What are Parallel Chords? Piano Lessons

Piano Lessons / piano questions / What are Parallel Chords? Piano Lessons

The complicated description of parallel chords is: A series of chords that consist of intervals which do not change as the chord moves. Let’s break this down and make it a little more digestible for the average piano student.

I was recently sent a question about parallel chords and I thought it would be an interesting subject for a video. Carol asks, “can you think of any pieces off the top of your head that utilize parallel chords?”.

The one that jumped out to me right away is Sarabande pour le Piano by Claude Debussy. While these chords are not exactly parallel chords, they are very close and have harmonic relevancy. In the video above I demonstrate the portion of the piece that utilizes parallel harmonies which is very close to parallel chords.

When I was a child I remember a piece called “Run Run” by Octavio Pinto that used a lot of parallel chords. I remember learning it as a kid and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a great piece for beginning students as it sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. Although the hands alternate in the actual piece, they are just parallel chords!

2 thoughts on “What are Parallel Chords? Piano Lessons”


  1. I play your videos for my students. They find them interesting, informative, and inspiring. Practice suggestions are particularly welcomed. Thank you.

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