Chord inversions


#1

I get how to make a chord inversion but can someone explain to me why they’re labeled as such? For example, if we take an open E triad;

-----x-----
-----x-----
-----x-----
-----2----- (E)
-----2----- (B)
-----0----- (E)

We invert the chord by removing it’s bass note and adding in a major or minor third.

E Maj (Inv) E Min (Inv)

-----x----- ----x----
-----x----- ----x----
-----1----- (G#) or ----0---- (G)
-----2----- (E) ----2---- (E)
-----2----- (B) ----2---- (B)
-----x----- ----x----

Since the root is now B, why isn’t this a just called a B chord? I know it’s also referred to as an E/B or Em/B, I just don’t get the inversion label. :neutral_face:


#2

I don’t know the answer, but I’ll try anyways. :grin:

Your E example isn’t really a triad because it really only has 2 notes (you have E note 2x).

It wouldn’t be a ‘B’ chord because the root, 3rd, and 5th of B is B, D# and F# and an E chord contains E, G#, and B.

So the question you really wanna ask is what chord is it if I have B, E, G#? Root, 4, 7 ? that’s not a chord… It might have a name, but it’s pretty weird.


#3

[quote=“AC, post:1, topic:6756”]I get how to make a chord inversion but can someone explain to me why they’re labeled as such? For example, if we take an open E triad;

-----x-----
-----x-----
-----x-----
-----2----- (E)
-----2----- (B)
-----0----- (E)

We invert the chord by removing it’s bass note and adding in a major or minor third.

E Maj (Inv) E Min (Inv)

-----x----- ----x----
-----x----- ----x----
-----1----- (G#) or ----0---- (G)
-----2----- (E) ----2---- (E)
-----2----- (B) ----2---- (B)
-----x----- ----x----

Since the root is now B, why isn’t this a just called a B chord? I know it’s also referred to as an E/B or Em/B, I just don’t get the inversion label. :neutral_face:[/quote]

It’s not called a B chord because a B chord has the Following notes. B, D#, F# for major, and B, D, F# for minor. Your example is just an E chord with the notes written in different order. (Inversions).

You wrote this as your 1st chord in this example:

Grathan’s right. It’s really only 2 notes so it’s and interval. E-B. A perfect 5th. One of my drinking buddy’s favorite intervals… :smile:
You need to add the 3rd of the E chord on the 3rd string. (G for minor, G# for major).

-----x-----
-----x-----
-----0-----
-----2----- (E) E MINOR CHORD, EGB, Notice the open string G
-----2----- (B)
-----0----- (E)

-----x-----
-----x-----
-----1-----
-----2----- (E) E Major chord, E,G#,B, Notice the G# played on the 3rd string.
-----2----- (B)
-----0----- (E)

You got it right here in the examples below.

We invert the chord by removing it’s bass note and adding in a major or minor third.

E Maj (Inv) E Min (Inv)

-----x----- ----x----
-----x----- ----x----
-----1----- (G#) or ----0---- (G)
-----2----- (E) ----2---- (E)
-----2----- (B) ----2---- (B)
-----x----- ----x----

Then you ask the question.

Since the root is now B, why isn’t this a just called a B chord? I know it’s also referred to as an E/B or Em/B, I just don’t get the inversion label.

Because the “B” (The 5th of the chord is in the root.) It’s still an E chord. E, G#, B, but rewritten) You invert the chord again by putting the 3rd in the bass.

Remember chords are made of 2 interval pairs. A major 3rd E-G# ) and a minor 3rd G# B (E major) . Or a minor 3rd (E-G) and a major 3rd. (G-B)

Chord inversions are just playing the same notes but not in that major3rd/minor3rd order for major or minor3rd/major 3rd for minor.

Let’s take Your E Major chord and go look at the inversions.

E, G#, B (Major 3rd, minor 3rd)
G#, B, E (Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th)
B, E, G# (Perfect 4th, Major 3rd.)…

Those are the inversions for the triads. It’s the intervals that make for the color differences. When it starts getting interesting is when you add the 7th’s. Then you have 2 triads in effect. E, G#, B, D# ( an E Major chord and a G# minor chord played together. and then work through the inversions.

And the last of your question…

I know it’s also referred to as an E/B or Em/B, I just don’t get the inversion label.

When reading charts I call these slash chords. Your 1st example (E/B) just indicates it’s an E chord with the 5th (B) in the bass. Same with your 2nd except Eminor with B in the base. Slash chords are usually used to indicate that the guy writing the chart wants you to put a particular note in the bass. In other words he wants you to play the bass line or double with the bass player.

Be aware that I have played with some guys that interpret E/B as a B major chord with an E in the bass. They’re wrong, but when you start playing charts with Slash chords with others, it’s a good thing to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

I always like Slash chords when I saw them come up in a chart, cause I wouldn’t play the chord, just the bass line, seeing as I’m lazy… :smile:


#4

Excellent info, thanks! The key that I missed is thinking of a triad as three notes on a music staff whereas it’s three musically separate notes.
Technically, since the first example chord has two notes, is that considered a double-stop?


#5

[quote=“AC, post:4, topic:6756”]Excellent info, thanks! The key that I missed is thinking of a triad as three notes on a music staff whereas it’s three musically separate notes.
Technically, since the first example chord has two notes, is that considered a double-stop?[/quote]

Yep, or a power chord, or an interval (Perfect 5th). Anytime you play 2 notes simultaneously it’s considered a double stop.


#6

Ok, I see now. The two notes made me believe that it’s literally two tones and I always wondered why it had it’s own designation.
Thanks again! I love learning this stuff.