Printable Piano Chord Chart for Major and Minor Chords

Printable piano chord chart for an easy way to help piano keyboard students remember major and minor chords -- group them into look-alike "families." 

And give them names!

  • Call the white-note chords "Snowman" chords; 
  • the black-note-in-the-middle chords "Hamburger" chords, and 
  • the black-on-the-outside, white-on-the-inside chords "Oreo cookies" or "Ice Cream Sandwich" chords.
Piano chord families by visual appearance; show your students how to recognize chord shapes!

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

List piano chords that don't fit any pattern as the "Oddballs."  

The kids catch on very quickly. The all-black chords are called "Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches" by me, and "Burnt Hamburger" chords by some of my students!

For piano students, it is much easier to remember a list of piano chords that have similar appearances.

These cute names:

  • Snowman chords
  • Hamburger chords
  • Ice cream sandwiches
  • Chocolate ice cream sandwiches
  • Oddballs!

are mostly not actually my own ideas, though I use them all the time with my students.

They come from the piano theory books of TCW Resources, voluminous and thorough theory books with lots of really fun worksheets and good ideas.

(TCW Resources now seems to be selling their materials at Kjos Music...) 

They also have different sets of card games that I sometimes use to illustrate the chords on my keyboard chord chart.

Improvise with the chords to build familiarity.

From their known list of piano chords, I like to ask keyboard students to choose 3 or 4 chords and make up a pattern or a song. This can be a fun way for them to get to know chords better.  

I find ostinato patterns work the best, and I usually take this approach: we list piano chords, decide on the order, then repeat endlessly!  I make up a melody based on harmonious or matching notes, then we switch places.

The second graphic, shown below, demonstrates how I hand-draw little circles above the chord families.  Sarah in Australia made the PDF printable copy of the chord chart below - thank you, Sarah!

Chord families for piano - look-alikes

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

I draw these chord shapes on assignment sheets all the time, sometimes asking them to "fill in" any black key circle.

One thing that really stands out to them with this music chords chart, once I pencil in the circles, is that the B chords are wacky!

Each one is unique.  With the B chords, a common saying in my studio is, "White on the bottom, black on top.  Black on the bottom, white on top."

Later on, when the kids are learning to do inversions and they have forgotten what the root position of a chord looks like, it really helps for them to have the 3-dots drawing scribbled on their lesson assignment sheet.  

Jogs the memory.  Piano chord theory is SO IMPORTANT to becoming an able player, that every helpful device or tool should be utilized!

I hope you find this printable piano chords chart helpful in your music studio! 





The links to the charts:


Download printable piano chord chart of major and minor chords 


Download chord chart with circle illustrations









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Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.