What is the best method to learn all chords AND their inversions in all keys ?

Example key C: CM7 Dm7 Em7 FM7 Gdom7 Am7 Bdim7

  • Just get on with it. Each one is different, and as such, needs learning. How can there possibly be a 'best' method'?
    – Tim
    Oct 13, 2016 at 20:11
  • 1
    You can't learn all the chords in all the keys (the number is HUGE when you consider all possible voicings), but you can learn patterns, and a good place to start would be by picking a scale (e.g. E major) and getting familiar with the common sequences such as ii - V - I or IV -V -I.
    – Old John
    Oct 13, 2016 at 21:16
  • Kiiiiiinda sorta related: music.stackexchange.com/questions/42999/… Oct 13, 2016 at 23:13
  • Thanks to all for reply . I Have used 2-5-1 from key g down to f sharp. Thanks to topo morto for diatonic name for what I was tying to say.. Regards learning the chords, I was going to use the circle of fifths from Key of C clockwise ,thereby adding only one sharp at a time.
    – user33981
    Oct 14, 2016 at 17:06

3 Answers 3


Learn to play and practise arpeggios. Start with roots, then when you're good play first inversions, a couple or three octaves should do. Get to know which notes actually make up a chord - CM7 = C,E,G,B; Fm7 = F Ab C Eb, etc. Do them hands together and singly. Then split chords between hands and play as block chords as well.

  • Learn them in one key
  • Realise that the pattern is exactly the same in any other key (just shifted up or down a number of semitones)
  • Then, whatever practice you do, make sure you do it in different keys so that you get used to playing in different keys. That could mean playing scales and arpeggios in different keys; playing different songs that are in different keys; practicing transposing the same song into different keys... whatever you enjoy doing.

I've never "learned all chords in all keys"*, but I could still tell you what they are. Just like I've never "learned what six added to every number is", but I could still add six to any number.

*BTW, you could say diatonic chords in a key if you wanted to make it clear that you're only talking about chords including notes from the key.

  • 1
    It's quite difficult shifting up or down a number of semitones to produce the same chord in a different key, on keyboard. On guitar, it's simple, but not so on piano, with its irregular black/white 'pattern'.
    – Tim
    Oct 14, 2016 at 8:49
  • @Tim The keys are still basically in a row, though, so I don't find the pattern to be too much of a distraction; for basic chords you're typically only needing to 'see' gaps of small numbers of semitones, too. I'm sure everyone has different things they find easy/tough though! Oct 14, 2016 at 11:38

You haven't mentioned your instrument; if it's guitar there is a solution. Learn chord forms that do NOT utilize any open strings. These forms are readily transposed on guitar to any key. You will find that these movable forms are typically related to certain fixed chord forms, such as the E, A, D, C, and even the G. After you master the movable forms from 7s (and 6s) through 13s, then address the fixed forms.


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