Jimmy's Chord Theory TOC
jazz chords and upper partials
There is another family of
seventh chords called
SUSPENSIONS where the fourth is included in the chord.
i.e. 1 4 5 b7, written 7sus4
This would be called a SEVEN SUS FOUR chord.
When a major second or 2 is suspended such as:
1 2 5 or 1 2 5 b7
it is called a SUS TWO or SEVEN SUS TWO.
written sus2 or 7sus2
Also there are mixed chords called MINOR-MAJOR. i.e.
1 b3 5 7
This is called a MINOR-MAJOR SEVENTH written minMaj7
Next you should know about SIXTH CHORDS.
1 3 5 6
and of course, MINOR SIXTH CHORDS.
1 b3 5 6
If you raise the 2 or 2nd up one octave it becomes a NINTH.
If you raise the 4th an octave it becomes an ELEVENTH.
If you raise the 6th an octave it becomes a THIRTEENTH.
They come in five flavors:
MAJOR (natural 7th plus #11) written ^9
MINOR (b3 plus b7) written - 9
- 11 - 13
DOMINANT (b7) written 9 11 13
DIMINISHED (b3b5bb7) °9 °11
AUGMENTED (#5 b7) +9 +11 +13
Check out this scale:
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
A major ninth, major eleventh or major thirteenth
chord assumes that a natural or MAJOR SEVENTH will
be included in the chord and that the ELEVENTH is
raised or SHARPED as in the major 11th and 13th.
1 3 5 7 9
1 3 5 7 9 #11 1 3 5 7 9 #11 13
The complete major scale begins to look like this:
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
Everything above C(8) is called an UPPER PARTIAL,
not because they'll knock your teeth out, but because they
used to create POLYPHONIC chords.
In actual writng and performing these large chords
can be abbreviated, using the partial to add
space, depth and color to the music.
One C major thirteenth chord contains
every note in the G major scale.
Is it a C chord or a G chord with a C in the bass?
It is obviously becoming G or moving in that direction.
C E G B D F# A (G)
You may also look at it as a D major played against a
C major seventh or a B minor played against a C chord.
D/C^7 or B-7/C or
This is why we call it THEORY.
Including many upper partials in a polyphonic chord
may seem at first like a good way to create lots of
discordant sounds, however, adding larger intervals between
the notes allows the chord to vibrate more distinctly.
Compare this squashy chord with its alternatives.
squashy spacious inverted
The 2nd column is called a QUARTLE type chord, arranged in
the 3rd chord is merely the fist column turned upside down.
Both alternative chords allow the notes to breathe.
In order to keep E as a top or melody tone and
the original C in the bass, try this arrangement:
E, top note
C, bass note
Leave an octave interval between C & D
The super C Minor scale looks like this:
C D Eb F G A Bb C D Eb F G A
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8 9 10 11 12 13
The MINOR NINTH always includes a flatted third
and a flatted seventh.
C Eb G Bb D
1 b3 5 b7 9
The MINOR ELEVENTH is similar to a 7sus4 chord, but
the fourth is raised by one octave and includes a ninth.
C Eb G Bb D F
1 b3 5 b7 9 11
The MINOR THIRTEENTH includes the minor 11th while
adding the sixth tone raised one octave.
C Eb G Bb D F A
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13
DOMINANT 9TH's, 11TH's and 13TH's are dominant chords
which have the flatted seventh.
C E G Bb D
C E G Bb D F
C E G Bb D F A
1 3 5 b7 9 11 13
All dominant chords are called TURN AROUND chords
because they redirect the progression back to the starting
Sevenths such as C7 and F13 can be substituted for another
dominant chord or for each other.
The DIMINISHED 9th and 11th are built on a
diminished chord and include a double flatted seventh
which substitutes for a thirteenth also.
C Eb Gb A D C Eb Gb A
1 b3 b5 bb7 9 1 b3 b5 bb7 9 11
The AUGMENTED 9th, 11th, and 13th are built
on an augmented dominant chord
or #5 plus b7 plus 9, 11, or 13.
written +9, +11, +13
C E G# Bb D C E G# Bb D F
C E G# Bb D F A
1 3 #5 b7 9 1 3 #5 b7 9 11
1 3 #5 b7 9 11 13
A variation of the NINTH chord built on a major
sixth rather than a seventh is called a SIX NINE chord.
C E G A D
1 3 5 6 9
When upper partials are added to mainstream chords
the word ADD is included in the written symbol:
C- 6 add 9, C minor sixth add ninth
C- 7 add 13, C minor seventh add
C7 add b13, C seventh add flatted thirteenth
Upper partials can also be sharped or flatted,
for example, a seventh chord may contain BOTH a MAJOR 3rd
and a MINOR 3rd in this arrangement called a SHARP NINE.
C7#9: C E G Bb D# or Eb
1 3 5 b7 #9
By raising the flatted 3rd or minor 3rd by one
octave it becomes a sharped ninth. This dominant chord
is a very powerful rock and jazz element.
Close harmonies such as C and Db can be combined
when the flatted second (b2) is raised by one octave
to become a FLAT NINE.
C7b9: C E G Bb Db
1 3 5 b7 b9
Earlier I mentioned SLASH ( / ) chords which imply a two
chord polyphony or a chord with an altered bass note.
i.e. G - 7 / Eb G minor
seventh w/ Eb in the bass
This same chord could also be called Eb Maj 9
Eb / G B D F
1 3 5 7 9
Neither is incorrect, however, G-7/Eb would suggest
that the Eb is a distinctly separate bass element
such as a pedal tone or lowered bass figure which is
to be played left hand on the piano or by a bassist.
This chord for instance might be written Eb Maj 11 / C
C / Eb G Bb D F A (C)
13 1 3 5 7 9 #11 13
and implies an Eb Maj 11 with a 13th in the bass,
which could otherwise be written Eb Maj 13,
but how would you tell the performer
that you want to play the C in the bass?
If you lay out the chords end to end starting
with C Major seventh and ending with Bb Major seventh
you will see the HARMONIC SERIES of which there is
but one continuum where you may jump in at any time.
GbBbDbF AbCEbG BbDFA
Think of it as the great bus journey, plane flight, car
trip, train ride or ocean cruise to wherever wondrous
music is to be played. Remember that chord theory does
not apply to ALL music and that in some places in the
world music is a ten-thousand year old river that
runs through time itself and has its own rules defined
by ears that have never heard Bach or even Madonna.