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Preparation, Presentation, and Reinforcement: Triads and Inversions

February 28, 2014

Many teachers are absolute sticklers for proper fingering in triads and inversions. I am one of these teachers. Witnessing an incorrect fingering creates an unreasonable anxiety, quite possibly out of proportion with the fingering infraction. Knowing this about myself, and less selfishly, knowing the importance of establishing “friendly habits,” I have begun to take special care in introducing this skill.


By just taking a few moments in each lesson, triads and inversions can be prepared over several weeks. These videos illustrate just one way to introduce triads and inversions.  Please click on the underlined words to view the videos:



STEP ONE:  Keyboard topography through stones on the keys:



STEP TWO:  Triads and Inversions with One Finger (Thank you to Craig Sale and Judith Jain for this great idea!)


I repeated step one for a few weeks before moving on to step two.  Finally, I moved on to the fingering we use to play triads and inversions:



STEP THREE:  Triads and Inversions with Logical Fingering


Once introduced, a lot of reinforcement was needed:



Triads and Inversions: Left Hand Blocked


Triads and Inversions: Right Hand


This student performed her first piece using triads and inversions (Inversion City, Music Tree 3 – Clark/Goss/Holland, used with permission).   She transposed to several different keys.


I am confident that this student will continue to grow in her security with this important skill.



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This site is created by the faculty of the New School for Music Study, a division of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

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