Spice Up Simple Chord Progressions

October 23, 2012

Pedagogy

Let’s face it. Some pop tunes have very simple chord progressions. You can really get bored rolling through three chords for an entire tune. It is also not as interesting to listen to three root position chord, played in first position, over and over. Chord inversions are a simple way to spice up a simple chord progression.

A triad is a three-note chord that consists of a root, third, and fifth. Chord inversions are playing the chord so that the lowest note sounding will not always be the root of the chord (the chords name, by the way) but the third or the fifth.
If the root is the lowest note of the chord sounding the chord is in root position.
If the third of the chord is the lowest note sounding the chord is a first inversion chord.
If the fifth of the chord is sounding the chord is a second inversion chord.

Here is a video demonstrating chord inversions from the key of A (chords A, D, E). I am using a pedal tone, a consistent bass note over changing chords, to demonstrate how this can be useful in acoustic guitar playing. Here is a chord diagram of the inversions I used in the video.

What are some techniques you use to “spice” up a chord progression?

 

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