Chord Inversions

 

When the root of the triad is the lowest sounding pitch, the chord is in root position. When the 3rd of the triad is the lowest sounding pitch, the chord is in 1st inversion. When the 5th of the triad is the lowest sounding pitch, the chord is in 2nd inversion.

 

Here is the C Major triad with inversions labeled:

 

 

To determine the root of a chord, arrange the chord members to form a stack of 3rds. The lowest pitch in the stack of 3rds is the chord root. In the example above each chord has a C, an E, and a G. The only difference is in the order of pitches from low to high. It takes practice to develop fluency reading chord inversions. see also: Open Voicing Chords

 

 

Seventh chords have an additional inversion. When the seventh is the lowest sounding pitch, the chord is in 3rd inversion.

 

 

MusicGoals Eye and Ear provides a practice tool to develop knowledge of chords and chord inversions.

 

see also: Chord Construction, Keyboard Chords, Staff Name Chords, String Chords, Scale and Chord Reference, Open Voicing Chords