• A Smart Application Of Sixth Chords In The Formation Of Ninth Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Theory

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    In this lesson, we’ll be focusing on the application of sixth chords.

    Although they are commonly used in jazz and gospel music, sixth chords are not very popular like seventh chords and this is because they are not tertian chords.

    Today, we’re focusing on how sixth chords can be applied in the formation of ninth chords, however, before we proceed, it’s important for us to discuss briefly on sixth chords.

    “What Is A Sixth Chord?”

    A sixth chord is a chord that encompasses an interval of a sixth or six scale tones.

    Sixth chords are classified as added tone chords and that’s because they are formed when a tone (commonly called the added tone) is added to a triad.

    In the formation of sixth chords, the added tone is usually a sixth above the root of the chord. For example, given the C major triad:

    …a sixth chord can be formed by the addition of a note that is a major sixth above the root of the C major triad.

    A major sixth above the root of the C major triad (which is C):

    …is A:

    Therefore, adding an A:

    …to the C major triad:

    …produces a sixth chord — the C major sixth chord:

    The Two Main Sixth Chord Types

    There are basically two sixth chords – the major sixth and the minor sixth chord. The major sixth chord is related to the major triad while the minor sixth chord is related to the minor triad.

    Using any major or minor triad, anyone can form a sixth chord by adding a tone that is a whole step higher than the fifth tone in the triad. For example, given the D minor triad:

    Adding a tone that is a whole step higher than the fifth tone of the D minor triad, produces the D minor sixth chord.

    “Check It Out…”

    The fifth tone of the D minor triad:

    …is A:

    Therefore adding a note that is a whole step higher than A (which is B):

    …to the D minor triad:

    …produces the D minor sixth chord:

    “In A Nutshell…”

    A major triad with an added sixth tone produces a major sixth chord, while a minor triad with an added sixth tone produces a minor sixth chord.

    The Formation Of Ninth Chords Using Sixth Chords

    Although we’re exploring how the major and minor sixth chords can be used in the formation of ninth chords, we’ll limit it to the formation of these two ninth chords:

    • The major ninth chord
    • The dominant ninth chord

    The Formation Of The Major Ninth Chord

    The major ninth chord is formed when the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth (which is a duplicate of the second) tones of the major scale are played/heard together.

    For example, playing the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth (which is a duplicate of the second) tones of the C major scale:

    …produces the C major ninth chord:

    The major ninth chord can be formed using the major sixth chord, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step how this works.

    “Check It Out…”

    A major ninth chord can be formed using the major sixth chord. It’s a two step process:

    • Play the root note
    • Form a major sixth chord on the fifth scale tone

    To form the C major ninth chord, you can play the root note (which is C):

    …then form a major sixth chord on the fifth scale tone (which is G):

    So, the G major sixth chord:

    …played over C (on the bass):

    …produces the C major ninth chord:

    “In The Same Vein, Any Other Major Ninth Chord Can Be Formed…”

    To form the Eb major ninth chord, you can play the root note (which is Eb):

    …then form a major sixth chord on the fifth scale tone (which is Bb):

    So, the Bb major sixth chord:

    …played over Eb (on the bass):

    …produces the Eb major ninth chord:

    The Formation Of The Dominant Ninth Chord

    Lowering the seventh tone of the major ninth chord by a half step, produces the dominant ninth chord. For example, lowering the seventh tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …which is B:

    …by a half-step (to Bb):

    …produces the C dominant ninth chord:

    The dominant ninth chord can be formed using the minor sixth chord, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step how this works.

    “Check It Out…”

    The formation of the dominant ninth chord using the minor sixth chord is a two step process:

    • Play the root note
    • Form a minor sixth chord on the fifth scale tone

    To form the G dominant ninth chord, you can play the root note (which is G):

    …then form a minor sixth chord on the fifth scale tone (which is D):

    So, the D minor sixth chord:

    …played over G (on the bass):

    …produces the G dominant ninth chord:

    “In The Same Vein, Any Other Dominant Ninth Chord Can Be Formed…”

    To form the F# dominant ninth chord, you can play the root note (which is F#):

    …then form a minor sixth chord on the fifth scale tone (which is C#):

    So, the C# minor sixth chord:

    …played over F# (on the bass):

    …produces the F# dominant ninth chord:

    Final Words

    Using the chord formation technique of playing a sixth chord on the fifth degree of a given bass note, the major and dominant ninth chords can be formed.

    I hope this helps someone.

    See you in the next lesson.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Edmond Edems

    Thanks so much bro. I learnt alot

    Reply

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