This lesson covers chords that contain simple additions to the triad rather than the seventh chord. The 6, add9 and 6/9 chords
Altered Note Chords
We have already covered the basics of building chords by stacking thirds, but there are several chords that aren’t a consequence of stacking. The first group are known as added note chords, which is when extensions are added to the basic triad without including the 7th.
A Cadd9 chord would use just the basic triad and an added 9th.
C E G D
1 3 5 9
A C9 chord, however, would still contain the 7th.
C E G B D
1 3 5 7 9
There are three main types of added note chords – 6, add 9 and 6/9. There is also a minor version of each one – minor 6, minor add 9 and minor 6/9. Below is the construction of each chord starting from C.
C E G A
1 3 5 6
C E G D
1 3 5 9
C E G A D
1 3 5 6 9
C Eb G A
1 b3 5 6
C Eb G D
1 b3 5 9
C Eb G A D
1 b3 5 6 9
Use the exercises below to get the shape and sound of each chord in your head. Repeat each arpeggio four times before moving on to the next so you have time to get used to the sound before it changes.
Less Common Added Note Chords
You are likely to come across some less common added note chords such as add 11 and add 2. An add 2 chord is actually exactly the same as an add 9 chord, but different people have different ways of notating the same chord. An add 11 chord would simply be the basic triad with an 11 on top. This is a much rarer chord because of the clash between the major 3rd and the perfect 4th, so you are more likely to see a minor add 11 chord than its major counterpart.
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