Your first Piece
We Are Young
First things first, dont panic! This isnt as complicated as it
sounds, its a simple technique that will make your songs sound a
lot better and also give you much more choice in choosing what to
play when you see a chord symbol.
Up until now you have been playing all your chords in what is
known as root position, this means playing the note with the same
name as the chord as the lowest note of your chord.
C Major Chord
The C Major chord shown above is in root position because the
C note is on the bottom, but hold on a second, what if we dont play
C at the bottom, but we play it at the top like this.
C Major Chord first inversion denoted as C/E
Notice that its still the same chord, C Major. It contains the
same notes as your regular C Major chord, but the root note (C)
is now at the top. Try playing this and comparing the sound it makes
with the regular C Major chord, it sounds slightly different but
has the same quality as the normal C major chord. You can play this
version of the chord almost anywhere you see a C chord specified.
If they specifically want you to play this version of the C chord
then they would denote it as C/E. This means "play me a C chord
but use E as the bottom note".
How many such inversions are there for a particular chord? Well
simple maths tells us that for a 3 note chord there are three possible
ways to play it. Either with the C on the bottom, the E on the bottom
or the G on the bottom. The third way to play the C chord is shown
below, with G on the bottom.
C Major chord second inversion, denoted as C/G
For a four note chord such as C7 (C E G A#) there are four possible
ways to play it. With either the C, E, G or A# on the bottom. Try
out each of the different ways of playing this chord and see how
they sound. It may take you a while to work out the chord in the
new positions but believe me its well worth the effort.
This applys to any chord you may care to come across, they can
all be played inverted to give a slightly different feel to the
Well thats all there is to inversions, they are a simple yet powerful
way of giving yourself much more freedom when choosing what notes
to play for a given chord.
Now what you need to do is go back to some of the songs you did
on the previous pages and try to play them using some inverted versions
of the chords. Experiment with this, try different inversions on
different chords, play some chords in their root positions(the position
you have always been playing them in) while playing others in their
inverted positions. You'll soon find that you can get a much nicer
sound by using the inverted versions of the chords at the right
times. A good song to try this with first would be Under
the bridge. This song sounds good no matter what position you
play the chords in.
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