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Chord Inversions Piano

The chord inversions piano has are the same as on guitar or any chordal instrument.  The quick explanation is that an inversion is just making something other than the "root" note the bass note. Below is an example in the key of C.

Chord Inversions Piano


Above you see three C chords.  

ROOT POSISTION:  The first is a C chord in root position with C in the bass, E as the 3rd of the chord and G as the 5th of the chord.  
C-E-G

FIRST INVERSION:  The second C chord is still a C chord but E (or the 3rd of the chord) is in the bass, G is still the 5th of the chord and C is on top but is still the root of the chord.
E-G-C

SECOND INVERSION:  The third C chord has the G (or 5th of the chord) in the bass, C remains the root and E is still the 3rd.
G-C-E

*If you have a 7th chord (which is a 4 note chord) the seventh would be in the bass. This would be a third inversion.


Piano Key Names and List of Inversions


Here is the list of all major chords in root position (root in the bass), 1st inversion (3rd in the bass) and second inversion (5th in the bass) in all 12 keys.  Refer to the piano above.


C MAJ
ROOT POSITION C-E-G
1ST INVERSION E-G-C
2ND INVERSION G-C-E

D MAJ
ROOT POSITION D-F#-A
1ST INVERSION F#-A-D
2ND INVERSION A-D-F#

E MAJ
ROOT POSITION E-G#-B
1ST INVERSION G#-B-E
2ND INVERSION B-E-G#

F MAJ
ROOT POSITION F-A-C
1ST INVERSION A-C-F
2ND INVERSION C-F-A

G MAJ
ROOT POSITION G-B-D
1ST INVERSION B-D-G
2ND INVERSION D-G-B

A MAJ
ROOT POSITION A-C#-E
1ST INVERSION C#-E-A
2ND INVERSION E-A-C#

B MAJ
ROOT POSITION B-D#-F#
1ST INVERSION D#-F#-B
2ND INVERSION F#-B-D#

Bb MAJ
ROOT POSITION Bb-D-F
1ST INVERSION D-F-Bb
2ND INVERSION F-Bb-D

Eb MAJ
ROOT POSITION Eb-G-Bb
1ST INVERSION G-Bb-Eb
2ND INVERSION Bb-Eb-G

Ab MAJ
ROOT POSITION Ab-C-Eb
1ST INVERSION C-Eb-Ab
2ND INVERSION Eb-Ab-C

Db MAJ
ROOT POSITION Db-F-Ab
1ST INVERSION F-Ab-Db
2ND INVERSION Ab-Db-F

Gb MAJ
ROOT POSITION Gb-Bb-Db
1ST INVERSION Bb-Db-Gb
2ND INVERSION Db-Gb-Bb

It should be noted that these are the 12 keys but that they have enharmonic names.  This just means they are the same notes but have different names depending on the key you are in.  For example, C#=Db, F#=Gb, G#=Ab, D#=Eb, A#=Bb, E#=Fb and B#=C.  

For a more extensive explanation visit enharmonics, circle of fifths and C chords.



Continue to Piano Chord Theory

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Return to Learn to Play Piano

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