I have a question about triad inversions. I read the sticky and know what they are but I didn't see where the sticky explained what they were used for and why they are useful. Can someone help me out with this. Also, just to make sure I understand this, the second inversion of C major would be played with a G note as the bass note correct? If you wanted to invert C major to it's second inversion, playing the standard open C chord, all you would do would be to add the G on the 3rd fret 6th string right? Thanks and feel free to correct me. I'm not trying to act like i know what I'm talking about, this is just what I've been able to gather. Thanks again.
G would be the first inversion, and that is one way you can do it. E would be the second inversion which you could do obviously playing the regular open C chord adding the open E string.
it seems like you understand how to 'build' them. using them is something of feel really, I do not know much theory about inversions but personally I think they can give a different feel to the chord. Also using inversions is a good way to add complexity to your music; taking from your example, say you're in the key of C and you want to go to the V chord, which is G. instead of going to V it might be more interesting to use the 2nd inversion of C here, obviously depending on the rest of the progression, but you get the idea, let the bass note 'suggest' one way to go while the notes above it are a different way. hope that helps!

EDIT: you are correct in that when G is the bass note that is called the 2nd inversion or a VI, IV chord. It is said like this; "C major has a C in the bass, C six four has a G." I forgot why they call it a six-four chord or what its called when E is in the bass but I know you're right about when the 3rd is in the bass its the 1st inversion and when the 5th is in the bass its the 2nd inversion. wow wall-o-text. peace out
Last edited by wyantsm at Jun 17, 2008,
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
G would be the first inversion, and that is one way you can do it. E would be the second inversion which you could do obviously playing the regular open C chord adding the open E string.

A C chord with an E in the bass is actually first inversion, and a C chord with a G in the bass is 2nd inversion.

Threadstarter: one use of inversions is to give cadences different strengths. Resolving from a root position V to a root position I is stronger than, say, first inversion V - root I, or root position V to first inversion I (weaker cadences aren't necessarily bad: they can be good if you don't want to imply that your piece is over).

Also, a second inversion I chord often precedes a dominant. Say we're in C: you have second inversion I -> root position V -> root position I. The first chord has C E and G, with G in the bass. Going to the V, the G in the bass stay the same, but the C and E resolve to B and D, respectively. In my theory classes, this second inversion I was considered to be part of the dominant, but I don't think everyone considers that to be the case.

As for your second question, yes.
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Macabre_Turtle, E in the bass is actually the first inversion, while G in the bass would be the second inversion.

Inversions are super useful for voice leading. Playing (this progression is non diatonic) Gmaj7 - Dmaj7 - Am, playing that with all roots in the bass can sound choppy and separated. If you were to voice lead, you could even create a chromatic descending bassline. Gmaj7 with D in the bass (2rd inversion) Dmaj7 with C# in the bass (3rd inversion) and Am with C in the bass (1st inversion).

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My bad, guys. I thought It was another inversion each time you moved a note from the top of the chord to the bottom.