#1
A few days ago a asked a question about inversions and slash chords. Now I can another one.
Can you put inversions over another note to make a slash chord? Ex.
C D G B would be a G 2nd inversion/C ?
#3
The inversion is dependant on the bass note, so if D is not at the bass of a G major triad, it won't be in second inversion. Since C is the bass of the group of pitches you just described, it cannot be G in second inversion. Exactly what that sonority would be described as would depend on the context.

If you were in C major, for example, this collection of notes is an inversion of the Dominant chord, over a tonic pedal, that wants to resolve back to the tonic. I would simply label this as a 7/5/2 (the numbers would be stacked on top of each other rather than appearing as a fraction), which means that the B is a 7th above the C, the G is a fifth above the C, the D a 2nd.

Generally I find if there's no label available that doesn't become unwieldy, it's better to just describe what these kinds of chords are.
#4
The most practical option for such specific voicing is to notate the chord.

You might consider why specific voicing is necessary in the first place, as it changes how the chord functions and how it might be named. G/C , with the B a 7th above the C, is pretty close to a Cmaj9.

A general way to think about it: slashes and inversions exist to accommodate bass lines. The chord name itself - as in, the root - is more concerned with all the chord's voices together.

Root position is very much the default for chords/harmonies. Unless there is an obvious bass line or some other compelling reason, your chords are likely in root position. Even if they can easily be analyzed as something like G/C, it might well be functioning as some kind of C in the absence of a melody in the bass.

Example: G triad plays with an ascending bass line G B C D: chords are G, G (first inv.), G/C, G (2nd inv.)

G triad plays over a static C in the bass: chord is Cmaj9
--------


It's really useful to remember to think of how inversion applies to individual instruments vs ensembles. The overall inversion is determined solely by the bass, but you can still play with triad "inversions" on your instrument - they simply aren't consequential to the large scale analysis.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 28, 2013,
#5
In inversions only the bass note matters. You can have the other notes in whatever order and it's still in the same inversion.

For example there are many ways to play a C major chord on guitar.

x32010 - C E G C E
x35553 - C G C E G

The notes are in different order but they are both in the same inversion.

So the same goes with whatever bass note - the order of the other notes doesn't change the inversion (I know what you are after but it just doesn't work that way). So yeah, just notate it.
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#6
Well, there seems to be a little confusion here, so no disrespect intented towards previous writers, but this is how I see it:

So let's start with what the "/" actually means, which is that we have another bassnote than the root/first (ex. G in a G chord), so in simple terms to the left of the slash we have the chord and to the right the bassnote. And now to what people often disagree on, which is the fact that the bassnote doesn't have to be in the chord formula.

To strengthen my argument let's look at a D5/F#, which I've seen in many sheet music books, for example go to the original published sheet music for Learning to live by Dream Theater and look at the first page with chord diagrams. In a D5 you have the notes D and A, without the 3rd, which in this case is F#. Now if the bassnote would have to be in the chord, then a D5/F# would be impossible since it doesn't have a F# in the chord formula.

Assuming I'm right so far that the bassnote doesn't have t be in the chord, lets seperate the inverted chord and the bassnote and answer the question.

So if you're question is whether the chord formula C D G B would count as a G/C (G chord in 2nd inversion), I would have to agree that this is incorrect.

But if you simply mean that the order of the notes you are playing from the bottom up is C D G B, for example on a piano to keep it easier to follow, then yes a C bassnote to a G chord in 2nd inversion (D G B) could absolutely be called G/C.


National_Anthem wrote:
The inversion is dependant on the bass note, so if D is not at the bass of a G major triad, it won't be in second inversion.

If I interpret what you mean correctly then I disagree with this (if I misunderstood and you mean what comes after now then I'm sorry), because if we separate the chord G and the bassnote C in G/C, the D is still the first among the notes in a G major triad (G B D) since we don't count the bassnote C (which isn't in the chord formula).


However, I think it was cdgraves that questioned why we must call it a G/C, in my opinion I would be better calling it a Cmajor7sus2/CM7sus2. Since the C major scale looks like this:

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

We start with making it a regular C (1 3 5 = C E G), then we make it a Cmajor7 (1 3 5 7 = C E G B), and finally a Cmajor7sus2/CM7sus2 (1 2 5 7 = C D G B).


Someone wrote Cmaj9, which is incorrect because a maj9 consists of 1 3 5 7 9, and there is no 3 (E) among the four notes (C D G B).


MaggaraMarine wrote:
In inversions only the bass note matters. You can have the other notes in whatever order and it's still in the same inversion. & The notes are in different order but they are both in the same inversion. So the same goes with whatever bass note - the order of the other notes doesn't change the inversion (I know what you are after but it just doesn't work that way). So yeah, just notate it.

