# 5.9 Seventh chords: root position and inversions

 Category: Harmony | Tags: Chords, Seventh chords

### Theory

In Chapter 2.11 Root position and inversion you’ve learned about inversions of triads. In this chapter, you will learn about inversions of seventh chords. You will learn that there are three kinds of inversions, namely the first inversion, the second inversion and the third inversion. In the videos and examples I show how to make first inversions, second inversions and third inversions. You learn to recognize first, second and third inversions and you are goning to make them yourself in the exercises.

## 1. Root position and inversion

When playing the root of the seventh chord as the lowest tone, this is called the root position.
When not playing the root of the seventh chord as the lowest tone, it is called an inversion.

If a seventh chord is inverted, the root is not the lowest tone. The lowest tone is the third, the fifth or the seventh.
There is one inversion with the third as the lowest tone, there is one inversion with the fifth as the lowest tone and there is one inversion with the seventh as the lowest tone.

### An example with a seventh chord built on A

A seventh chord built on A is comprised of the tones A C E G, A is the root.

When playing the seventh chord with A as lowest tone, we get the root position, for example:

• A C E G
• A E G C

When A is not the lowest tone, we get an inversion, for example:

• C G A E
• C E G A
• E G A C
• E C G A
• G E C A
• G A C E

### Examples

Root position and inversion of the A chord.

## 2. The first inversion

When a seventh chord is played with the third as the lowest tone, it is called the first inversion.

### Examples

Root position and first inversion.

## 3. Making first inversions

### Examples

Which tones do you get if you make first inversions on the natural notes?

## 4. Six-five chord

Another name for the first inversion of a seventh chord is: a six-five chord.

### Examples

The structure of the six-five chord.

Six-five chord is abbreviated by 6/5 chord.

## 5. The second inversion

When a seventh chord is played with the fifth as the lowest tone, it is called the second inversion.

### Examples

Root position and second inversion.

## 6. Making second inversions

### Video

Which tones do you get if you make second inversions on the natural notes?

## 7. Four-three chord

Another name for the second inversion of a seventh chord is: a four-three chord.

### Examples

The structure of the four-three chord.

Four-three chord is abbreviated by 4/3 chord.

## 8. The third inversion

When a seventh chord is played with the seventh as the lowest tone, it is called the third inversion.

### Video

Root position and third inversion.

## 9. Making third inversions

### Video

Which tones do you get if you make third inversions on the natural notes?

## 10. Two chord

Another name for the third inversion of a seventh chord is: a two chord.

### Examples

The structure of the two chord.

Two chord is abbreviated by 4/2 chord.

## 11. Practise

Harmony exercise 5d: practise recognizing the position of a seventh chord from musical notation.

Harmony exercise 5e: practise determining the position of a seventh chord.

Harmony exercise 5f: practise determining the lowest tone of an inversion.

### Making inversions of seventh chords

Harmony exercise 5g: practise making inversions of seventh chords with given root.

Harmony exercise 5h: practise making inversions of seventh chords on the natural notes.