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Chords Part 6 9th,11th and 13th Chords

 

Once you move beyond 7ths and start adding notes from higher up the scale (.eg. 9ths, 11ths, 13ths) there is one very important thing to remember.

*** All of these chords must have a 7th in them ***

Just as there are 3 types of 7th chord (7th, min 7th, maj 7th) you end up with 3 types for 9th 11th and 13th chords by simply adding to the basic 7th chord.

To get a 9th chord, add the 9th to the (flat) 7th chord
To get a min 9th, add the 9th to the min 7th chord
To get a maj 9th, add the 9th to the maj 7th chord

To get 11th chords you can add the 11th to the 3 types of 9th chord, but most ot the time the 9th is not needed, so you simply add an 11th to the 7th chords to build the 3 types of 11th chord, and similarly with 13ths.

If you have a voicing of a 13th chord that *also* has a 9th or 11th in it, then that's fine : it's still a 13th chord, but most of the time these chords are just a normal 7th with an added note (9th, 11th or 13th)

6.1 "normal" 9th, 11th and 13th

The spelling for chords like C9, C11, C13 (i.e chords built on C7 - so they have a flat 7th in them) is :

9th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 9th
11th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 11th
13th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 13th

It's worth noting here that the 5th can be omitted from the chord. The *essential* notes for C9, C11 and C13 are the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 9th/11th/13th

6.2 Minor 9th, 11th and 13th

The same principle applies for the minor versions of these chords. Start with the minor 7th chord, and add the 9th or 11th or 13th.

So the spellings are :

For a minor ninth chord : 1st, min 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 9th
For a minor 11th chord : 1st, min 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 11th
For a minor 13th chord : 1st, min 3rd, 5th, flat 7th, 13th

As before, the 5th can be left out, but all other notes must be in the chord. You could also include the 9th in an 11th chord, or the 9th and 11th in a 13th chord, but on a guitar this is usually not done.

6.3 Major 9th, 11th and 13th

Again, a very similar principle. Start with the major 7th chord and add the 9th, 11th or 13th.

It's very important to be clear on the difference between a 7th, a min 7th and a maj 7th to be able to build these chords correctly !

The spellings are :

maj 9th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, maj 7th, 9th
maj 11th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, maj 7th, 11th
maj 13th : 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, maj 7th, 13th

(Again the 5th is the only optional note)

A quick example :

To find the notes for A13 , we have A as the root.

Move up 4 semitones for the maj 3rd : C#
Move up 7 semitones for the 5th : E
Move up 10 semitones for the flat 7th : G
Move up 21 semitones for the 13th : F#

So A13 = A C# E G F#

Note that when counting up large intervals, like 13ths, you can count up 9 semitones (21-12) to get the right note name since subtracting 12 just means an octave lower.

BUT - when forming the chord, the 13th must be at the right 'distance' from the root - i.e it must be more than an octave higher than the root, otherwise it is just an ordinary 6th.


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