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Inversions #2807998 01/28/19 08:26 PM
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jazzpig Offline OP
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A little background on myself.
I played accordion as a kid and now trying to learn piano.
I'm learning on my own for the time being, Alfred Song Books, scales, chords, Hanon drills, with the intention of finding a teacher once I get most of it under my belt.

I have very good dexterity and control with my right hand, most of my efforts are towards working on left hand technique, When playing 7th chords, in all their variations, I find playing inversions more comfortable for my left hand and smoother transitioning within certain chord progressions.

Is it essential to play chords starting from root notes or are inversions just as valid?
I would prefer to learn proper technique from the start rather than try to break habits later on.

Thanks

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808000 01/28/19 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jazzpig
I would prefer to learn proper technique from the start rather than try to break habits later on.


Well, now that you said that …..

If you really mean that …..

You need to get a teacher BEFORE you "get most of it under my belt".

Which …. BTW … is the same answer you were given 5 years ago.

It is still the correct answer.



The answer to your question is ….. Inversions are just as valid.



Last edited by dmd; 01/28/19 08:40 PM.

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808040 01/29/19 12:06 AM
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I think you are ready for a teacher now. I never studied Hanon. My teacher started me with Cherney. I was exposed to a lot of technique with those exercises. She would then select a piece from my classical book that demonstrates the technique.

I showed up for my first lesson able to read notes comfortably that fall within the ledger lines, some familiarity of the scales of major keys and stuff I learned reading sheet music singing in the choir. It had been decades since I had taken a piano class in high school and 2 terms of music theory in college.

I was thankful that she pretty much started me from scratch. And because I didn't have too many bad habits to break we accomplished so much in my first year. In my second year, I was able to complete the 40 Pieces in a Year Challenge by August!

I wish you the best in your musical journey and you probably already know that this forum is a great resource for information & support. 😀

Last edited by LadyAcadia; 01/29/19 12:09 AM.

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Re: Inversions [Re: dmd] #2808050 01/29/19 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by jazzpig
I would prefer to learn proper technique from the start rather than try to break habits later on.


Well, now that you said that …..

If you really mean that …..

You need to get a teacher BEFORE you "get most of it under my belt".

Which …. BTW … is the same answer you were given 5 years ago.

It is still the correct answer.



The answer to your question is ….. Inversions are just as valid.



You're edited remark prompted me to revisit my earlier posts. I started this process back then and fell off from it for a number of reasons and got back on the horse a little while ago. I'm further along than back then but reading that post I realize how my mindset is almost exactly the same as it was then, even in my wording. It's pretty spooky actually. Thanks for the nudge. BTW, deep down I know you're right about finding a teacher now…..I'm such a stubborn prick though.

Last edited by jazzpig; 01/29/19 01:24 AM.
Re: Inversions [Re: LadyAcadia] #2808051 01/29/19 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyAcadia
I think you are ready for a teacher now. I never studied Hanon. My teacher started me with Cherney. I was exposed to a lot of technique with those exercises. She would then select a piece from my classical book that demonstrates the technique.

I showed up for my first lesson able to read notes comfortably that fall within the ledger lines, some familiarity of the scales of major keys and stuff I learned reading sheet music singing in the choir. It had been decades since I had taken a piano class in high school and 2 terms of music theory in college.

I was thankful that she pretty much started me from scratch. And because I didn't have too many bad habits to break we accomplished so much in my first year. In my second year, I was able to complete the 40 Pieces in a Year Challenge by August!

I wish you the best in your musical journey and you probably already know that this forum is a great resource for information & support. 😀

Sounds like you found the right path and enjoying great success.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808157 01/29/19 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzpig

Is it essential to play chords starting from root notes or are inversions just as valid?


For solo piano you need to pay attention to the lowest note. This defines the bass line which helps make the piece recognizeable. So, no, not any inversion is just as valid. If you are presented with a G chord, the lowest note heard should be G.

