Advanced Chords tutorials
7. Added tone chords
av_timer5 minute read

So these chords have like a different shading added to them or what?

  1. Topics of discussion
  2. Added tone chords
  3. Add9 chords
  4. Add11 chords
  5. Add13 chords

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be looking at the many different types of added tone chords. So, let's have some fun.

2. Added tone chords

Added tone chords are chords obtained by playing one of the basic triads with a note added on top of it. Wait, have we heard this before? The answer of course is yes, since it's basically the same technique used to play 7th and 6th chords. In the following we will focus on chords which are notated with addNUMBER, where the number signifies what note we will add.

The added tone chords which we will talk about make use of compound intervals, mostly because we will be adding the 9th11th and 13th notes on top of triads. The resulting chords therefore are:

  • add9 chords - obtained by playing a triad on top of which we add the 9th note of the major scale (which is basically the second note, but an octave higher); the formula for them is 1 3 5 9
  • add11 chords - obtained by playing a triad on top of which we add the 11th note of the major scale (which is basically the fourth note, but an octave higher); the formula for them is 1 3 5 11
  • add13 chords - obtained by playing a triad on top of which we add the 13th note of the major scale (which is basically the sixth note, but an octave higher); the formula for them is 1 3 5 13

One thing you may notice when playing these chords is that each of them has a similar vibe to anoither type of chord we've already learned. Add9 chords have a similar vibe to sus2 chords, add11 chords have a similar vibe to sus4 chords and add13 chords have a similar vibe to 6th chords. Add13 and 6th chords actually use the same shapes.

This of course is due to the note that is added to each of these added tone chords, which is the same for their corresponding chord, except an octave higher.

Unlike previous tutorials, we will only be discussing two chord qualities for each of these chord types. In short, we will be looking only at major and minor added tone chords. The reason is due to the fact that if we augment or diminish the main triad, we will get a chord that has a completely different name and feel. For example, a Caugadd9 chord is usually referred to as E7/C, because we have the E, G# and D notes, which are used to form an E7 chord and which also give us the main feel of the chord.

3. Add9 chords

Let's try and form as added tone C chords now. Let's try the Cadd9 and Cmadd9 chords:

EADGBEX312X
Cadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Here's another way to play it, using an A form:

3EADGBEX3431X
Cadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

You see the subtle difference between add9 and sus2? Both have a D note in there, but add9 chords have all the triad  notes (C, E, G) as well. Let's move on to the G form now:

5EADGBE411113
Cadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Now, the E form:

8EADGBE112431
Cadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

And finally, let's move on to the sort-of-like D form:

8EADGBE4123XX
Cadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Now that we have stretched our fingers into oblivion, you know what we could do to mend them? Look at minor add9 chords. First off, Cmadd9 in the C form:

EADGBEX413X
Cmadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Let's move on to the A form:

3EADGBEX2431X
Cmadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the G form:

5EADGBEXX3124
Cmadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

The next one is the E form:

8EADGBE111431
Cmadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

Finally, the D form:

8EADGBE4113XX
Cmadd9 chord

And here it is played back:

4. Add11 chords

Add11 chords function in a similar fashion to add9 chords. We will change it up a bit and learn how to play the Dadd11 chord in more shapes than one. First off, the C form:

EADGBE22134X
Dadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the A form:

5EADGBE14311X
Dadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Some of you with a keen eye might say: "Wait a minute, that G note over there is NOT an octave higher from the root note. What gives?". Yes, the theory states that the note should be an octave higher. The idea is that in practice, these theoretical rules are more guidelines rather than something set in stone. So yeah, even though technically it's not an octave higher, the chord is still a Dadd11 chord.

With that in mind, let's move on to the G form:

7EADGBE411132
Dadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the E form:

10EADGBE112311
Dadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Finally, the D form:

10EADGBE4132XX
Dadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Now that these are done, let's move on to minor add11 chords. First off, Dmadd11, the C form:

EADGBE33124X
Dmadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the A form: 

5EADGBE12311X
Dmadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Next up, the G form:

7EADGBEX31124
Dmadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Let's now look at the E form:

10EADGBE111311
Dmadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

Finally, the D form:

10EADGBE4132XX
Dmadd11 chord

And here it is played back:

5. Add13 chords

Add13 chords are basically identical to 6th chords. I don't want to waste your time here, since the forms have been discussed in the previous tutorial. You can take a look at that one for more details.

That abour covers it for this very short tutorial. In the next very short tutorial, we will be talking about 9th chords. See you then.

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