• How Major Third Intervals Can Help You Form Minor Ninth Chords

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    If you’re interested in learning how to form minor ninth chords, then this lesson is for you.

    Knowing the basic minor triad (like the C minor triad):

    …and every other minor triad on the keyboard is good. However, it is also important for any serious musician to learn bigger and sophisticated chords like the minor ninth chord.

    A classic example of the minor ninth chord is the C minor ninth chord:

    …and I’ll be showing you how to form any other minor ninth chord using major third intervals.

    To get you started, let’s refresh our minds on major third intervals and minor ninth chords.

    A Short Note On Major Third Intervals

    A major third interval is a product of the distance between the first and the third tones of the natural major scale.

    For example, the distance between the first and third tones of the A major scale:

    …which are A and C#:

    …is a major third interval.

    So, if you’re given E:

    …to form the major third interval, all you need to know is the third tone of the E major scale:

    …which is G#:

    The interval between E and G#:

    …is a major third interval.

    “Check Out All The Major Third Intervals On The Keyboard…”

    The C major third:

    The Db major third:

    The D major third:

    The Eb major third:

    The E major third:

    The F major third:

    The Gb major third:

    The G major third:

    The Ab major third:

    The A major third:

    The Bb major third:

    The B major third:

    “What Are Minor Ninth Chords?”

    A minor ninth chord is an extended minor chord consisting of the following tones:

    The root

    The third

    The fifth

    The seventh

    The ninth

    Using the C minor scale, the C minor ninth chord can be formed when the root (C), third (Eb), fifth (G), seventh (Bb), and ninth (D) tones:

    …are played or heard together.

    The minor ninth chord is classified as an extended chord because its width exceeds the compass of an octave. For example, the C minor ninth chord:

    …exceeds the compass of the C octave:

    “Check Out All The Minor Ninth Chords On The Keyboard…”

    C minor ninth:

    C# minor ninth:

    D minor ninth:

    Eb minor ninth:

    E minor ninth:

    F minor ninth:

    F# minor ninth:

    G minor ninth:

    G# minor ninth:

    A minor ninth:

    Bb minor ninth:

    B minor ninth:

    How To Form Minor Ninth Chords Using Major Third Intervals

    The minor ninth chord can be formed using major third intervals. Two major third intervals are needed in the formation of the minor ninth chord and the interval between both major third intervals is a half step.

    For example, the C major third interval:

    …and the F major third interval:

    …are a half step apart from each other, consequently, both major third intervals can be used in the formation of a minor ninth chord.

    “Here Are All The Major Third Intervals On The Keyboard That Are A Half Step Apart From Each Other…”

    C and F major third intervals:

    Db and Gb major third intervals:

    D and G major third intervals:

    Eb and Ab major third intervals:

    E and A major third intervals:

    F and Bb major third intervals:

    F# and B major third intervals:

    G and C major third intervals:

    Ab and Db major third intervals:

    A and D major third intervals:

    Bb and Eb major third intervals:

    B and E major third intervals:

    Application Of Major Third Intervals In The Formation Of Minor Ninth Chords

    Here’s how you can or the minor ninth chord in two simple steps:

    1. Determine the root of the minor ninth chord
    2. Go down a whole step and form the major third intervals

    Once the root of the minor ninth chord is determined, the major third intervals could be played a whole step below the root.

    For example, if the root is Eb:

    …we’ll have to go down a whole step to Db:

    …to form the major third intervals (Db and Gb major third intervals):

    Altogether, Db and Gb major third intervals:

    …played over Eb on the bass:

    …produces the Eb minor ninth chord:

    Following the same procedure, any other minor ninth chord can be formed on the keyboard.

    “Here’s One More Example, For You…”

    If the root is G:

    …we’ll have to go down a whole step to F:

    …to form the major third intervals (F and Bb major third intervals):

    Altogether, F and Bb major third intervals:

    …played over G on the bass:

    …produces the G minor ninth chord:

    Final Words

    Having simplified the formation of the minor ninth chord for you, I suppose you’ll master this formation technique and be able to form any minor ninth chord on the keyboard with it.

    I’ll see you in the next lesson where we’ll focus on the formation of the major ninth chord.

    All the best!

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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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