Inversions

Lesson
Materials


Learning to play inversions, if you haven’t already, is really helpful for playing melody. When you can play chords easily in different positions, placing the melody on top becomes that much easier.

There are standard ways to learn inversions. These are generally referred to as triads. This is a great way to develop muscle memory. A piano technique book can help you with the fingering and notes here (you’ll need to read music). See below in the resources.

How an inversion works is by taking the lowest note you’re playing in a chord (in one hand), and putting that note on top. Or vice versa.

For example: C E G becomes E G C.

The point we want to bring home here is that if you always play your chords in root position, this is a great time to start breaking out of that.

2 Approaches to Improving Inversions

  1. Structured approach. Use a technique book and steadily learn more inversions with structured practice.
  2. As you play, try playing a chord in a different spot. Steadily try things out, break out of root position and get moving around the keyboard.

Both approaches are helpful and useful.

Exercise

Play any major scale (can start with C if you like), play it as the melody putting the chord below.

You can make this as easy or difficult as you want. For example, C scale and chords C, F, G. Or C scale and chords C, Dm7, C, FM7, G7, Am7, G, C.

G scale has 1 sharp – F#. If you try this scale, you can use chords G, C and D.

Resources:

Inversions explainer, exercises and video on Piano Lessons Info.

Technique book with triads and fingering.

Free inversions sheet music practice – downloads (this is from the Facebook post I mentioned in the video).

Also look out for the extra inversion lessons within the Piano Chords Club.