When it comes to playing your keyboard, there are a seemingly infinite number of techniques you need to learn. Even when you’ve been playing for decades, there are always new skills and methods that can be learned to improve your practice.
Of course, playing chords is one of the essential techniques you need to master early on in order to play countless songs, as well as creating your own. However, while chords are a whole other ballgame, today we’re going to be focusing on Chord Inversions.
While chords are renowned for being the foundation of a song and help to give it structure, many chords sound boring and plain on their own and playing the same chords over and over again throughout your song will keep it sounding basic.
To bring a bit of life into your songs, you’ll want to start implementing chord inversions, giving your music a bit of flare and depth.
What is a Chord Inversion?
The definition of a chord inversion is simple. You take a chord that you already know, and you simply shift it either up or down your keyboard. While the exact notes of the chord itself stay the same, it’s the location on your keyboard that you play them that differs.
If you’re looking at your keyboard, you’ll already know that the sets of notes repeat themselves from one end to the other. Playing a chord inversion is as simple as moving a chord, from say, the middle of your keyboard, towards the higher or lower ends.
Why Would I Want to Use a Chord Inversion?
This technique is incredibly beneficial if you’re playing a song where the chords tend to jump around the keyboard a lot where your hands are constantly changing position. For example, if you’re playing a G Major chord, regarding your hands, moving onto a C Major chord could be deemed a rather large and expressive movement.
When you’re using a chord inversion, you eliminate this being a problem. Instead of making the rather large jump, you simply play a chord inversion where you’ll keep your hand in relatively the same place. Not only does it make it easier for you to play, but you also open the door for a whole new range of audio opportunities.
When you play a chord inversion, this adds unique voicings to your song. We know, what’s a voicing?
A voicing is simply the term where you rearrange the notes of a chord, moving them around into a different order. Not only does this benefit you as a musician, but it also helps to make your music sound far more natural and engaging to your listener.
Put it this way; if you were playing the two same chords throughout your entire song, this is going to make your song sound incredibly boring and, literally, monotone. Instead, by using voicings in your track, you’ll be creating much more depth and variation, simply but using an inversion!
Creating a Chord Inversion
Okay, let’s jump into the meat of why you came here in the first place. Before we start (one more bit of info) wherever you’re playing a chord originally is known as the Root Position. This is just the term for the position of the chord where you would typically play it.
So, let’s imagine you’re playing a C Major chord. Of course, you’ll be playing the ‘GEC’ keys. To make the 1st Inversion, you’ll simply want to move the bottom note, in this case, the C, to the top of the chord, so you would play it ‘CGE’.
This is your 1st Inversion. If you want to make a 2nd Inversion, you would again move the bottom chord to the top, so you would play it ECG.
Notice how when you’ve inverted a chord, you’re simply moving the bottom note, while the others stay exactly in the same place. You can apply this logic in any direction from your root position, and you can invert as many times as you want up or down your keyboard.
Always remember the notes themselves aren’t changing. Throughout every inversion, you are still using the G, E, and C notes. When you’re inverting a chord, you never change the notes that are used in the original chord.
However, while you can apply this to wherever and whichever chords you want, most musicians will never variate from one or two inversions.
Inverted a Bass Clef
Nine times out of ten, when you’re playing a chord inversion, you’ll be using your right hand or the treble clef. However, there’s nothing stopping you from learning this technique with your left hand.
In fact, we highly recommend it since you’re only be enhancing your skills and providing yourself with more opportunities to create different kinds of music.
As with a normal inversion with your right hand, when you’re playing with your left hand, simply move the bottom note to the top. The actual notes that you’re playing stay the same, whereas it’s only the location on your keyboard that you’re changing.
When you’re playing chord inversions with your left hand, this will create a completely new style and sound that you might not have heard before. It’s worth experimenting to see what chord inversions should good to you, so you can stay using them in your own sounds.
Believe us, once you’ve mastered the technique and brought it up to scratch with how you normally play, there are countless hours to be enjoyed, and the sounds you’re creating are ones that you’ll instantly fall in love with.
And that about wraps up chord inversions. As you can see, it’s a rather simple technique when it’s written down, but just like playing your keyboard in general, it can take some practice to really get the method down.
However, once you’ve done so, you’ll be amazed at the sounds you’re producing, and the only thing you’ll regret is not learning how to do this sooner!