Posts Tagged ‘triads’

In western music, a chord is said to be in root position when the tonic note is at the bottom (in the bass)  and the other notes of the chord are above it.  You’ll recognize the C chord in the staff below.  The notes are C-E-G with the C being on the bottom.

C Chord

When the lowest note is not the tonic, the chord is said to be inverted.   What that means for the C chord in our example is that the order could be E-G-C (1st inversion) or G-C-E (2nd inversion).

1st Inversion

C Chord 2nd Inversion

2nd Inversion

Now keep in mind that for the C Maj chord we’re dealing with here, there are only two inversions possible because there are only three notes in the entire chord (triad).  If we added a 7th we could do more inversions.  Another thing to pay attention to here as far as naming the inversion, is remember that the 1st inversions is when the the 1st interval (the 3rd) is the root note.  Similarly with the 2nd inversion.  The 2nd interval (the 5th) is the root note.  This, of course, goes on and on depending on how many notes are in the chord.  Most people will only deal with the first three inversions because they are the most popular.  I say thank goodness because this stuff can get complicated quickly!

So what does this mean to a guitar player?  Well, like most new things, it requires new fingerings and shapes.  I’m not going to get into it in the post but there are a whole new set  chord shapes that happen depending on the inversion trying to do.   Look for that in the future and we can work on these together.

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