So yeah, I disagree with this too, since the inversion does just that, inverted the order of the notes in the chord. Though we have to clarify what we mean with "order", it's not the order of the strings played, it's the order of the notes played arranged by pitch from the bottom up.


Hope you guys aren't angry with me, as I wrote in the beginning, don't mean to disrespect you or pound my chest. This is just how I see things and it is a discussion in a forum after all So macashmack decide what you think makes more sense, of course we all seem certain of our statements, and thing is that different published music theory books say different things so that always adds confusion in these discussions and makes it close to impossible to determine who's "right"!

//Robert
#7
Quote by Arzosah


If I interpret what you mean correctly then I disagree with this (if I misunderstood and you mean what comes after now then I'm sorry), because if we separate the chord G and the bassnote C in G/C, the D is still the first among the notes in a G major triad (G B D) since we don't count the bassnote C (which isn't in the chord formula).



You're right, I was unclear. What I meant to say is that a G major second inversion chord can only exist if D is the bass note. The bass note in this chord is C, so it's not G major second inversion.

Why do you disagree with Maggara?
#8
it's important to distinguish "the bass" from "the lowest note in the guitar chord".

You can most definitely play your little guitar triads "in inversion" while the bass plays the root. YOU are playing an inverted triad, but the whole band is playing a root position harmony.

Slash chords almost always indicate that there a bass part that matters, not just a block chord. That's why The D5/F# example above is instructive: the guitar chord is D5, the bass is F#, the harmony is D first inversion.
Last edited by cdgraves at Aug 10, 2013,
#9
Quote by cdgraves
it's important to distinguish "the bass" from "the lowest note in the guitar chord". You can most definitely play your little guitar triads "in inversion" while the bass plays the root. YOU are playing an inverted triad, but the whole band is playing a root position harmony.


This we agree on, that it depends what you're implying, the bands total sound or what one person is playing on his/her instrument.

Well, now we've tried convincing each other through discussion, it didn't work. I've explained everything from my point of view and I'm confident I'm right, but you guys explain it well too and you're probably equally confident you are right, so I'll use my fauvorite phrase "lets agree to disagree"
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 11, 2013,
#10
Quote by Arzosah
Well, there seems to be a little confusion here, so no disrespect intented towards previous writers, but this is how I see it:

So let's start with what the "/" actually means, which is that we have another bassnote than the root/first (ex. G in a G chord), so in simple terms to the left of the slash we have the chord and to the right the bassnote. And now to what people often disagree on, which is the fact that the bassnote doesn't have to be in the chord formula.

To strengthen my argument let's look at a D5/F#, which I've seen in many sheet music books, for example go to the original published sheet music for Learning to live by Dream Theater and look at the first page with chord diagrams. In a D5 you have the notes D and A, without the 3rd, which in this case is F#. Now if the bassnote would have to be in the chord, then a D5/F# would be impossible since it doesn't have a F# in the chord formula.

Assuming I'm right so far that the bassnote doesn't have t be in the chord, lets seperate the inverted chord and the bassnote and answer the question.

So if you're question is whether the chord formula C D G B would count as a G/C (G chord in 2nd inversion), I would have to agree that this is incorrect.

But if you simply mean that the order of the notes you are playing from the bottom up is C D G B, for example on a piano to keep it easier to follow, then yes a C bassnote to a G chord in 2nd inversion (D G B) could absolutely be called G/C.


National_Anthem wrote:
The inversion is dependant on the bass note, so if D is not at the bass of a G major triad, it won't be in second inversion.

If I interpret what you mean correctly then I disagree with this (if I misunderstood and you mean what comes after now then I'm sorry), because if we separate the chord G and the bassnote C in G/C, the D is still the first among the notes in a G major triad (G B D) since we don't count the bassnote C (which isn't in the chord formula).


However, I think it was cdgraves that questioned why we must call it a G/C, in my opinion I would be better calling it a Cmajor7sus2/CM7sus2. Since the C major scale looks like this:

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

We start with making it a regular C (1 3 5 = C E G), then we make it a Cmajor7 (1 3 5 7 = C E G B), and finally a Cmajor7sus2/CM7sus2 (1 2 5 7 = C D G B).


Someone wrote Cmaj9, which is incorrect because a maj9 consists of 1 3 5 7 9, and there is no 3 (E) among the four notes (C D G B).


MaggaraMarine wrote:
In inversions only the bass note matters. You can have the other notes in whatever order and it's still in the same inversion. & The notes are in different order but they are both in the same inversion. So the same goes with whatever bass note - the order of the other notes doesn't change the inversion (I know what you are after but it just doesn't work that way). So yeah, just notate it.

So yeah, I disagree with this too, since the inversion does just that, inverted the order of the notes in the chord. Though we have to clarify what we mean with "order", it's not the order of the strings played, it's the order of the notes played arranged by pitch from the bottom up.


