[Smt-talk] "inversions"

Paul Lombardi lombardi at unm.edu
Wed Mar 19 10:26:29 PDT 2014

Dear Trevor,

Robert Hurwitz's unpublished textbook refers to them as five-three, six-three, and six-four positions. Also, the voicing terminology for open and closed position is referred to as open and closed construction. I find this terminology convenient.


Paul Lombardi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition, University of South Dakota
Lecturer III, University of New Mexico

> -----Original Message-----
> From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org [mailto:smt-talk-
> bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Trevor de Clercq
> Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:23 PM
> To: smt-talk Talk
> Subject: [Smt-talk] "inversions"
> Hi all,
> My students with some piano background often confuse chord inversions with
> what their right hand is doing, such as a "first inversion" chord means that the
> chordal third is played by the thumb of the right hand, even if the root is in the
> bass (left hand).  This misconception seems to be something derived from their
> previous piano pedagogy as far as I can tell.
> My question: Is there a technical term for different voicings of the right hand?  I
> realize I can't retrain the piano teachers of the world to use a different term.
> But does something like "first voicing," "second voicing" exist?  Maybe this is
> more a thread for the keyboard world, but it impacts my music theory teaching.
> Oh, and dear fundamentals textbook authors, PLEASE stop explaining and drilling
> inversions of chords using only the treble clef.  It reinforces this misconception
> and leads others down the same path.  I realize it's a convenience thing (cost of
> paper and ink), but it unnecessarily confuses so many of our students.
> Best,
> Trevor de Clercq, PhD (Music Theory, Eastman 2012) Assistant Professor
> Department of Recording Industry Middle Tennessee State University
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> (office) Ezell 104A
> 615-898-5821
> trevor.declercq at mtsu.edu
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