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Thread: chord inversions

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002

    chord inversions

    gday folks,
    i would like to ask about chord inversions.i understand how to make an inversion of a chord but when and why would you decide to use an inversion in a practical sense?

  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Jackson MS
    It is all about the sound. If you are playing one chord and you change to a different chord for example C Major to F Major.
    You want to move the tones as few notes as possible to get the new chord.
    So if your C chord is in root inversion ( CEG from lowest to highest) then the most logical F chord is CFA from lowest to highest or second inversion. This is because the C is common to both and E to F is just 1 half step ( the smallest possible movement in our scale system) G to A is a Whole step (the second smallest possible movement in our scale system).
    This is going to sound much better than moving the whole chord to F in root position ( Either up 7 half steps or down 5 half steps)

    This process is called voice leading, and is essential to making Vocal harmonies sound good ( and capable of being sung!)

    I suggest you try this idea out on some of your favorite chord changes.

    The rules:
    Look for common tones then move the rest of the notes as short a distance as possible.
    The exception is when moving from IV to V or ii to iii because this would give you parallel movement. This would be best handled by inverting one of the two chords.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  3. #3
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Austria & UK
    Hi Peter,

    First thing that comes to mind is creating a bass line.

    Chordprogression: C G Am

    Now, a bassline going down stepwise is a very nice effect. Instead of having all the roots of the chords in the bass we use an inversion to create a stepwise bass line.

    Bass line: C B A

    and the chord symbols would change to: C G/B Am

    This technique is used in many many tunes ....


    PS: in my article about triads I mention voiceleading.
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002
    thanks guys, that makes perfect sense.

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