Hope you guys aren't angry with me, as I wrote in the beginning, don't mean to disrespect you or pound my chest. This is just how I see things and it is a discussion in a forum after all So macashmack decide what you think makes more sense, of course we all seem certain of our statements, and thing is that different published music theory books say different things so that always adds confusion in these discussions and makes it close to impossible to determine who's "right"!

//Robert

Erm... Read my post. If we have a C major chord voiced like this: C G C E G or C E G C E, they are different voicings, they have the notes in different order but they are still in the same inversion. In inversions ONLY THE BASS NOTE MATTERS. If we changed the bass note to E for example and played the two different voicings like E C G C E G and E C E G C E, they would both be in the first inversion, even though the order of the notes is different. And no, I'm not talking about the string order, I'm talking about the order of the notes in the chord from lower to higher pitch (that is actually the string order too).

So my point is, C chord in its first inversion can have the notes in any order, as long as the bass note is E. For example E G C and E C G are both C major chords in the first inversion. So C major in the first inversion isn't necessarily voiced like E G C. It could be voiced like E C G C E G or whatever, as long as the bass note is E (and of course the other notes in the chord are chord tones of C major chord).
Quote by AlanHB
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 10, 2013,
#11
Quote by Arzosah
Well, now we've tried convincing each other through discussion, it didn't work. I've explained everything from my point of view and I'm confident I'm right, but you guys explain it well too and you're probably equally confident you are right, so I'll use my fauvorite phrase "lets agree to disagree"

But you're actually not correct. Maggara is.

Here's a hint that will benefit you in both UG's MT forum and life in general: Admit when you're wrong and learn from your mistakes.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 10, 2013,
#12
Quote by Arzosah
Well, now we've tried convincing each other through discussion, it didn't work. I've explained everything from my point of view and I'm confident I'm right, but you guys explain it well too and you're probably equally confident you are right, so I'll use my fauvorite phrase "lets agree to disagree"

In some aspects of music theory there is no right and wrong, in other aspects there are correct and incorrect understandings. Your understanding is not quite correct.


An inversion describes the bass note of the chord in relation to the other notes of the chord regardless of how those other notes are voiced.

An inversion specifies which chord tone is to be used as the bass note.

Slash chords do the same - describe a bass note in relation to the other notes in the chord regardless of how those other notes are voiced. They specify which note is to be used as the bass.

The bass is the lowest note. So you can not specify two bass notes at the same time because the lowest one will be the bass note and the other will not. So you can not have a slash chord in which the chord part of the notation is an inversion but a different note is used as the bass because it is specifying two bass notes and there is only one bass note.

Inversion is determined by the bass note. This is not a matter of agree to disagree it is a matter of fact.

C E G is a C major in root position.

C G C E is a C major in root position.


E G C is a C Major in first inversion

E C G C E is a C major in first inversion


G C E is a C Major in second inversion

G C G C E C is a C major in second inversion

Since inversion is determined by the bass note then using a bass note other than a chord tone will mean that however the chord over that bass note is voiced it is not an inversion because the bass note determines inversion.

For example C/B might be voiced as B G C E or B E G C E which is often the case when playing the chord in open position on guitar. (x22010 or x2x010). It's just a C major chord over a B bass (C/B). There is no inversion here because the bass note is not a chord tone.

D5/F# might help notate a specific voicing but it is still a D major triad in first inversion.
Si
#13
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Erm... Read my post. If we have a C major chord voiced like this: C G C E G or C E G C E, they are different voicings, they have the notes in different order but they are still in the same inversion. In inversions ONLY THE BASS NOTE MATTERS. If we changed the bass note to E for example and played the two different voicings like E C G C E G and E C E G C E, they would both be in the first inversion, even though the order of the notes is different.So my point is, C chord in its first inversion can have the notes in any order, as long as the bass note is E. For example E G C and E C G are both C major chords in the first inversion. So C major in the first inversion isn't necessarily voiced like E G C. It could be voiced like E C G C E G or whatever, as long as the bass note is E


If you by bassnote mean the lowest note in the chord, then I agree with everything you just wrote, all the other notes after the lowest note in the chord can be in whichever order. Maybe I misinterpreted your first message and started discussing against you when we mean the same thing, if so then I'm sorry for the confusion.


Quote by 20Tigers
An inversion describes the bass note of the chord in relation to the other notes of the chord regardless of how those other notes are voiced.


Precisely, I have never stated anything else, and if you got that impression please point me towards a quote where I was unclear about this and I'll clarify what I meant.


