So, I know a chord, no matter what order the notes are played in, is still that chord. For example, a simple Em triad is E, G, and B. Root, b3, P5. But what if the root was G? Root, 3, Maj6. That's not a chord formula I've ever heard, but the chord does sound good (its an Em, technically) but say it resolves to G. The same if you make the root B. Does this mean that all chords have at least 3 names, excluding 5th chords? Just something I thought about earlier today. Wondering what you guys thought about it.
I suppose if something sounds good, and you can find a use for it, then you should play it.

What you're describing is either an "inversion", (and you can Google that, as I have no immediate plans of typing a lengthy explanation), or a, "slash chord".

Slash chords are notated in this fashion, "X/Y". Where "X" is the name of the chord, then the slash "/", and "Y" is the name of the bass note to be played for the chord in question.

So, let's call your chord Em/G. Very simple really. An E minor chord, with a G note in the bass.

Slash chords are often used to indicate a "walking bass line", while the chord remains the same.

Something along these lines: A/C#, A/B, A/A. (C# 4th fret, 5th string, B 2nd fret 5th string, the the A, which obviously, is the tuned note of the string

Or using a C major open chord as an example this, C/C, C/B, C/A and finally G/G, would walk the bass down the 5th string, to the 6th string, allowing a smooth transition to a G major chord.

Reverse the order, G/G G/A, G/B & C/C, and you walk the change from G major to C major.

If you were asked to do so, you could provide a name for the actual chords being produced. For example: C/C (C major), C/B (C maj7) C/A (C6 or Am7 same notes in the 2 chords, and finally G/G (plain old G major).

Does that help?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 19, 2013,
Everything Captaincranky is correct, but to be clear: "slash chords" (telling you which bass string to use to play a note with) is not the same things as inversions.

I'll try a simple summary of inversions: you are right, EGB is an Eminor triad, or in Eminor a "i chord" (that is, "minor one in E minor").

GBE = i^6 chord (a "sixth" chord, so called because, as you point out, the G and E form a Maj6 interval)

BEG = i^(6/4) (a "six-four" chord, so called because the the interval from B to G is a minor sixth and the interval from B to E is a perfect fourth)

As I'm sure you've already found out, these inversions do have different sounds -- most people think i sounds the most "grounded", i^6 less "grounded", and i^(6/4) less grounded still, for example.

That's the basics, this notation (while a bit arbitrary) is pretty standard, and it extends to seventh chords, ninth chords, and beyond.
Last edited by NathanFrost at Oct 19, 2013,
Quote by NathanFrost
Everything Captaincranky is correct, but to be clear: "slash chords" (telling you which bass string to use to play a note with) is not the same things as inversion.
This is where this topic can get bogged down a bit in semantics. But what the hell.

"Em/G" actually is an "inversion". (1st inversion I think).

So, a slash chord CAN be an inversion, but not all slash chords are inversions. Some would obviously fall into the category of "extended chords". (When notes occur outside the basic triad).

Now see what you did, I was trying to "simplicate" the issue. A bit too much perhaps....?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 19, 2013,
Right, Captaincranky, Em/G is 1st inversion (i^6).

I forgot to mention that for a triad:
i^6 = first inversion
i^(6/4) = second inversion

I like your simplication just fine, Captaincranky. Maybe Serephim does too?
Hopefully, yes,

Not only should he have a better understanding of chord construction, but where to buy a Michael Kors belt as well......
It's best to learn about inversions separately, because of how so many of them serve a clear and distinct harmonic function.

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