Advanced Chords tutorials
8. 9th chords
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So I feel like we're getting close to the end. Are we getting close to the end?

  1. Topics of discussion
  2. Major 9th chords
  3. Dominant 9th chords
  4. Minor 9th chords
  5. Minor 9th flat five chords

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be taking a look at 9th chords. So, let's have some fun.

2. Major 9th chords

Major 9th chords, notated as maj9, are fairly easy to understand. They are basically maj7 chords, on top of which we add another note, the 9th note, to be exact. Thus, the formula for these chords is 1 3 5 7 9. As you can see, there are quite a few notes there that need to be played, in theory at least. In practice, as long as you have the 7 and 9 notes, that should suffice.

Given the formula above, the notes for the Cmaj9 chord are C E G B D. One way in which you can play a Cmaj9 chord is the following one:

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Cmaj9 chord

And here it is played back:

An A form like variant for Cmaj9 is the following:

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Cmaj9 chord

And here it is played back:

Now that our fingers are irreversibly stretched, let's look at the G form:

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Cmaj9 chord

And here it is played back:

Going into an even weirder shape, let's look at the E form:

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Cmaj9 chord

And here it is played back:

Finally, let's look at the D form:

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Cmaj9 chord

And here it is played back:

3. Dominant 9th chords

Dominant 9th chords, notated with the 9 digit, are formed by adding the 9th note on top of a dominant 7th chord. Thus, the formula for these chords is 1 3 5 ♭7 9.

The C9 chord consists of the C E G B♭ D notes. Here are some ways to play it. First off, the C form:

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C9 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the A form:

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C9 chord

And here it is played back:

The next in line is the G form:

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C9 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, we have the E form:

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C9 chord

And here it is played back:

Finally, let's look at the D form:

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C9 chord

And here it is played back:

4. Minor 9th chords

Minor 9th chords are formed by adding the 9th note on top of a minor 7th chord. Thus, the formuls for these chords is 3 5 ♭7 9.

The Cm9 chord consists of the C E G B♭ D notes. Here is the most common way to play it:

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Cm9 chord

And here it is played back:

And...this is quite possibly the place where the CAGED system reaches its limit and usefulness in playing chords. There are simply too many notes and too few fingers in order for you to be physically able to play these chords using the forms from the CAGED system.

That's not to say you cannot play minor 9th chords in other places. Some other ways in which you can play a Cm9 chord are the following:

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Cm9 chord

And played back:

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Cm9 chord

Played back:

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Cm9 chord

Played back:

5. Minor 9th flat five chords

And finally, we arrive at minor 9th flat five chords, notated as m9(♭5). These chords are formed by adding the 9th note on top of a m7(♭5) chord. Thus, the formula for them is ♭3 ♭5 ♭7 9. Also worth noting is that the CAGED system can't really be applied for these chords either.

The notes for the Cm9(♭5chord therefore are C E♭ G♭ B♭ D. Here are some ways to play it:

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Cm9(♭5) chord

And played back:

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Cm9(♭5) chord

And played back:

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Cm9(♭5) chord

And played back:

That about covers it for this tutorial. In the next one, we are going to add another note in the mix when we talk about 11th chords. See you then.

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