Quote by 20Tigers
Since inversion is determined by the bass note then using a bass note other than a chord tone will mean that however the chord over that bass note is voiced it is not an inversion because the bass note determines inversion.For example C/B might be voiced as B G C E or B E G C E which is often the case when playing the chord in open position on guitar. (x22010 or x2x010). It's just a C major chord over a B bass (C/B). There is no inversion here because the bass note is not a chord tone.


And this is the part we still don't agree on if you read my previous comments, and people stating who they think is right and wrong over and over won't change anything, not for me atleast. I'll gladly discuss further if you want, but please quote something I've actually written first since there seems to be some confusion about that.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Here's a hint that will benefit you in both UG's MT forum and life in general: Admit when you're wrong and learn from your mistakes.


When I'm convinced I'm wrong I have no problems admitting it, so prove me wrong and then I will, read the bottom of this post how to do that.


Quote by Arzosah
And now to what people often disagree on, which is the fact that the bassnote doesn't have to be in the chord formula.

But if you simply mean that the order of the notes you are playing from the bottom up is C D G B, for example on a piano to keep it easier to follow, then yes a C bassnote to a G chord in 2nd inversion (D G B) could absolutely be called G/C.


So to be clear, it's this you all disagree with me on? If so, note the chord formula in the first sentence, and the could in the last.


Ps. I will not answer the same questions or adress the same subjucts over and over, if nothing new is written I won't reply anymore now. If you wish to convince me then point me towards a reliable published source that states my arguments as incorrect, "I'm right because I say I'm right"-alike comments simply won't change anything for me.
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 11, 2013,
#14
Bass note is the lowest note of the chord, no matter what instrument plays it. Guitar chords aren't different to the chords the whole band plays. Guitar can play some of the chord tones and bass usually plays the bass note. So bass usually decides in which inversion the chords are played. You need to look at the big picture, not just what guitar plays.

And again, I understand what TS is asking but it can't be marked, other than by notating the chord. Chords can be voiced differently and they are still in the same inversion, as long as the bass note stays the same. Chord symbols can't tell which voicing to play, they can only tell which inversion to play. And inversion and voicing are two different things. The order of the other notes in the chord doesn't really even matter that much. It doesn't matter that much whether you decide to play the open C chord or the C barre chord on the 8th fret of E string. Or if you decide to add a G as the lowest note. If the bass still plays C, it's still in the same inversion because you have to look at the big picture, not just what guitar plays.

And no, these are not things you can agree or disagree with. You are either right or wrong.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
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Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 11, 2013,
#15
Okay, so to settle this once and for all with facts I started reading up, prepared to be wrong and admit it of course..

So first I got my "Bonniers music lexicon", it's in swedish so unless you read swedish there is no point in me quoting it word by word. The lexicon itself refered to what I believe to be reliable sources. I also browsed two english books to double check. I'll go over what I found, short and clear.

I was in fact correct in this statement: "But if you simply mean that the order of the notes you are playing from the bottom up is C D G B, for example on a piano to keep it easier to follow, then yes a C bassnote to a G chord in 2nd inversion (D G B) could absolutely be called G/C". Note the could, I didn't say always, if I said always I would be incorrect.

Don Latarski (author of a few music theory books; ex. An introduction to chord theory, Practical theory for guitar, Ultimate guitar chords etc.) states that what's after the slash can either point to an inversion or a bassnote, and that you can separate the bassnote from the chord formula, hence making it possible for a chord in the 2nd inversion to have an enterily different bassnote (no matter what instrument). The swedish lexicon says the same thing, though obviously in swedish

But as I've already written more than once, I don't disagree with all your statements, and if you've gotten that impression please quote me and I clarify what I meant. So me being right doesn't mean you guys being all wrong, it just means I wasn't wrong. For example if you have a C/E, it's always in 1st inversion since the E is in the chord formula, and the lowest note of the chord always decides which inversion it is, which I've never argued with.

As both me and cdgraves have written about, it depends on how you look at it, if you talk about the total harmony/the full sound of the orchestral/band then it's something else.
But.. that wasn't the question, the question was: "Can you put inversions over another note to make a slash chord? Ex. C D G B would be a G 2nd inversion/C?".
Short answer, yes you can.

Now if you have another reliable published book that says otherwise then I'm all ears and open for further discussion, if not then this matter is settled for me, many opinions versus one does not count as truth even if you wish it so. So no hard feelings I hope. I was prepared to admit I was wrong, so are you?

//Robert
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 11, 2013,
#16
Noone was disputing that...
Everyone agrees that C D G B (from bottom up) is G/C, and that whatever the inversion of the G, it will be put on top of C and make a G/C chord. The discussion centred around the fact that as soon as you have C in the bass, D G B no longer functions as a second inversion.

On a separate note, after I've held an instinctive dislike for slash chord notation (preferring classical equivalents like figured bass) for quite some time, I've realised that slash chords have their place. In this instance for example, I think it's the best way of notating this chord.
#17
Quote by National_Anthem
Noone was disputing that...


