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-   -   Does the Inversion of a Chord change its Diatonic Function? (https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1573211)

 dannydawiz 11-15-2012 09:38 PM

Does the Inversion of a Chord change its Diatonic Function?

I have two questions.

Question #1 Do chord inversions have names?

Here is what the chord looks like.

B 3
G 0
D 3
A 2

The notes of the chord are B F G and D

The formula ls 1 b5 b6 b10

I asked my music teacher and he said that this chord would be considered a diminished chord. However I asked him whether the b6 changed the name of the chord and he said that the chord had to be some type of inversion.

So my first question is can a chord inversion have its own name?

1 b3 b5 b6

From what I know there isn't a name for this chord formula because of the b6.

The next question I have is about the actual inversion itself.

The chord according to my teacher is an inversion of a G dominant 7th chord which would be G B D F.

Normally a dominant 7th chord is built off of the 5th scale degree which in this case would be in the key of C major.

However the original inversion itself B F G and D puts the B in the bass which in the Key of C major would be considered the 7th scale degree.

So since the B is in the root does this change its diatonic function from the V chord to the vii chord?

 HotspurJr 11-15-2012 09:43 PM

You usually refer to the chord by the name/root note. So here you'd call it a G/B, which is a very common inversion.

An inversion with the third in the root is called the "first inversion," and inversion with the fifth in the root is called the "second inversion" and an inversion with the 7th in the root is called the "third inversion" - although I find that nomenclature to be somewhat confusing.

People don't really worry that much about the order of the notes aside from the root note. They happen, sure, but people only name it by the chord name and the bass note.

I've never heard anyone suggest that the diatonic function of the chord changes as its inverted. Maybe there's some obscure level of theoretical knowledge known only to jazz musicians who live in smokey clubs on the lower east side of manhattan - I wouldn't put it past them - but for the most part, no.

 ccannon1 11-15-2012 09:47 PM

I'm fairly sure that inversion would be called Gmaj(6/3), but I'm also just finishing up intermediate rudiments so I could be wrong.

 dannydawiz 11-15-2012 09:56 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by HotspurJr You usually refer to the chord by the name/root note. So here you'd call it a G/B, which is a very common inversion. An inversion with the third in the root is called the "first inversion," and inversion with the fifth in the root is called the "second inversion" and an inversion with the 7th in the root is called the "third inversion" - although I find that nomenclature to be somewhat confusing. People don't really worry that much about the order of the notes aside from the root note. They happen, sure, but people only name it by the chord name and the bass note. I've never heard anyone suggest that the diatonic function of the chord changes as its inverted. Maybe there's some obscure level of theoretical knowledge known only to jazz musicians who live in smokey clubs on the lower east side of manhattan - I wouldn't put it past them - but for the most part, no.

I didn't know that the name of the inversion itself is based completely off of the root note. Thanks for the response!

Also then in this case even though the inversion has a B in the root which makes it sound very similar to a diminished chord it would still function as a dominant 7th chord?

 jazz_rock_feel 11-15-2012 10:08 PM

You've stumbled on something here that's pretty important which is that different chords can have the same function. More specifically, if you look at the viidim chord in C it's BDF and the V7 is GBDF. Those chords are obviously very similar and they have something very important in common: the same tritone. In both instances the functional voice leading would be the B going up to C and the F falling to an E. In other words, a tritone resolving to a third/sixth.

To answer your original question, chords are called by their name, which is to say that G7 in any inversion is still G7. The most universal way of describing inversions is to say first, second or third inversion. And no, inversion doesn't change the function of a chord.

 supersac 11-15-2012 10:10 PM

im not too sure about third inversion 7th chords but i know th einversion can change the function of a chord in some cases (as in the cadenctial I chord in second inversion{cadential 6 4?})

i havent read up on my 7th chord invertions though but if it doesnt sound like it functions as a dominant chord it probably doesnt

having said that the vii chord does act as a dominant :shrug:

 dannydawiz 11-15-2012 10:28 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel You've stumbled on something here that's pretty important which is that different chords can have the same function. More specifically, if you look at the viidim chord in C it's BDF and the V7 is GBDF. Those chords are obviously very similar and they have something very important in common: the same tritone. In both instances the functional voice leading would be the B going up to C and the F falling to an E. In other words, a tritone resolving to a third/sixth. CLICK HERE To answer your original question, chords are called by their name, which is to say that G7 in any inversion is still G7. The most universal way of describing inversions is to say first, second or third inversion. And no, inversion doesn't change the function of a chord.

Thanks a lot for the explanation Zach! It took a little bit of analyzing since i'm not all to familiar with the concepts of voice leading itself which I am ashamed to admit. However I do understand that the notes aren't allowed to move in the same direction and I do see what you meant by the tritone being included in both chords. (BF)

Alright I need some time to experiment and digest this material. Ill be back some other time with more questions. Thankyou!

 mattrusso 11-15-2012 11:32 PM

It's just G7/B, plain and simple. However, you have to be careful, because you can end up doing something stupid. For example, say you thought it was a good idea to write an E7sus4/B. Seems logical, right? B is a chord tone. But if you look at the notes in the chord, you're actually just playing B-7. Also, think about what the bass player (or whatever instrument is playing the lowest note) is playing. That chord looks like G7/B on the guitar, but if the bass is playing a G, it's just G7. At the same time, if you put Db in the bass, it becomes Db7(b9,#11)!

One last thing: you mentioned you're not familiar with voice leading. Here's a couple tips that will help you: If the two chords you're playing are an interval of a fourth or a fifth apart, the third of the first chord should become the seventh of the new chord and vice versa. If the chords you're playing are a second or third (same as sixth or seventh) apart, the structure of the chord tones should stay the same. Remember, you don't have to do this all the time. In fact, it would get boring if you did.

 MikeDodge 11-16-2012 12:18 AM

If the chord was a G7 chord, the base name doesn't change, it would be a "voicing" for a G7/B.

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