1.160 inversion

ES: inversión, I: rivolto, F: renversement, D: Umkehrung, NL: ?, DK: ?, S: ?, FI: käännös.

When a chord sounds with a bass note that differs from the root of the chord, it is said to be inverted. The number of inversions that a chord can have is one fewer than the number of constituent notes. For example, triads (which have three constituent notes) can have three positions, two of which are inversions:

Root position

The root note is in the bass, and above that are the third and the fifth. A triad built on the first scale degree, for example, is marked I.

First inversion

The third is in the bass, and above it are the fifth and the root. This creates an interval of a sixth and a third above the bass note, and so is marked in figured Roman notation as 6/3. This is commonly abbreviated to I6 (or Ib) since the sixth is the characteristic interval of the inversion, and so always implies 6/3.

Second inversion

The fifth is in the bass, and above it are the root and the third. This creates an interval of a sixth and a fourth above the bass note, and so is marked as I6/4 or Ic. Second inversion is the most unstable chord position.

See also

No cross-references.


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