You mean you weren't disputing that, I've gotten several responses quoting me disagreeing and telling me I'm wrong, so..


Quote by National_Anthem
On a separate note, after I've held an instinctive dislike for slash chord notation (preferring classical equivalents like figured bass) for quite some time, I've realised that slash chords have their place. In this instance for example, I think it's the best way of notating this chord.


Discussion is good that way, when done with an open mind that is, which isn't always the case on internet Yes, I agree it has it's uses, and in some cases there are better ways to name the chord.

And I have realized I must be more clear from the beginning, to avoid confusement.
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 11, 2013,
#18
Quote by Arzosah
Okay, so to settle this once and for all with facts I started reading up, prepared to be wrong and admit it of course..

So first I got my "Bonniers music lexicon", it's in swedish so unless you read swedish there is no point in me quoting it word by word. The lexicon itself refered to what I believe to be reliable sources. I also browsed two english books to double check. I'll go over what I found, short and clear.

I was in fact correct in this statement: "But if you simply mean that the order of the notes you are playing from the bottom up is C D G B, for example on a piano to keep it easier to follow, then yes a C bassnote to a G chord in 2nd inversion (D G B) could absolutely be called G/C". Note the could, I didn't say always, if I said always I would be incorrect.

Don Latarski (author of a few music theory books; ex. An introduction to chord theory, Practical theory for guitar, Ultimate guitar chords etc.) states that what's after the slash can either point to an inversion or a bassnote, and that you can separate the bassnote from the chord formula, hence making it possible for a chord in the 2nd inversion to have an enterily different bassnote (no matter what instrument). The swedish lexicon says the same thing, though obviously in swedish

But as I've already written more than once, I don't disagree with all your statements, and if you've gotten that impression please quote me and I clarify what I meant. So me being right doesn't mean you guys being all wrong, it just means I wasn't wrong. For example if you have a C/E, it's always in 1st inversion since the E is in the chord formula, and the lowest note of the chord always decides which inversion it is, which I've never argued with.

As both me and cdgraves have written about, it depends on how you look at it, if you talk about the total harmony/the full sound of the orchestral/band then it's something else.
But.. that wasn't the question, the question was: "Can you put inversions over another note to make a slash chord? Ex. C D G B would be a G 2nd inversion/C?".
Short answer, yes you can.

Now if you have another reliable published book that says otherwise then I'm all ears and open for further discussion, if not then this matter is settled for me, many opinions versus one does not count as truth even if you wish it so. So no hard feelings I hope. I was prepared to admit I was wrong, so are you?

//Robert
The thing is, absolutely no one is going to say "G 2nd inversion/C". Yes, in theory, you're correct. However, it has no real world application. I really don't know what you Swedes have been learning music-wise, but you're basically making an argument akin to whether a gray pot is gray or light gray.
#19
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
The thing is, absolutely no one is going to say "G 2nd inversion/C". Yes, in theory, you're correct. However, it has no real world application.


I'll take that, I haven't stated anything else than you can, not that you always should Can we end this discussion without bad feelings you and me? You have been writing comments with a little bit of attitude towards me, why I'm not sure, have I offended you in any way? I don't want to make any enemies, I'm just here to discuss, okay?
#20
Quote by Arzosah
I'll take that, I haven't stated anything else than you can, not that you always should Can we end this discussion without bad feelings you and me? You have been writing comments with a little bit of attitude towards me, why I'm not sure, have I offended you in any way? I don't want to make any enemies, I'm just here to discuss, okay?

Attitude? I think you're reading too much into it all.

I don't have any bad feelings towards you. I just think what you're suggesting doesn't make much sense.
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Attitude? I think you're reading too much into it all. I don't have any bad feelings towards you.


[Edit] My replys was irrelevant to the discussion, I wrote you a private message instead.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
The thing is, absolutely no one is going to say "G 2nd inversion/C". Yes, in theory, you're correct. I just think what you're suggesting doesn't make much sense.


Among the people I know it makes total sense, and you just wrote I was correct in theory which I have also refered to I was according to published books, it doesn't have to make sense to everyone to be correct
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 12, 2013,
#22
Quote by Arzosah


Don Latarski (author of a few music theory books; ex. An introduction to chord theory, Practical theory for guitar, Ultimate guitar chords etc.) states that what's after the slash can either point to an inversion or a bassnote, and that you can separate the bassnote from the chord formula, hence making it possible for a chord in the 2nd inversion to have an enterily different bassnote (no matter what instrument). The swedish lexicon says the same thing, though obviously in swedish

//Robert

I would be interested to know if Don Latarski specifically said that the chord to the left could be an inversion? Or whether that was a conclusion you reached based on his claim that you can separate the bass note from the chord formula. I believe it is the latter. I will try to explain what is meant by separating the bass note from the chord formula and why this does not apply to inversions.
Quote by Arzosah

Quote by 20Tigers
An inversion describes the bass note of the chord in relation to the other notes of the chord regardless of how those other notes are voiced.


