Chord Inversions and Fingering :
The chords we have studied to this point have been used in the root position, meaning that in the C major chord C (the root note) has been on the bottom, with the other two notes above. Because we have 3 notes to work with, we can play these 3 notes in three different positions, each note by turn being the lowest note.
When C is the lowest key, the chord is in root position : C, E, G. Use fingers 5, 3, 1
When E is in the lowest position it is in 1st. inversion : E, G, C as shown in the diagram below. Use fingers 5, 3, 1.
When G is in the lowest position it is in 2nd. inversion : G, C, E as shown in the diagram below. Use fingers 5, 2, 1
You may have noticed when playing the chords in root position and moving from, C chord to G chord for example, your hand must move some distance. This distance not only makes it more difficult to keep the music flowing smoothly, while you try to re-position your hand, the transition from root position to root position is also bumpy. However moving from a root position to a first or second inversion in closer proximity keeps the music flowing for the ear as well.
All 3 note chords major or minor will have the same ability to move into root, 1st. inversion and 2nd. inversion positions.
Work out the root and inversions of all the chords we have taken to this point. C,F,G major and d minor.
Lets do the “just for fun” chapter again, harmonizing the c + scale. This time we will use some 1st and 2nd chords instead of all root position chords.
C = root, G1= 1st inv. F2= 2nd. inv.
Did you enjoy this more interesting sound? Could you feel how using the inversions just made this more comfortable to play, easier to find and more musical, smooth, flowing and connected. You might want to go back to “Streets of Laredo” in chapter 5, and use some inversion chords in place of the root positions to see how that changes the feel of this simple melody.
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