Chords: Inversion

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.

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

piano-ology-chords-inversion-c-major-triad-with-c-in-the-bass


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

piano-ology-chords-inversion-c-major-triad-with-e-in-the-bass

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.


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

piano-ology-chords-inversion-c-major-triad-with-g-in-the-bass

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

About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
This entry was posted in Aural Comprehension, Chords, Music Theory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chords: Inversion

  1. Lionel says:

    Love your playing

    Liked by 1 person

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