The notes g, b and d make up a g chord and no matter where the notes are played, or the order they are played in, it is still a g chord. But, not any chord bass note will do.

Once you have established the bass note though, the rest of the chord notes can be played in any configuration you can possibly imagine and it is still a root chord.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808171 01/29/19 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzpig
Is it essential to play chords starting from root notes or are inversions just as valid?


It depends on the specific chord in the specific piece you're playing. The only way to know is to play it both ways and listen. Slash chords are supposed to be played in the given inversion, the imperative is less clear for root position. As always, try it as written, then try what you feel like trying.

The next step is to learn to not play chords -- not big muddy left hand block chords. Break them up, arpeggiate, drop notes that don't work, move some notes up to the right hand....


-- J.S.

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808178 01/29/19 10:30 AM
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Slash chords indicate an alternate bass note. Non slash chords indicate a root bass. Any inversion is valid for right hand, or how you play the chord after the bass is established. But, you first need to establish the bass note. Otherwise you are altering the arrangement. Also fine, but if you like the arrangement, why would you bother?

Rootless chords and random bass note may work great when you have a bass player to establsh the bass and keep the song on track, but doesn't work well with solo piano.

Last edited by Greener; 01/29/19 10:31 AM.
Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808226 01/29/19 12:54 PM
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This is a perfect example of why a teacher can help.

You asked a seemingly simple question and got 4 or 5 varied responses.

All of them may be correct depending upon the situation in which they are being played.

A teacher would probably discuss this with you and help you understand.


With this method (ask on piano forums) you will need to figure out which is correct/wrong/possible ….

Good Luck


Last edited by dmd; 01/29/19 12:54 PM.

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808232 01/29/19 01:15 PM
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I'd say, the inversions are important, fingering is somewhat personal, but understand how chords have their significance is most important

Most music, rarely you will find chords only in root or inversions, rather any combination of those notes imply that chord.

So if you have c major 7 chord then any combination of c e g b, any combination of those notes in both hands would equate to c major 7

playing the inversions and now how it feels under your hands will help you identify the chord better, but its really not that important playing it with "correct" fingering in each inversion as you may think, its far more significant knowing the harmony you are playing...

you might play c e g in left hand and in right you might play e g b, neither of those are inversions exactly of c major 7 for each hand, but it is still c major 7 chord.

Last edited by Jitin; 01/29/19 01:15 PM.

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808238 01/29/19 01:33 PM
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Agree, that a teacher will easily straighten this out. Confusion comes when you think of the chord as tight cluster of notes and what order the notes should be in. In reality though, the order does not matter for any inversion, but the note played below whatever inversion you choose does matter. So a Gm7 in you RH can start on F, G Bb or D and so long as you play a G below all of this in your LH, it is still a Gm7 in root position. In stride you just need to play the G bass note and then pick any order you like for the cluster at the top of the stride. Again, it is still in root position, since the bass establishes the inversion. The bass note matters and is not negotiable if you want to be true to the arrangement.

Re: Inversions [Re: Jitin] #2808327 01/29/19 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jitin
I'd say, the inversions are important, fingering is somewhat personal, but understand how chords have their significance is most important

Most music, rarely you will find chords only in root or inversions, rather any combination of those notes imply that chord.

So if you have c major 7 chord then any combination of c e g b, any combination of those notes in both hands would equate to c major 7

playing the inversions and now how it feels under your hands will help you identify the chord better, but its really not that important playing it with "correct" fingering in each inversion as you may think, its far more significant knowing the harmony you are playing...

you might play c e g in left hand and in right you might play e g b, neither of those are inversions exactly of c major 7 for each hand, but it is still c major 7 chord.

This is pretty much the gut feeling I had about this. It's not like I want to become a concert classical pianist, but I do want to learn the proper way and then use it the way it best suits me.

I find that playing most 7th chords from a root position (with left hand) is a real challenge physically. It feels like I'm contorting my fingers and they get trapped in the keys. I don't know if this a result of me trying to learn this later in life with older hands, or something that is overcome with practice, it feels so unnatural. I would love to hear your experience on this.

