How To Play Happy Birthday On The Piano Using Just 3 Chords


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Learn How To Play Happy Birthday On The Piano

Good morning. This is Duane, and today we’re going to take a look at playing “Happy Birthday”.  No matter what key you play it in it just takes three chords. Now if you want to stay with just the white notes then you probably want to play it in the key of C, but the trouble with the key of C is that it gets awfully high if you play it there. That’s really hard for a person to sing.

Generally “Happy Birthday” is played in the key of F, which is based on the scale of F, which goes like this. The key of F has one flat in it, that B flat. The three primary chords in the key of F, and the three chords you’re going to use in “Happy Birthday”, are F, C, and B flat. Now if you’re just starting out probably an easier way to do that is to just play the B flat chord like this. Leave your little finger on F but play an inversion of the B flat chord. That’s the B flat chord in second inversion; upside down, in other words. Because that way you can just move from there to there.

Same way with the C chord. Leave the C on top but move the two bottom notes down one white one. that’s the C chord. If you want a 7th in it, which is proper, you can put a B flat in there. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear person. Happy birthday to you. You see that?

Now let me play the melody. If you’re playing it in the key of F you’ll start on a C. You can start on middle C if you want, except it might run into your left hand if you’re a beginner and you’re just playing chords like that, so I’ll play it an octave apart. It’s C, then you play C 7th. The song is only eight measures long, eight bars long, and we’ve already played half of it. You’ve just played two chords: F chord, C chord. You just F, C, F, or F, C 7th, F if you prefer.

Then the last part goes like this. Play C, C, then you jump an octave. Now that note probably doesn’t sound too good. It was B flat but it’s part of it so I would go with it. I’m going to call out the chords now. F, C, F, B flat, F, C, F. If you’re a little more advanced you can chord it. It’s in 3/4 time, generally played in 3/4 time. You can play it in any time signature you want, actually, but I’ll play it in 3/4. That would mean you probably develop a chording pattern like this. Happy … You see I’m chording. I’m playing a low note on F, and then two F chords, and then a low C, and then two C 7th chords or C chords, low C, F, F, then a low B flat and two B flat chords, and then low F. That measure is divided between F and C and right back to F. Now let me put it together.

Now if you’re still more advanced you can play chords in the right hand under the melody. You know it’s the F chord so you can put any notes of the F chord in it. You know it’s a C chord there so you can play any notes of the C or C 7th chord in it. F, B flat, F, C, F. Now both hands. That’s a very simple way to play it.

Now if you’re still more advanced you could play in arpeggios maybe or partly arpeggios. You could echo it, echo. There’s substitute chords you could use but I don’t think we need to get into that particular … Well, let me just throw out a couple here. You could play A flat diminished 7th, then slide down to C 7th. That’s a C chord over B flat. You could make it B flat minor if you want. Let me play it all the way through.

There’s a lot more fancy stuff you could do. For example, when you got to the end you could do … as kind of a fancy ending if you want to. I just went down by half steps from B diminished, B flat diminished 7th, A minor 7th suspension, A flat minor 7th, G minor 7th, G flat, and ending on F. You just do it quickly. You could end with a F chord up high.

There’s just some ideas on how to play “Happy Birthday”. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced there’s lots of ways to do it. Thanks for being with me and tomorrow we’ll take up another piano subject of some sort. If you’re not already signed up for my free newsletter be sure and do that. Go over to playpiano.com and sign up for it, because it’s loaded with piano stuff like this. Thanks for being with me and we’ll see you tomorrow. Bye bye for now.

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

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How To Play Happy Birthday On The Piano Using Just 3 Chords
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How To Play Happy Birthday On The Piano Using Just 3 Chords
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Did you know you can play Happy Birthday on the piano with just three piano chords, just three chords?
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