Precisely, I have never stated anything else, and if you got that impression please point me towards a quote where I was unclear about this and I'll clarify what I meant.


Quote by 20Tigers
Since inversion is determined by the bass note then using a bass note other than a chord tone will mean that however the chord over that bass note is voiced it is not an inversion because the bass note determines inversion.For example C/B might be voiced as B G C E or B E G C E which is often the case when playing the chord in open position on guitar. (x22010 or x2x010). It's just a C major chord over a B bass (C/B). There is no inversion here because the bass note is not a chord tone.


And this is the part we still don't agree on if you read my previous comments, and people stating who they think is right and wrong over and over won't change anything, not for me atleast. I'll gladly discuss further if you want, but please quote something I've actually written first since there seems to be some confusion about that.
Okay so what I wrote was not quite correct - there is an inversion there...but first...

We agree a slash chord is "chord"/"bass". We also agree that the voicing of the chord above the bass note in the case of chord inversions is irrelevant. Where we seem to disagree is in the case other slash chords.

What I believe you are saying is that that the chord to the left of the slash could be an inversion such as C major second inversion which would be played over a bass note to the right of the slash such as a B note.
i.e.
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x
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Which we both agree can be called C/B would, according to you, be something along the lines of C in second inversion over a B bass note.

Is this correct? Is this what you are arguing?

If it is then I can try to prove to you why this is wrong without reference to books, I would instead use a logical argument reductio ad absurdum.

This argument is actually why I noticed that I was wrong before when I said there was no inversion happening here when in fact there is
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is actually a Cma7 (C E G B) in third inversion which puts B as the bass note. B G E C.

So since we agree that an inversion describes the bass note of the chord in relation to the other notes of the chord, regardless of how those other notes are voiced, then it is nonsensical to consider this as C in second inversion over B since it is Cmaj7 in third inversion.

We can however call it C/B - This is what your guy was talking about when he said you can separate the bass note from the chord formula. We have Cmaj7 (C E G B) in third inversion. We can separate the bass note - the major seventh - out from the chord formula (C E G / B ) to make it simply C/B.

To then say that this chord is a C major in first inversion over a B bass note is about the same as taking a C major in first inversion, such as...
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and describing it as a C major in second inversion over an E bass.

It's nonsensical. Saying that a chord is in second inversion is saying that the G is the lowest note in the chord but it is clearly not. The lowest note in the chord is the note to the right of the slash. It is simply a C major chord in first inversion or C/E, which tells us that the lowest note is E.

When separating the bass note from the chord formula you are not separating the bass note from the chord - you are just separating it from the chord formula. For example A/F# gives us an A6 chord where the F# is in the bass. The chord formula for A6 is A C# E F#. Now because the F# is just in the bass we can separate the bass from the chord formula and we have A C# E over F# or A/F#.

We can not however separate the bass note from the chord inversion because the inversion is determined by the bass note.

Take for example G major in first inversion we would have G major in which the B is the lowest note (i.e. the bass note) G/B
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We would never consider calling this a G major in second inversion over a B bass note because G major in second inversion is saying that D is the bass note but it is not, B is the bass not which makes it G major in first inversion and NOT G major in second inversion.

Why then would we consider this
3
3
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to be a G major in second inversion over a C bass note? Answer: We wouldn't.

G major in second inversion is a G major chord in which the lowest note is D if the notation to the right of the slash says that in this chord the lowest note is to be C then the lowest note can not also be D. Therefore the G referred to on the left can not be a second inversion since that would require a D bass note and we don't have a D bass note, it is simply a G major chord over a C bass.

(It could be referred to as Gadd11/C but because the C is not doubled we can separate the bass note from the chord formula and simply use G/C)

With that said let us consider another situation. You are in a band and you have a bass player handling the bass for you as well as number of other instruments going on. Imagine the bass player plays an A bass while you play
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on your guitar.

You could look at your instrument in isolation and say that you are playing A in second inversion. You can do this because you have set the context that you are describing what you are playing in isolation of everything else that is happening musically.

However, as soon as you consider the music as a whole then you are simply playing an A major - not A major in second inversion over an A bass. You cannot separate the chord inversion from the bass note.

Further if the music called for an Aadd9 chord and the bass player were playing an A bass and you played...
9
10
9
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x
x
if you were describing what you were playing in isolation of whatever else is happening musically then you might describe this as an A/B but when you consider the A bass note it's Aadd9. Under no circumstances ever would it be an A major in first inversion over a B bass note over an A bass note since that would be notating three different bass notes when there can be only one.