Thanks so much for the feedback to this point. Most importantly, it's helped me decide on finding a teacher much sooner than I originally intended. Not because this wasn't helpful but I realize I'm spinning my wheels way to much with stuff and I need the benefit of someone's knowledge and direction to get to where I want to be.

Re: Inversions [Re: Greener] #2808330 01/29/19 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
.... if you want to be true to the arrangement.


Ah, there's the key word: arrangement. Are you playing a carefully crafted arrangement, or is it just a lead sheet? Either way, try it as written first, then try your own ideas. Listen.




-- J.S.

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Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808340 01/29/19 07:08 PM
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Funny how with classical we wouldn't dare change an arrangement, but with a lead sheet anything is game? If you have a good lead sheet arrangement and you change the bass line, well fine if you like, but not how the piece goes and it will be noticed.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808343 01/29/19 07:11 PM
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DMD be nice please. It is not always easier for adults to go to a teacher. I found it hard to go back as an adult after many years as a child learning. This is a beginner forum so please make your point a bit nicer.

Jazzpig I dont think you need practice chords. I myself picked up this skill from pieces slowly from a teacher and we normally do it in pieces. Most beginner pieces I learnt had the tune and chords in the base. This I think is the most enjoyable and simpliest method. Here is a simple this example here you have two chords - C major and G major 7th, which I think is in its first inversion.



A teacher will make it easier but you can learn on your own if you have reasons not to want a teacher. I do think it can help. Generally its easier to go at earlier rather than later.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808348 01/29/19 07:15 PM
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Maybe I was wrong, maybe its G min 7th, first inversion.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808364 01/29/19 07:47 PM
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The chords are C and G7/B. So 1st inversion of G7. Don't see a Bb so not minor. In this case sure try a G bass, and D bass and F bass with the G chord. A good example of how the texture changes. Most people will want to hear the B bass because it is how they remember the piece going.

Re: Inversions [Re: Greener] #2808483 01/30/19 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Greener
Funny how with classical we wouldn't dare change an arrangement, but with a lead sheet anything is game? If you have a good lead sheet arrangement and you change the bass line, well fine if you like, but not how the piece goes and it will be noticed.

Yes, with a lead sheet, anything is game, because of the simple fact of what a lead sheet is, namely not an arrangement. A lead sheet, by definition, does not have an arranged bass line. So you have to improvise your own bass line or chord arrangement, etc. Or in other words: If it has an arranged bass line, it’s not really a lead sheet anymore.

From Wikipedia:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
A lead sheet is a form of musical notation that specifies the essential elements of a popular song: the melody, lyrics and harmony. The melody is written in modern Western music notation, the lyric is written as text below the staff and the harmony is specified with chord symbols above the staff.

The lead sheet does not describe the chord voicings, voice leading, bass line or other aspects of the accompaniment. These are specified later by an arranger or improvised by the performers[1], and are considered aspects of the arrangement or performance of a song, rather than a part of the song itself.

Re: Inversions [Re: jazzpig] #2808502 01/30/19 06:36 AM
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Suggest not relying on dictionaries when learning how to play. The question was about chord inversions and playing chords. I was taught this way and not making this stuff up. Do you really think that when someone charts a grand staff they know exactly what the bass line should be, but when they chart a lead sheet they have no clue and don't care?

Pieces are made up of chords and not any bass will do.

Last edited by Greener; 01/30/19 06:43 AM.
Re: Inversions [Re: Greener] #2808568 01/30/19 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Greener
. Do you really think that when someone charts a grand staff they know exactly what the bass line should be, but when they chart a lead sheet they have no clue and don't care? .


Where do you get those wonderful well arranged lead sheets? The ones I've seen can be OK, or they can be very mundane and prosaic. "Don't care" may be putting it a tad strong, but there's not much to be enthusiastic about in many of them.

Indeed, not any bass will do. But often you can do better than what's on the paper.


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