Triads in Second Inversion (Music Theory Lesson)



Triads in Second Inversion (Music Theory Lesson)

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While composers use root position and first inversion triads freely, second inversion usually occurs in three situations.

Like first inversion, second inversion may be used to smooth out a bass line.




Look at this example -- notice the movement of the bass line.




By placing the V chord in second inversion, the bass line moves by step and becomes smooth.




When used in this fashion, a second inversion triad is called a passing six-four chord.




Second inversion may also be used to straighten a bass line.




Look at this example -- notice how the bass line jumps up to the F and then returns back to C.




By using a second inversion IV chord, the movement in the bass line is eliminated.




A second inversion triad used in this fashion is called a pedal six-four chord.




The cadential six-four chord is the final and most noticeable use.




In this form, the second inversion triad preceeds a V chord in a cadence. Often, the cadence will sound stronger due to the cadential six-four's presence.




Examine the cadential six-four chord and its resolution to V.




Some theorists prefer to identify the cadential six-four chord as a V with two nonharmonic tones.








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