When naming a chord the voicing of the chord above the bass does not matter so long as the notes contained make up the correct chord.

And while you can separate the bass note from the chord formula, you can not separate the bass note from the chord inversion - the chord inversion is determined by the bass note.

Is this argument enough or will you only be satisfied with references to books?
I could not find this addressed specifically by any book but can point you to plenty of references that explain inversions as chords in which a specific note is used as the bass. They go on to describe in great detail the primary purpose of the inversion to allow the use of a bass note other than the root to create bass lines in harmonic progressions that are not disjunct.
Si
#23
Quote by 20Tigers
I would be interested to know if Don Latarski specifically said that the chord to the left could be an inversion? Or whether that was a conclusion you reached based on his claim that you can separate the bass note from the chord formula.


My conclusion wasn't based ot that claim no, it was based on interpretation and examples where it was done, but note your own words could though! Because that's the thing, you could do it, but should you always do it? No, of course not, and I've never said that you always should.

Let's look at three examples where I myself would and why, both to answer the question about theory and "real world application" as crazysam23_Atax put it. I'll stick to situations on the piano to make it easy to follow:

Let's start with his original example: C D G B
So I am teaching my student a song, and the next chord is played with those notes in that order on the piano.
I tell her: "So the next chord is a G/C, with the G in 2nd inversion".
She imagines the G major triad, inverts it, takes the chord and then adds the C bassnote below with her left hand.
This is according to me, the by far easiest way I could explain how to take the chord.

Next example: A A C# E A C# -> B B C# E A C# -> D D B D F# A
So once again I have student at the piano, and these "chords" arrive.
And once again the easiest way to me is to say something like: "So now you play A, a triad in 1st inversion with an added C# note on the top, and then double A bassnotes below".
She imagines the A major triad, inverts it, adds the C# on top, and then the A A bassnotes with her left hand"
When the next chord arrives I say: "Now it changes to a A/B", right hand still plays the 1st inversion with the added C# note on top, but the left hand goes a major second up with both bassnotes" (see how I'm implying the inversion based on the lowest note in the chord in this context).
And then: "After that it's Bm7/D, root position and the double bassnotes goes a minor third up"

Last example: G B D G -> F# B D G
I say: "G in 1st inversion with single bassnote a major third down from the B" and then "To a G/F#, bassnote goes down a minor second"

So to everyone.. don't answer this with another set of examples, cause the point isn't that it's always the best way to label and/or explain, it's that it sometimes is. I'll gladly keep explaining and discussing further, BUT stick to the point, and quote things I have actually written to not add confusion.


Quote by 20Tigers
Okay so what I wrote was not quite correct - there is an inversion there...but first...

We agree a slash chord is "chord"/"bass". We also agree that the voicing of the chord above the bass note in the case of chord inversions is irrelevant. Where we seem to disagree is in the case other slash chords.

What I believe you are saying is that that the chord to the left of the slash could be an inversion such as C major second inversion which would be played over a bass note to the right of the slash such as a B note.
i.e.
0
1
0
x
2
Which we both agree can be called C/B would, according to you, be something along the lines of C in second inversion over a B bass note.

Is this correct? Is this what you are arguing?


Pretty much, your example translates to B G C E which we both agree could be called C/B yes. BUT the difference from alot of people discussing here is the definition of the "bassnote". I sometimes use the words "lowest note in the chord" instead of "bassnote", which is also written in alot of books I've read, otherwise my argument would be confusing to first have a "bassnote" in the chord and then another "bassnote"
So in simply terms, when the lowest note of the chord through whatever inversion is in fact the bassnote, which it is alot obviously then I can use "bassnote", if not then I use "lowest note in the chord".


We can not however separate the bass note from the chord inversion because the inversion is determined by the bass note.

And here is where we still disagree, you so we can't when using the term "bassnote", but I say yes we can since the inversion is determined by the "lowest note in the chord".


Quote by 20Tigers
When separating the bass note from the chord formula you are not separating the bass note from the chord - you are just separating it from the chord formula. For example A/F# gives us an A6 chord where the F# is in the bass. The chord formula for A6 is A C# E F#. Now because the F# is just in the bass we can separate the bass from the chord formula and we have A C# E over F# or A/F#


Since we separated the F# from the chord formula, we can also to simplify separate the "chord" from the lowest note and call that the "bassnote", hence making another note the lowest in the chord.


Quote by 20Tigers
And while you can separate the bass note from the chord formula, you can not separate the bass note from the chord inversion - the chord inversion is determined by the bass note.


And this I've already explained Sometimes it seems to me that you are only talking about the notation aspect of it, correct? Some of your arguments seem to imply that atleast, but I could be wrong so don't take any offense.


