Lesson 6 – Chords vs. Notes

What is the difference between a chord and a note?

I’m often asked this question, or if it is not asked, it seems to be a point of confusion for people who are playing a musical instrument for the first time. A separate but very related issue is the relationship between ‘melody’ and ‘accompaniment’.

I try to clarify these concepts in this short video.


  • Chords are made up of Notes.
  • A Note is a single tone.
  • Notes and Chords can share the exact same names. Chords tend to be named after their most important note.
  • When we are playing the ‘Accompaniment’ (which is where we are starting in this course), we are principally playing the chords.
  • When we are playing the ‘Melody’ or the ‘Tune’, we are playing individual notes.
  • The Melody is the part of music that we can put a name to.