Root position

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F major chord
Major triad on F in root position.png
Root position (F) Loudspeaker.svg Play  
Major triad on F in first inversion.png
First inversion (A6) Loudspeaker.svg Play
Major triad on F in second inversion.png
Second inversion (C6
4
) Loudspeaker.svg Play
Dominant seventh on F in third inversion.png
Third inversion of F7 chord (E4
2
) Loudspeaker.svg Play

The root position of a chord is the voicing of a triad, seventh chord, or ninth chord in which the root of the chord is the bass note and the other chord factors are above it. In the root position, uninverted, of a C-major triad, the bass is C — the root of the triad — with the third and the fifth stacked above it, forming the intervals of a third and a fifth above the root of C, respectively.

Root position

In the root position of G-dominant seventh chord, the bass note is G, the root of the seventh chord.

Root position

In figured bass, a root-position triad has no symbol, while a root-position seventh chord is notated with a "7".

According to The American History and Encyclopedia of Music:

Inversions are not restricted to the same number of tones as the original chord, nor to any fixed order of tones except with regard to the interval between the root, or its octave, and the bass note, hence, great variety results. [1]

Note that any voicing above the bass is allowed. A root position, or uninverted, chord must have the root chord factor in the bass, but it may have any arrangement of the third and fifth above that, including doubled notes, compound intervals, and omission (E-G-C, E-G-C-G', E-C'-G'', etc.)

See also

Related Research Articles

Figured bass

Figured bass, also called thoroughbass, is a kind of musical notation in which numerals and symbols indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones that a musician playing piano, harpsichord, organ, lute play in relation to the bass note that these numbers and symbols appear above or below. Figured bass is closely associated with basso continuo, a historically improvised accompaniment used in almost all genres of music in the Baroque period of Classical music, though rarely in modern music.

Chord (music) Harmonic set of three or more notes

A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches/frequencies consisting of multiple notes that are heard as if sounding simultaneously. For many practical and theoretical purposes, arpeggios and broken chords, or sequences of chord tones, may also be considered as chords in the right musical context.

Major chord Chord having a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth; e.g. C–E–G or F–A–C

In music theory, a major chord is a chord that has a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth. When a chord has these three particular notes, it is called a major triad. For example, the major triad built on C, called a C major triad, has pitches C–E–G:

Root (chord)

In music theory, the concept of root is the idea that a chord can be represented and named by one of its notes. It is linked to harmonic thinking—the idea that vertical aggregates of notes can form a single unit, a chord. It is in this sense that one speaks of a "C chord" or a "chord on C"—a chord built from C and of which the note C is the root. When a chord is referred to in Classical music or popular music without a reference to what type of chord it is, it is assumed a major triad, which for C contains the notes C, E and G. The root need not be the bass note, the lowest note of the chord: the concept of root is linked to that of the inversion of chords, which is derived from the notion of invertible counterpoint. In this concept, chords can be inverted while still retaining their root.

The term sixth chord refers to two different kinds of chord, the first in classical music and the second in modern popular music.

In music theory, a ninth chord is a chord that encompasses the interval of a ninth when arranged in close position with the root in the bass.

The ninth chord and its inversions exist today, or at least they can exist. The pupil will easily find examples in the literature [such as Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht and Strauss's opera Salome]. It is not necessary to set up special laws for its treatment. If one wants to be careful, one will be able to use the laws that pertain to the seventh chords: that is, dissonances resolve by step downward, the root leaps a fourth upward.

In music theory, a dominant seventh chord, or major minor seventh chord, is a seventh chord, usually built on the fifth degree of the major scale, and composed of a root, major third, perfect fifth, and minor seventh. Thus it is a major triad together with a minor seventh, denoted by the letter name of the chord root and a superscript "7". An example is the dominant seventh chord built on G, written as G7, having pitches G–B–D–F:

In music, a minor seventh chord is any seventh chord in which the third is a minor third above the root. Most typically, minor seventh chord refers to a chord in which the third is a minor third above the root and the seventh is a minor seventh above the root. For example, the minor/minor seventh chord built on C, commonly written as C–7, has pitches C–E–G–B:

Guitar chord

In music, a guitar chord is a set of notes played on a guitar. A chord's notes are often played simultaneously, but they can be played sequentially in an arpeggio. The implementation of guitar chords depends on the guitar tuning. Most guitars used in popular music have six strings with the "standard" tuning of the Spanish classical guitar, namely E-A-D-G-B-E' ; in standard tuning, the intervals present among adjacent strings are perfect fourths except for the major third (G,B). Standard tuning requires four chord-shapes for the major triads.

