A Cheat Code To Chord Inversions On The Piano

How To Play Chord Inversions On The Piano

Chord inversions may sound like a complex musical concept. But, with a simple ‘cheat code’ you can up the level of your playing … even with basic chords!

We will be using concept covered in “The Theory Behind Creating Major and Minor Chords”. If you haven’t read this yet, please click on the link above so this article makes a lot more sense.

Why We Use Chord Inversions

While ‘home’ chords are a fantastic place to start, there are some inherent challenges. Namely, they aren’t always next to each other on the piano. And, that can lead to challenges in finding and playing all the chords in a timely manner. This is where chord inversions make a piano players life much easier.

It allows a piano player to be a bit ‘lazy’. Not in terms of thinking, but that you find a way to play that requires less effort with maximum results. This becomes especially important when you need to quickly and seamlessly move between a series of chords.

What Are Chord Inversions?

Have you ever made a pancake? When you flip the pancake, you invert or change the position of the pancake. What was once the top of the pancake is suddenly the bottom.

This is surprisingly similar to how chord inversions work!

There are two types of chord inversions:

  • 1st inversion: we’ve inverted the notes once
  • 2nd inversion: we’ve inverted them a 2nd time.

The best way to see how this looks on the piano is to use something to show the relationship between notes. In my studio, I often use like gems (polished glass) or Lego pieces. It can be anything that is not able to fit between the piano keys.

How To Create Chord Inversions

Choose a chord, like C Major. Place your gems on each note of the home chord.

  • 1st inversion: move bottom note up an octave (next C)
  • 2nd inversion: move new bottom note up an octave (next E)

To start, I would recommend playing these in order. Both solid (all notes at the same time) and broken (one at a time).

To see what this looks like, watch the video below or click here.

Chord Inversions On The Piano

As always, the best way to really learn a new concept is to practice and experiment with it! In the video above, I give an example of a fantastic activity that will have you creating music in no time.

Just remember that chord inversions are a way of changing the order you play the notes in any chord. The notes stay the same. But, by changing which order you play those notes you can change the mood or sound of a chord.

Does it help having the gems or can you visualize chord inversions without them?

If you like this approach to learning piano, click to set up an interview to join our online piano studio!

Leave a Reply

Ready To Learn Piano?

Our next 3-week INTRO sessions begin the week of August 6th!  

Perfect for beginners of all ages.  Limited lesson spots available. 

Register below or click here for more details.

Sign Up Today!