Lesson Plan

Chord Inversions

Students will learn inversions of triads & seventh chords in major and minor.

Students will be able to:

- identify and build triads and seventh chords in major and minor modes

- build chords in 6, 6/4, 7, 6/5, 4/3, and 4/2 inversions

- notate inverted chords on the staff

- understand how the chords relate to the scale

music theory
Grades 11 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 What is harmony?

Activity: Assessing

Teacher plays two patterns on the piano: a melody and a harmony.  Ask students what the difference between example A and example B are.

Student Instructions

Students identify the differnces between a melody and a harmony.

2 Review: What are Chords?

Create a T-chart of :

- what we know about chords (covered in a previous lesson)

- what we are still confused about with regard to chords

Review information that students are confused about before starting inversions.

The chart may be displayed on the SmartBoard.

Student Instructions

Students can add to the chart by raising their hand and telling the teacher what they know/what they are confused about, or students may have iPads at their desk and the chart may be a shared document, so all can add anonymously.

3 Review: Build Triads

Free, Paid

Displayed on the SmartBoard, teacher models several chords (triads and sevenths), and then asks students to come up to the board and build certain chords using Noteflight. All chords are in root position at this time.

Make sure to sound the chords either on the piano or in Noteflight, and discuss which scale degrees make up each chord.

Student Instructions

Students build chords on the SmartBoard using Noteflight.

4 Build Inversions

Activity: Creating

Teacher creates musical staff (treble and bass clef) on floor with masking tape or other large tape.  Teacher chooses a gorup of students to stand on certain notes on the staff so they make a "human chord." Teacher manipulates students into different chordal positions to teach inversions.

Teacher plays each of these chords the students make on the piano so students can hear the difference in timbre, quality, etc between the different inversions.

Teacher can "change the key" by asking a student to place accidental signs (written on a sheet of paper) onto the correct line or space to create the new key.

Repeat to teach all chordal inversions.

Student Instructions

Students stand on the musical staff as notes to create different types of choral inversions.

5 Recap: Captain Broccoli Video

Activity: Other — Reviewing

Teacher plays Captain Broccoli video which reviews chordal inversions:


Teacher instructs students to watch the video and write down two points that it helped clarify.

Student Instructions

Students watch video and write down two points the video helped clarify.

6 Assessment: Build Inversions

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Teacher gives students nmeumoinc device to help remember the order of inversions: Inversion Hotline = 664-765-4342.

Teacher gives students chords to create on the board. 

Student Instructions

Students create chords in different inversions on the board. Students may begin by creating chord in root position and moving chord members around to end up in the correct inversion.

Students must make sure to "play" the sound of the completed chord so their classmates hear the differences in the quality of the different inversions.