Chords: Inversion

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There is no rule requiring that the root of the chord be the lowest note played…

In fact, you can create a wonderful variety of melodic and harmonic effects by using other chord tones as the lowest note.

This is called Inversion.

Root Position

A C chord (C-E-G) played with its root C as the lowest note, called the Root Position, sounds quite¬†stable…

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First Inversion

The C chord can also be played with the note E in the bass. This is called the First Inversion.

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You might recognize this from Eric Clapton’s “Layla”.  In this case, the inversion is used to create harmonic instability and melodic interest in the bass line.


Second Inversion

A C chord can also be played with G in the bass.  This is called the Second Inversion.

This as a very common way to prepare to end a piece, where C/G functions as a double suspended V chord.

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learn more… Chords: Consonance & Dissonance

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