Quote by 20Tigers
They go on to describe in great detail the primary purpose of the inversion to allow the use of a bass note other than the root to create bass lines in harmonic progressions that are not disjunct.


Yes, still I'm not saying you always should separate chord from bassnote, I some concexts you absolutely shouldn't. There is more than once point of view here, and many different situations. If we are talking about one instrument, two, an orchestra, a band, the total harmony? Are we talking about notation, the sound, or a teaching situation? In my opinion this matters. That's why I keep underling can, and that I've never said always should.


Alright.. you (and some of the others) make good arguments, but so do I, with litterature to back me up. Maybe I can't convince you that I'm right, but you can't convince me either, so both may have a strong belief we are right. I'm not that arrogant to never give up and keep forcing you to change your mind, your way of writing leads me to believe you are an intellectual person, so for you to disregard my arguments and keep pressing your own would not suit you.

So maybe we should leave it at you believe you are correct, and I believe I am correct? Unless this long post convinced you that is


(Ps. no disrespect but I'm out of this discussion now, unless there is new relevant arguments/facts, or questions that haven't already been answered)
Last edited by Arzosah at Aug 12, 2013,
#26
Nobody cares what the lowest note of the chord is if it's not the bass note. You won't hear it that clearly. You will pretty much only hear the highest note and the bass note and what chord is in question (you hear the other notes too but bass note and the highest note are the most clear).

For example play C/B like this:
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x
And this:
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x

The first one would be C/B with C in second inversion and the second one would be C/B with C in first inversion. They both sound almost the same. And if you played them on a record where there are other instruments playing, you wouldn't even hear which one you would be using.

Also C/B with C in whatever inversion can be voiced in so many different ways (the highest note could be whatever). So I don't see a point in writing it as C 2nd inversion/B. The lowest non-bass note is almost meaningless.

You could mark it that way but it wouldn't really give you any more information as C/B. As I said, you could voice the C 2nd inversion/B in so many different ways. And you could make it sound almost exactly the same as C whatever inversion/B so I don't see a point in marking it that way.

As I have said in my earlier post, C 2nd inversion isn't always voiced like G C E. It could be voiced like G C G C E G or whatever.

I'm not saying you couldn't play C 2nd inversion/B but I just don't see a point in that. For example you could try playing the C chord like this (bass would play B):

x
5
5
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x
x

Or like this:

x
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3
x

I bet nobody would really hear a difference.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 12, 2013,
#27


Let's start with his original example: C D G B
So I am teaching my student a song, and the next chord is played with those notes in that order on the piano.
I tell her: "So the next chord is a G/C, with the G in 2nd inversion".
She imagines the G major triad, inverts it, takes the chord and then adds the C bassnote below with her left hand.
This is according to me, the by far easiest way I could explain how to take the chord.

...


...
Pretty much, your example translates to B G C E which we both agree could be called C/B yes. BUT the difference from alot of people discussing here is the definition of the "bassnote". I sometimes use the words "lowest note in the chord" instead of "bassnote", which is also written in alot of books I've read, otherwise my argument would be confusing to first have a "bassnote" in the chord and then another "bassnote"
So in simply terms, when the lowest note of the chord through whatever inversion is in fact the bassnote, which it is alot obviously then I can use "bassnote", if not then I use "lowest note in the chord".


Quote by 20Tigers
We can not however separate the bass note from the chord inversion because the inversion is determined by the bass note.

And here is where we still disagree, you so we can't when using the term "bassnote", but I say yes we can since the inversion is determined by the "lowest note in the chord".



Nope still disagree. The lowest note in the chord is the bass note. You can separate the bass note from the chord formula for the purpose of naming as in the C/B example previously discussed. But you can not separate the bass note from the chord - it is a part of the chord.

Having an inversion over a different bass is a self contradiction. The bass note is the lowest note in a chord. An inversion tells us which note is the bass note. If we then put another note underneath that one then it's no longer the same inversion.

Was going to discuss how using inversion to describe chord voicing will only work if you think all inversions are close position triads (they are not). However the post above me did a good job of hat.

Using inversions to explain voicing to students could have the side effect of inadvertently teaching them a misunderstanding of inversions. Just use notation or spell the chord from the bottom up. By using inversion to mean a specific voicing you are inviting misunderstanding. Applying labels to situations in which the context negates that label is never ideal.

It's like when someone breaks the major scale across the fretboard into seven shapes and labels each one using a modal name. A perfectly reasonable argument can be made as to why modal names were used to describe each of those shapes but the result is that students that are taught this method end up completely misunderstanding what modes are and what they are not.

Just because you might be able to take a part of something out of the larger context in which you found it, and then viewing it in isolation could apply a label or term to describe that small part doesn't mean you should. Further, if the larger context negates that label then you definitely should not use it.

It's clear though that we will not reach agreement.
Si