Inversions Secret – BASIC

About This Lesson

What is an Inversion?
An inversion is putting the notes of a chord in a different order.  For example, if you are playing a C major chord then you are using the notes C, E and G.  Now put those in a different order:

  • C E G
  • E G C
  • G C E

Inversion Terminology
With a three note chord you can have 3 different inversions: A root inversion, 1st inversion and 2nd inversion.

Which one is which? (play the notes on the piano to see this demonstration)
Here is the way I like to look at it. If you are playing a C major chord and the C is on the bottom (far left) then it is a root chord. C E G
*No matter what inversion C will always be the “root” note in a C major chord.

If there appears to be one note by itself on top (far right) then you are playing the 1st inversion. EG C

If there appears to be two notes by themselves on top then you are playing the 2nd inversion. G CE

The Perfect 4th Interval (video 2)
The other trick is learning the perfect 4th interval. If you are playing an inversion then there will always be a perfect 4th interval below the root note on major, minor and sus chords. Watch “video 2” for the explanation.

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