Second inversion

The second inversion of a chord is the voicing of a triad, seventh chord, or ninth chord in which the fifth of the chord is the bass note. In this inversion, the bass note and the root of the chord are a fourth apart which traditionally qualifies as a dissonance. There is therefore a tendency for movement and resolution. In notation form, it is referred to with a c following the chord position. In figured bass, a second-inversion triad is a 6
4
chord, while a second-inversion seventh chord is a 4
3
chord.

Inversions are not restricted to the same number of tones as the original chord, nor to any fixed order of tones except with regard to the interval between the root, or its octave, and the bass note, hence, great variety results.

First inversion

The first inversion of a chord is the voicing of a triad, seventh chord, or ninth chord in which the third of the chord is the bass note and the root a sixth above it. In the first inversion of a C-major triad, the bass is E — the third of the triad — with the fifth and the root stacked above it, forming the intervals of a third and a sixth above the inverted bass of E, respectively.

In music theory, an inversion is a type of change to intervals, chords, voices, and melodies. In each of these cases, "inversion" has a distinct but related meaning. The concept of inversion also plays an important role in musical set theory.

The augmented seventh chord, or seventh augmented fifth chord, or seventh sharp five chord is a seventh chord composed of a root, major third, augmented fifth, and minor seventh. It can be viewed as an augmented triad with a minor seventh. When using popular-music symbols, it is denoted by +7, aug7, or 75. For example, the augmented seventh chord built on C, written as C+7, has pitches C–E–G–B:

In music theory, the dominant seventh flat five chord is a seventh chord composed of a root note, together with a major third, a diminished fifth, and a minor seventh above the root. For example, the dominant seventh flat five chord built on C, commonly written as C75, is composed of the pitches C–E–G–B:

Seventh (chord)

In music, the seventh factor of a chord is the note or pitch seven scale degrees above the root or tonal center. When the seventh is the bass note, or lowest note, of the expressed chord, the chord is in third inversion Play .

Factor (chord)

In music, a factor or chord factor is a member or component of a chord. These are named root, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, and so on, for their generic interval above the root. In harmony, the consonance and dissonance of a chord factor and a nonchord tone are distinguished, respectively.

Musicians use various kinds of chord names and symbols in different contexts to represent musical chords. In most genres of popular music, including jazz, pop, and rock, a chord name and its corresponding symbol typically indicate one or more of the following:

  1. the root note,
  2. the chord quality,
  3. whether the chord is a triad, seventh chord, or an extended chord,
  4. any altered notes,
  5. any added tones, and
  6. the bass note if it is not the root.

In music theory, a diminished major seventh chord is a seventh chord composed of a diminished triad and a major seventh. Thus, it is composed of a root note, together with a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a major seventh above the root:. For example, the diminished major seventh chord built on C, commonly written as CoM7, has pitches C–E–G–B:

Third inversion

The third inversion of a seventh chord is the voicing in which the seventh of the chord is the bass note and the root a major second above it. In the third inversion of a G-dominant seventh chord, the bass is F — the seventh of the chord — with the root, third, and fifth stacked above it, forming the intervals of a second, a fourth, and a sixth above the inverted bass of F, respectively. In figured bass, it is referred to as a 4
2
chord.

Inversions higher than third

Inversions higher than the third require extended chords; the fourth inversion requires a ninth chord, the fifth an eleventh chord, etc.

If you're working with extended chords, there are more than two possible inversions. For example, the third inversion of a seventh chord puts the seventh in the bass; the fourth inversion of a ninth chord puts the ninth in the bass.

References

  1. Hubbard, William Lines (1908). The American History and Encyclopedia of Music, Vol. 10: Musical Dictionary , p.103. Irving Squire: London. [ISBN unspecified]. Also at the HathiTrust Digital Library