This article may contain compensated links. Please read the disclosure for more info.
What are chord inversions for piano? Piano chord inversions are chords played with the notes in a different order.
When you learn to play piano, it is important to study and learn the basic musical patterns which you'll find in almost all piano repertoires. These basic patterns are scales, chords, and arpeggios. Here we'll take a closer look at piano chords inversions.
In this piano lesson, you'll learn how to study piano chord inversions. You'll learn how to play inverted chords and what fingering to use with my free printable piano chord inversions PDF charts.
Best of all, in this lesson, you will learn how chords are inverted, which means that you won't need the charts anymore! :)
By learning to use the correct fingers and play the chord patterns in all 12 keys, you will master more difficult music easier and with less effort. You'll also be able to move from one chord to the next in a smooth way, playing chords in a progression. Here is a handy guide.
The good news is that all chords share the same fingering in all keys for each chord inversion! All chords should be practiced "blocked" (all notes played simultaneously) and "broken" (play one note at a time from the bottom-up).
You can start with one set of piano chord inversions (1 octave) and then add more octaves as your confidence grows!
Let's take a closer look!
Well, it depends on how many notes there are in the chord!
But, let's start with one of the most basic piano chords: a Triad. Triads are 3-note chords. Since they have 3 notes, major and minor triads can (by rearranging the notes) be played in 3 different positions. They are the
In the root position, you should use fingers 1-3-5 in the right hand and 5-3-1 in the left hand for all keys in both major and minor. (Even when playing on black keys!) Here you can get my printable piano chords chart with only chords in root position.
A major triad in root (the basic) position has the notes spaced a third apart. The bottom third is a major third (2 whole steps apart), and the top third is a minor third (1 1/2 whole steps apart).
The lowest note, the "root", gives the name to the triad/chord. For example; this is a C major triad or chord:
Of course, you can play a triad starting from any key on the piano. Just count 2 whole steps (or 4 half steps) from your starting note (counting as 1) up to the next. Then 1 1/2 whole steps (or 3 half steps), up to the last note. The two intervals that build a major triad are one major third (C-E) and one minor third (E-G).
A minor triad has the notes spaced "the other way"; The bottom third is a minor third, and the top third is a major third:
In the first inversion, you will use fingers 1-2-5 in the right hand and 5-3-1 in the left hand for all keys in both major and minor. A major or minor triad in 1st inversion is simply re-arranged so that the root has been moved one octave higher.
As you take a closer look, you'll see that the distance (interval) between each note in a major triad is now a minor third (E-G) and a perfect fourth (G-C).
In the minor triad, the intervals are instead a major third (E♭-G) and a perfect fourth (G-C).
In the second inversion, you will use fingers 1-3-5 in the right hand and 5-2-1 in the left hand. This you will use for all keys in both major and minor. Changing the chord from the 1st to the 2nd inversion is done by moving the bottom note one octave higher.
The intervals between the notes in a major triad in the 2nd inversion is a perfect fourth (G-C) and a major third (C-E):
In minor it is a perfect fourth (G-C) and a minor third (C-E♭):