Piano Chord Inversions

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Learn How To Play Piano Chord Inversions!

Today I want to talk to you about chord inversions? What is a chord inversion? Well to begin with let's take a look at a normal C major triad. The notes of the C major triad are C, E, and G. That arrangement of the notes can also be called the root inversion.

But what happens if we take the C and move it to the top? We still have all the notes of the C major chord, but the root note is played as the high note instead of the low note. Well, when we do that, we have what is called the C major scale in the first inversion. Let's do the same thing one more time. Instead of playing E, G, and C like we just did, let's play G, C, and E. What we get when we do that is called the second inversion.

Now let's take a look at another chord. The root inversion of the G major triad is G, B, and D. If we take the chord and re-arrange it into the first inversion, we get the notes B, D, and G. Then if we take them again and re-arrange them into the second inversion, we have D, G, and B.

Here's an exercise to familiarize yourself with the concept of inversions. Start off playing the root inversion, then play the first inversion, move to the second inversion, and finally play the root inversion at the next highest octave. Now work your way back down to the root inversion at the starting octave. Do it slowly at first, then build up speed. Don't just do it with your right hand, do it with your left hand also.

Inversions give a nice flavor or texture to the same chord. They are useful for making progressions on piano easier to play and smoother sounding. Just playing root inversions can lead to a jumpy, choppy sound. To see how inversions can help with this, play a C chord in the root inversion, followed by the F chord in the second inversion, and then a G chord in the first inversion. The result flows much better than it does if you just stick with root inversions.

For the next lesson you can check out different piano chord progressions.


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