• Part Over Root Voicings Of The Major Ninth Chord

    in Chords & Progressions,Piano,Theory

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    In this lesson, we are going to be learning about the part over root voicings of the major ninth chord.

    Ninth chords are extended. Consequently, most people find it difficult to play ninth chords with one hand because of its size. However, with this voicing technique, you’ll learn how to make the major ninth chord easier to play.

    Let’s get started by reviewing the major ninth chord.

    “What Is A Major Ninth Chord?”

    A chord is a collection of related notes that are sounded together. Using any scale, you can form a chord in seconds:

    …thirds:

    …fourths:

    …and even fifths:

    However, take note that the traditional principle to chord formation is in thirds (aka – “tertian harmony”.)

    Ninth chords are simply chords that span nine degrees of any given scale that are related by the traditional tertian harmony.

    For instance, if we are using the C major scale:

    …you can form a ninth chord by stacking thirds until you encompass nine degrees of the C major scale.

    Check it out…

    Starting from C:

    …a third from C is E:

    …a third from C-E is G:

    ….a third from C-E-G is B:

    …a third from C-E-G-B is D:

    At this point, we’ve encompassed nine degrees of the C major scale – from C to D:

    …and here we are with the C major ninth chord:

    …an extended chord.

    Before we get into the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord that we just covered, permit me to review the concept of voicing.

    A Short Review On The Concept Of Voicing

    Voicing is the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices or voice parts.

    If you have been around musicians or at least in church for a while, you probably would have come across the following voice parts:

    Soprano

    Alto

    Tenor

    Bass

    Soprano is the highest voice part, followed by the alto, then the tenor voice, followed by the bass (the lowest voice.) The consideration of chord tones as voices – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass – is called voicing.

    There are variety of voicing techniques out there, ranging from the skeleton voicing technique that we covered in a previous post, drop 2 voicing and so many more but in today’s post we will be covering the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord.

    Let me give you a basic idea of what a part over root voicing technique is.

    The Part Over Root Voicing Technique

    The part-over-root voicing technique isolates the root of a chord from other chord tones. The remaining chord tones are considered as a different chord. A very good example is the C major ninth chord:

    …which can be rearranged using the part over root voicing technique by isolating the bass note from the rest of the chord.

    Isolating C from the C major ninth chord produces its part over root voicing, which consists of its root (C):

    …and a part (the E minor seventh chord):

    Simply put, the E minor seventh chord [the part] over C [the root]:

    …produces an overall C major ninth chord:

    Let’s do a little more study on the formation of the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord.

    Formation Of The Part Over Root Voicing Of The Major Ninth Chord

    There are so many ways to form the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord, ranging from the simplest to the most complicated. But in this lesson, I’ll be showing you how to form the major ninth chord in two simple steps.

    Check it out…

    Step 1 – Determine the root of the major ninth chord

    Step 2 – Go to the third degree of the major scale and form a minor seventh chord.

    Let’s put these steps to work in the formation of the major ninth chord using the part over root voicing technique.

    Formation Of The D Major Ninth Chord

    Step 1 – Determine the root of the major ninth chord.

    The root of the chord is D:

    Step 2 – Go to the third degree of the major scale and form a minor seventh chord.

    The third degree of the D major scale:

    …is F#:

    …consequently, the F# minor seventh chord:

    Altogether, the F# minor seventh chord over D on the bass:

    …produces the part over root voicing of the D major ninth chord.

    Formation Of The Ab Major Ninth Chord

    Step 1 – Determine the root of the major ninth chord.

    The root of the chord is Ab:

    Step 2 – Go to the third degree of the major scale and form a minor seventh chord.

    The third degree of the Ab major scale:

    …is C:

    …consequently, the C minor seventh chord:

    Altogether, the C minor seventh chord over Ab on the bass:

    …produces the part over root voicing of the Ab major ninth chord.

    Following the same procedure, you can form the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord on all the keys.

    Attention: If you are looking for one subtle way of putting the minor seventh chord to work, search no further. The minor seventh chord is the upper-structure of the major ninth chord. We’ll delve into this in subsequent posts.

    Final Words

    The major ninth chord is an extended chord that encompasses nine scale degrees and there aren’t so many people out there who can be able to play the major ninth chord with one hand.

    That’s why a knowledge of the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord is essential because the isolation of the bass note from the rest of the chord tones, leaves the right hand with only four notes.

    Also, if you have an idea of part over root voicings, you can also play the rootless voicings of major ninth chords. “How are rootless voicings formed?” Playing a chord without its root note produces its rootless voicing.

    Knowing that the E minor seventh chord over C on the bass:

    …produces the C major ninth chord, the E minor seventh chord:

    …can be seen as the rootless voicing of the C major ninth chord:

    I’m going to see you in another post where I’ll be showing you the application of the part over root voicing of the major ninth chord in 2-5-1 progressions.

    Until then, all the best!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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