Chords in F Major – Inversions, Triads and Substitutions

Once you master a basic F major chord, it’s time to explore its various inversions. An inversion consists of notes played octaves below the original chord.

Triad chords consist of three notes and can sound vastly different due to intervals – the distance between notes.


Triad chords consist of three notes arranged in threes, which include a root note, third and fifth above it. They can be constructed from any notes in a major scale and come in various qualities including major, minor diminished and augmented chords – each having their own sound signature that can be found across keyscapes.

As a way of understanding the quality of a triad, it can be useful to consider its individual intervals that form its chord. For instance, in major triads the first and fifth notes each contain a perfect fifth with two minor thirds below; this allows major triads to produce such powerful sounds; by contrast, minor triads typically consist of two minor thirds which create dissonant sounds.

These interval qualities remain constant when moving triads to another key, so triads are generally described by their letter name and note interval used. Chords are further broken down using a figured bass symbol which indicates which note makes up its bass note and indicates which type of chord it is (for instance do (1) is always major whereas re (3) always minor).

Triads can also be modified by shifting the third note, creating what is known as a suspended chord (or sus chord). Suspended chords take an otherwise regular triad and remove its third note before replacing it either with either the 2nd note of the scale – known as suspended 2nd triad – or 4th note – suspended 4th triad, giving an unusual sound and open, ambiguous feel to it.

Other triads can also be altered in this fashion to produce other types of chords, for instance a major triad can be extended further to produce seventh chord sounds – although these types of sounds are less common nowadays and it may be easier to use seventh substitutes to create them.


Chord inversions are an excellent way to add variety to your chord progressions. Inversions consist of switching around the lowest notes on triads or extended chords to produce different sounds in music; adding inversions at the end of song sections can also create greater tension.

When discussing chord inversions, we often reference root, third, fifth and seventh. These elements serve as the building blocks of every chord and may be altered to change its overall effect.

Root notes of chords tend to be at the lowest notes; however, this doesn’t have to be true – inverting can alter its sound while making it easier for beginners.

Root position of a simple D major triad in root position is generally easy to play, with your thumb on D, middle finger on F# and pinky on A. However, inverting it so D is at the top makes playing it much harder because middle and pinky fingers must now be placed higher up on the fretboard. Therefore, practicing inversions to ensure smooth progression through song changes.

Doubling notes is another effective way to alter the sound and feel of a chord, known as voicing, that can give it fuller sound and make it appear fuller. Be sure to practice your voicings regularly so you can hear how they affect its sound and feel.

Inversions can be used in various ways, but their primary goal is to add variety and create unique emotional effects. Unfortunately, using inversions randomly can lead to problems; however, using them strategically keeps chord progressions interesting while even helping smooth out an overly-thick bass line.

Common progressions

Chord progressions provide the building blocks upon which melodies and rhythms are constructed. Knowing a few basic chord progressions will be invaluable whether you are learning theory, playing popular songs on an instrument, or creating original music – they provide an essential starting point to understanding various genres.

The I – IV – V progression is an increasingly popular chord pattern found across pop, rock and R&B genres. It often begins with an I chord, known as the tonic chord, which sets off this progression by creating movement and tension in its own right. You can alter its sound by employing different chord shapes, inversions and extensions.

Other cyclical chord patterns include the doo-wop schema (commonly referred to as root movement hotline) and ii-V-I chord progressions, both commonly used in rock and metal music to provide a stable base for melody. Otis Redding’s song, “Try a Little Tenderness”, makes use of these chord patterns by adding dominant sevenths into his doo-wop schema – another popular example being “Try a Little Tenderness.”

This chord progression offers ample room for melodies. With common tones between chords, creating melodies should be easier than ever. Try selecting more unusual chord progressions and see if you can compose one that sounds as good (or better!).

The 2-5-1 progression is an iconic chord sequence used in jazz music, often combined with descending fifths. You may also add power chords for added drama and weighty sound – something Rihanna and Lady Gaga songs exhibit as evidence of.

Remember when looking at these chord progressions that the V chord is a critical turning point in songs. Transitioning from dominant to I can add significant tension and emotion, making this chord progression particularly well suited for dramatic ballads that evoke emotions such as loss and longing.


Chord substitutions can add variety to your chord progressions by replacing dominant chords with minor or augmented versions that share the same root note, often by swapping out dominant for minor versions within a progression. The most straightforward substitution method involves swapping out Major chords for their relative minor versions as these share two notes in common and make for easy melodic transitions between original and substituted chords.

F major barre chord is one of the more difficult chords for beginner guitarists as it requires stretching across the fretboard. Therefore, practicing its various variants and learning how to play it in different keys will prove helpful in moving on and learning more difficult variants of it.

If you are having difficulty playing an F major barre chord, try muted strings with your strumming hand in order to simplify its strum and facilitate easier chord playing and more versatile rhythms/tempos without fear of clashes between notes. This should make it much simpler and also provide flexibility when changing up rhythms/tempos without worrying about notes clashing too much.

Add variation to your progressions by including chord extensions such as sixths and major sevenths into your progressions, which tend to be easier to play than standard major and minor chords and can give music an exotic sound. The Beatles employed this trick successfully on hits like “She Loves You” and “This Boy.”

Secondary dominant chords can add variety to your progressions by creating tension in the music and adding an edge that jazz music users frequently utilize for adding drama to the compositions. They resemble dominant chords in key of original song but are played one octave lower, creating tension and dramatic tension that is commonly used by jazz artists to heighten dramatic ambiance in their pieces.