How to Play Basic Chords in Different Positions

chord-inversion-f-mjrYou’ve learned that music chords are the structures that are the words of music. Chord Inversions give you new inflection to the words so that you can create a different but similar sound.  

Inversions of chords are simply taking notes that would normally be played in one position and changing them to a new position.

For three note chords there are two inversions, a 1st inversion and a 2nd inversion.

Let’s examine just how easy this can work.

Root Position:

chord-c-mjr-trebLets take the C major chord as an example. The Major Chord in the “root position” is spelled and played:

C    E    G

Created with a major 3rd and adding a minor 3rd (Intervals 1  3 5 )

1st Inversion

chord-c-mjr-1st-trebThe 1st inversion takes the root note, in this case C and transposes are inverts it to the top. The new spelling becomes E G C.

E    G    C   

Notice how we left some space here to indicate extra notes between the notes of G and C. C major chord 1st inversion uses a m3rd plus a 4th to create this chord voicing. 

2nd Inversion

chord-c-mjr-2nd-trebThe 2nd inversion takes the next note, in this case E and transposes are inverts it to the top. The new spelling becomes G C E.

C    E   

Again space to indicate extra notes between the notes of G and C.

C major chord 2nd inversion uses a 4th plus a 3rd to create this chord voicing. 

This is the basic idea of inversion is taking the bottom note or notes and playing them one octave higher.

Below the keyboard shows you visually what they look like on the piano or a keyboard.

Showing on the Keyboard

C Major Root Position

C   E    G
C major Root Keyboard

C Major – 1st Inversion

E      G       C
C Major 1st Inversion Keyboard

C Major  – 2nd Inversion

G     C    E   

C Major 2nd Inversion Keyboard

This is a actually a very simple process and the basics of chord variations can easily be mastered once you know your root position chords. 

Learning Resources

Creating Chords

cover-creatingchordsBefore you buy another music learning book you’d better read this!

Every wondered why musicians can work with songs so quickly? It’s all about the chords and the scales.

Learning to create, recognize and work with chords and scales is essential in mastering music.

It can be intimidating for the beginning student.

Don’t let them get the best of you.

These Getting It Down Cold Workshops easily lead you through the process step by step. And in a fraction of the time that most students take to learn this vital part of music.

Go here to: Learn More…