As a musician, you have to be versatile with the way you play music. There is an advantage to knowing how to read sheet music and notes as well as play chords and its inversions. With basic chords, you already have a lot of variation for when you want to write or play music.
However, with chord inversions, you gain the ability to improvise and turn the music into something that is unique.
So, what are chord inversions?
That is exactly the question we intend to answer in this article. We will be discussing what chord inversions are as well as the uses of chord inversions when playing music. Let us get right into it.
What is A Chord Inversion?
Before we delve into what chord inversions are, first, you must learn what chords are. Once you do, it is pretty easy to go from there.
Chord inversions are the different ways that you can interchange the notes within a chord to produce a new sound. This allows you to add more tension and style to a single chord and helps make your music unique.
When playing a triad (a three-note chord), you can also play three inversions for that single chord. For chords with four notes, there are four inversions. Lastly, for chords with five notes, you can play up to five different chord inversions.
For this basic lesson, we will be focusing on a triad to figure out how chord inversions work.
The root position of a chord is the chord’s starting point. For instance, for the chord C Major, we have the notes C, G, and E. Here is how it would look like on the piano:
The basic form of the C Major chord, as shown above, is also known as the parent chord. The parent chord or root inversion is where all other inversions stem from.
To get the first inversion of a chord, you will need to switch the notes up. What you need to do is to put the bottom keynote of the chord on top.
Let us take a look at an example. To make it easier, we will be sticking to the C Major chord.
As you can see in the image above, we have taken the bottom keynote, which is C, and moved it to the top. Unlike following the pattern of the parent chord, which is C, E, and G, we follow this first inversion, which is E, G, and C instead. By doing this, you will be giving the C Major chord a higher tune than the parent chord.
It is important to remember that this inversion is interchangeable with the parent chord.
Now that we understand the first inversion, we will be moving to the second inversion. For the second inversion, you will be moving the last note of the chord. You will be taking this note from the top of the parent chord and moving it to the bottom, making it your first note.
Take a look at this example of the second inversion of a C Major chord. While the parent chord of C Major consists of the notes C, E, and G, the second inversion of C Major is composed of the notes G, C, and E.
Another easier way to remember the second inversion is to remember the position of the first inversion. It is as simple as rotating the notes within the chord. Notice how the parent chord starts with C, E, and G, the first inversion turns it into E, G, and C, and the third turns it into G, C, and E.
It is as simple as that! The same goes for four-note chords and five-note chords. These chords are not as common as triads, but as long as you understand the rules of inversion, it applies to any type of chords.
Uses of Chord Inversion
Now that you know what chord inversions are and how to do them, it is now time for you to learn what chord inversions are used for.
Chord inversions (1) are the perfect way to subtly add some drama to a chord without changing it completely. It adds a special touch of mystery for the audiences when they hear a piece that is somehow different without being obnoxiously out of tune. Chord inversions also add a layer of complexity and sophistication to the way music is presented. With chord inversion, you can make music sound more dynamic.
When starting on playing using sheet music, it is easy to sound very mechanical. This is something most people do not like. By learning chord inversions you can easily avoid this problem. As a musician, this will greatly aid you if you want to set yourself apart from others.
Music is versatile and unique. Chord inversions are a perfect way to show exactly how unique music can be.
You may check my guide to piano octave if you are a beginner in playing the piano.
If you are looking to further your knowledge on chord inversions as well as playing the piano, taking music lessons would be an ideal step. Check out my top online piano learning apps reviews and choose what’s best for you.
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