Piano Chord Inversions

Piano chord inversions are the “rearranging” of the intervals or tones (notes) of a chord into a different order. Throughout these lessons we have worked with chords in their root positions. This means we have formed the chord with the root in the bottom or lowest (starting) position. C major has been formed C,E,G..F minor is F,Ab,C..A major is A,C#,E…you get the idea.

Now, to add some “color” to your playing we will study inversions. Using the same chords lets start with the third as the bottom or lowest (starting) tone (note). C major would be E,G,C…F minor would be Ab,C,F…and A major would be C#,E,A. This is known as a 1st (first) inversion.

So, you have probably guessed that beginning with the fifth as the bottom or lowest (starting) tone (note) is called a…2nd (second) inversion. Again using our same three chords, C major would be G,C,E…F minor would be C,F,Ab…and A major would be E,A,C#.

Working with 3 note (triads) you can only invert the piano chord twice. Obviously as chords become more complex; sevenths, ninths, thirteens, etc. the greater the number of piano chord inversions. You should practice inverting all the chords you have learned with both hands until you can play them smoothly and easily.

You will find that the different arrangements of tones (notes) within the chords gives “new” sounds to your playing…even thought they are the same chords. Inverting chords will also often provide an easier “leading” into the next chord of a song or progression.

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