The First Inversion of the Seventh Chord

Seventh chords are chord structures containing a seventh tone above the bass note. Acknowledging and recognizing these chords requires practice, an attentive ear, and knowledge of figured bass system.

A figured bass signature is a symbol that contains both slashes and numbers representing intervals above a given bass note, for instance 6/5/3 indicates an inverted chord.

First Inversion

The first inversion of a seventh chord is one of the more frequent arrangements, constructed using a tonic triad (root, third and fifth) with an added seventh above it. Like all seventh chords, however, this dissonant chord requires resolution and to do this, the seventh must drop one step to form a trio with three roots without a fifth root.

Seventh chords require special notation when labeling them musically, as they contain more notes than triads and often feature complex voicing patterns. Therefore, an inversion symbol with the number next to it must be placed before each number to indicate which inversion of the chord is being utilized.

Here is an A major 7th in first inversion, written as 6/4/3 or B-D-F-G in bass notation. While it might look difficult, using your pinky will make this chord less intimidating!

Second Inversion

A seventh chord in second inversion uses its fifth in the bass as its root tone, making it easier to identify intervals between that note and chord tones above it.

The second inversion of a seventh chord can be utilized to create cadential patterns that extend either the tonic or dominant notes, creating tension that needs resolving with harmony. In such instances, its dissonant seventh is used as a source of discordance which requires resolution through cadential patterns or resolution altogether.

This chord can also be used to switch keys when present with major seventh chords. Furthermore, its second inversion can often be found in sextuple time signatures which are widely employed in jazz and blues performances.

Third Inversion

Seventh chords in third inversion resemble triads very closely, except they contain one additional note than usual. As is the case for triads, their inversion depends upon where their seventh scale degree appears in the bass: when the seventh appears below or above it it indicates first or second inversion and so forth.

As with triads, seventh chords are comprised of intervals. Each individual note in the chord can be designated with either major, minor, or perfect qualities; there is also an interval that represents the relationship between the lowest (bass) note in the chord and its root note above it, known as root notes.

These steps outline how to create and play D major 7th chord inversions using piano keys with both treble and bass clef notation. You will learn to recognize these inversions by their chord symbol or figured bass notation notations.

Fourth Inversion

Seventh chords are more complicated than their triadic counterparts, as they contain four separate pitches and contain a dissonant seventh tone. Due to this complexity, they may present greater voice-leading issues; therefore special care must be taken during construction.

A seventh chord’s quality and scale degree are determined by its interval between its root note and one seventh higher up on its scale degree scale. Like triads, any note within a seventh chord can appear in its bass note location – in such instances, first, second or third inversion is indicated.

Oft times, bass notes are indicated by adding a “/” to the chord designation, for example C7/E would indicate that it contains C as its root note in its bass register. With jazz/pop symbols however, bass note indication is done simply by writing out each chord name with “/” preceding it; this practice isn’t mandatory but strongly suggested to avoid confusion. Also remembering that each of the inversions presented here represent just one possible voicing for them can help keep things organized!