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Five to seven note chords

Now we introduce the 9ths, 11ths and 13ths.

  • Add a 9th to a 4 note chord (to make a 5 note chord).
  • Add an 11th to a 9th chord (to make a 6 note chord)
  • Add a 13th to an 11th chord (to make a 7 note chord)

Compound intervals imply the presence of their preceding 3rds.

  • A 13th chord implies the presence of an 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th and 3rd.
  • An 11th chord implies the presence of a 9th, 7th, 5th and 3rd.
  • A 9th chord implies the presence of a 7th (or 6th), 5th and 3rd.

Five note chords, C9

A 9th implies the presence of a triad and 6th or 7th.
C9 = C & V7 & 9.

diatonic scale C = C D E F G A B C D
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
chord C9 = C   E   G   Bb   D
chord Cm9 = C   Eb   G   Bb   D
chord C9sus4 = C     F G   Bb   D
chord C7b9 = C   E   G   Bb   Db
chord C7#9 = C   E   G   Bb   D#
chord C7b9#9 = C   E   G   Bb   DbD#
chord C9+ = C   E   G#   Bb   D
chord C7b9+ = C   E   G#   Bb   Db
chord C7#9+ = C   E   G#   Bb   D#
chord C6/9 = C   E   G A     D
chord Cmaj9 = C   E   G   B   D

Six note chords, C9#11

Sharp 11 and major 3rd go together. Diatonic 11 and minor 3rd go together. Never write a diatonic 11 with a major 3rd.

C11 is used by some arrangers to mean, diatonic 11th and no 3rd. We don't use this chord. We write instead C9sus4. They mean the same thing. You cannot write a diatonic 11th with a major 3rd.

If the chord has a sharp 11th and diatonic 5th we enclose the diatonic 5th in brackets. The diatonic 5th may be used for a melody passing note or for rhythm section bass, but not for the voicing of frontline instrumentation. When you have a sharp 11th the addition of the diatonic 5th to the voicing weakens the chord.

diatonic scale C = C D E F G A B C D E F
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
chord C9#11 = C   E   (G)   Bb   D   F#
chord C7b9#11 = C   E   (G)   Bb   Db   F#
chord C7b9#11+ = C   E   G#   Bb   Db   F#
chord Cmaj9#11 = C   E   (G)   B   D   F#
chord Cm11 = C   Eb   G   Bb   D   F

Seven note chords, C13#11

C13 and C13#11 are the same chord. Major 3rd and sharp 11th stick together. Americans generally write C13. Australians generally write C13#11.

diatonic scale C = C D E F G A B C D E F G A
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
chord Cmaj13#11 = C   E   (G)   B   D   F#   A
chord C13#11 = C   E   (G)   Bb   D   F#   A
chord C13#11b9 = C   E   (G)   Bb   Db   F#   A
chord Cm13 = C   Eb   G   Bb   D   F   A
chord C13sus4 = C     (F) G   Bb   D   F   A

As explained above: If the chord has a sharp 11th and diatonic 5th we enclose the diatonic 5th in brackets. The diatonic 5th may be used for a melody passing note or for rhythm section bass, but not for the voicing of frontline instrumentation. When you have a sharp 11th the addition of the diatonic 5th to the voicing weakens the chord.


Music Theory


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