Part-writing Inverted Chords: Primary Triads In First Inversion

“Great title, Doc,” you say, with possibly just a tinge of sarcasm. “But what in the world is an inverted chord? How can a term like that even make sense?”

Admittedly, it can be a bit mind-boggling to try to imagine how a chord—which is, after all, just a particular sort of sound—can be turned bottom-uppermost. But in music theory “inverted” and “inversion” have specific technical meanings—yes, sadly, more than one. But let’s look at the meaning appropriate to this context.

In previous Hubs on part-writing—see the sidebar link below the picture for a summary—we have seen that triads are built upwards from a tone which we call the “root.” Above the root we find two other “chord tones”: the third and the fifth. And in each case, the root of the triad has also been the chord tone found in the bass—hence the term “root position.”

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