Extended chords

We’ve already looked at the basic major and minor chords, but there are far more possibilities than just these two chords.

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Chord inversions

Chord inversions are fairly straightforward, but easy to confuse at first! There are as many inversions as notes in a chord, so in a three note chord there are three inversions, a four note chord has four possible inversions and so on.

First we’ll look at the names of the inversions, then how they apply to three note chords then at four note chords.

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Cadences

Cadences are found at the end of a musical phrase, and especially at the end of a piece. There are different types of cadences to signal different things. Certain cadences are also only appropriate in minor or major keys. I’ll talk about a few of the more common, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

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Circle of fifths

The circle (or cycle) of fifths is often shown as a diagram showing how the key signatures are all linked, with major keys in red in the diagram below and minor keys in green. It is named the circle of fifths as the keys are a fifth away from each other as you go around the circle clockwise. So C to G is a perfect fifth, G to D is a perfect fifth and so on.

You can see the major keys on the outside in red, and their relative minors in green on the inside of the circle.

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