right hand together with a melody. 

The key is to keep Ab as the bass note and play C and Eb and probably Ab again somewhere above that. 

What If You See AB?

I have seen the Ab chord written as AB - and you may be wondering what it means if you come across that also. 

Well, this is just incorrect - a typo. The "b" is for a flat. The "b" should always be lowercase when indicating a flat. A lowercase b is the closest we can get when typing to a flat. So there is not such thing as "AB", it should always be "Ab".

Ab Piano Note Chart

Here are the notes of the A flat major chord on the treble clef and the piano keys. 

Ab Piano Chord Notes

How To Play Ab Major Chord

This very short video will take you through how to play the Ab chord on the piano keyboard. 

Ab Piano Chord Finger Positions

When chords start on flats or a black key, it can bring up the question of which fingers to use to play them. When you look at the Ab chord below, you can see that it is played on 2 black keys with a white key in the middle. 

When teaching, I often called these chords like Ab, Db, and Eb, "black-white-black" chords. It can help you remember the shape of them. And they all have the same fingering. 

You use the same fingers you would for any other major or minor chord - fingers 1, 3 and 5. Or thumb, middle finger and pinkie. 

Ab Piano Chord Finger Positions

You might notice that you need to play further up into the keyboard for a chord like this and that's fine. 

A great idea for this chord is also learn the inversions (see below) so that you have options as for where to play it in relation to other chords you're playing. You may also find another inversion more comfortable to play. 

Ab Piano Chord Progressions

Chord progressions are a great way to practice the Ab piano chord and just to have some fun! Here are a few great chord progressions to play using Ab. 

Ab Piano Chord Progression 1:

Ab  Eb  Fm  Db

Ab Piano Chord Progression 2:

Eb  Ab  Cm  Bb

Ab Piano Chord Progression 3:

Ab/C  Cm  Fm  Eb  Db  Ab

Ab/C Piano Chord

The Ab/C piano chord is a slash chord. This type of chord indicates what you should play as your bass note in your left hand. In the case of Ab/C, you play C in your left hand as the bass note and rest of the notes for the Ab major chord above that. 

If you are playing the Ab chord in your left hand, you will now need to learn the inversions (see below) in order to play this chord as indicated.

Ab/Eb Piano Chord

When you see Ab/Eb, it indicates that you should play the Eb as your bass note in your left hand. Eb is your lowest note. The rest of the notes for the Ab chord go above this. 

As with Ab/C, if you are used to playing chords in your left hand primarily, you'll need to play an inversion of the Ab chord in order to get that Eb as your lowest note. 

Ab Piano Chord Inversions

Learning the Ab piano chord inversions are great for practice and learning technique but also speed and playing Ab in a more comfortable position. 

If you play chords primarily in your left hand, inversions are essential for you. (I do have a mini course on this inside of the Piano Chords Club if you want more help with this.)

What are inversions?

Inversions are standard positions to play chords in. As you can see in the picture below, you basically take the lowest note of the chord and then put on top to play the next inversion. 

A Flat Piano Chord Inversions

The Ab piano chord inversions are:

Root position: Ab  C  Eb

1st Inversion: C  Eb  Ab

2nd Inversion: Eb  Ab  C

Chord Theory For Ab Major Chord

The A flat major chord comes from the A flat major scale. Major chords are built off of the first, third and fifth notes of the major scale.

As you can see in the picture below, the first, third and fifth notes of the Ab major scale are Ab, C and Eb. So that is where this chord comes from. 


You will find this chord in the key of Ab as well as other keys like Eb major and Db major. 

When we start playing in keys like this, there are often lots of flats that you need to play which makes it a less attractive key and chord to some. Ab is quite common in classical piano music though. 

If you are playing in the key of Ab, there are 4 flats to play in the key signature. They are Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db. 

Want a challenge? Use the Ab major scale to find out the rest of the chords in the key of Ab major. 

If you need more help understanding key signatures, visit the key signatures page.

If you need to look up more chords, visit the Piano Chord Charts page or download your own copy below.

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    FAQ for Playing the Ab Chord

    1. What is the Ab Major piano chord?

    The Ab Major piano chord is a chord that contains three specific notes: Ab, C, and Eb.

    These notes, when played together, form the sound of the Ab major chord. It's a foundational chord and used in many different genres of music.

    2. How do I play the Ab Major piano chord?

    To play the Ab Major chord, press down the Ab, C, and Eb keys at the same time. You may want to start with doing that in in your right hand and playing Ab (just the note) in your left hand.

    • Ab: The key immediately to the left of the A key.
    • C: The white key right before the two black keys.
    • Eb: The black key to the left of the E key.

    Remember that these keys can be found at multiple places on the keyboard and anywhere you are playing them, you're playing the Ab chord.

    3. How can I use the Ab major chord in a song?

    The Ab major chord can be used in a variety of ways in a song. It can act as the home chord in a piece in the key of Ab major, or it can be used to add color and tension in other keys.

    For example, in the key of Eb major, the Ab major chord is the IV (4) chord. It is the V (5) chord in the key of Db major.

    4. What is the difference between Ab Major and Ab Minor?

    The difference between Ab Major and Ab Minor lies in the middle note of the chord. While the Ab Major uses a C, the Ab Minor uses a Cb (which is the same key as B).

    This small change really alters the mood of the chord, making it sound sadder or more melancholic.

    5. I'm a beginner. How can I easily learn the Ab Major chord?

    Start by familiarizing yourself with the piano keys and locating Ab, C, and Eb. Practice playing the chord on it's own. Then, try using the chord in simple songs or chord progressions to gain more familiarity.

    One example of Eb, Ab, Bb, Eb. Try playing that group of chords together.

    6. Why do some sheet music or chord sheets refer to the Ab chord as a G# chord?

    Ab and G# are what's known as enharmonic equivalents. This means they are different names for the same pitch.

    Some sheet music or chord sheets may use G# instead of Ab for a variety of reasons, such as the key of the song or making it easier to read. Both are technically correct, but it's good to be familiar with both names.

    I should also note that anyone can post chord sheets and not everyone does chord titles correctly if they don't know much about music theory.

    7. Is the Ab major chord important to learn?

    Yes! Learning the Ab piano chord not only increases your chord vocabulary but also prepares you to play a variety of songs and pieces that use this chord. And you should learn all the major chords. 

    8. Can the Ab Major chord be played with more than three notes?

    Yes, while the basic triad of the Ab chord consists of three notes (Ab, C, Eb), it's common to duplicate these notes in various octaves to create a fuller sound, especially in music genres like jazz and pop. You can also add other tones like the 7th (G) to form an Ab Major 7 chord.

    Basically, you can consider these notes the building blocks of what you're playing, play them anywhere and add notes for melody or moving between chords. 

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