• Seventh Chords + Extensions = Extended Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

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    If you’re interested in understanding what altered chords are, then this lesson is for you.

    Extended chords are the biggest and most sophisticated chords in harmony. But in this lesson, we’re breaking them into two components:

    Seventh chords

    Extensions

    …so that anyone who is familiar with seventh chords and extensions can also form extended chords.

    But before we go into all that, let’s refresh our minds.

    A Short Note On Seventh Chords

    According to Jermaine Griggs, “a chord is an aggregate of three or more related notes (agreeable or not), which may be played or heard together.”

    Beyond the harmonic level of triads are seventh chords. The C major triad:

    …is a product of the tones of the C major scale:

    …stacked in third intervals.

    The interval between C and E:

    …is a third, and so is the interval between E and G:

    The addition of another tone that is a third above the C major triad:

    …(which is B):

    …produces a seventh chord (the C major seventh chord):

    Seventh chords encompass a seventh interval when played in root position. For example, the interval between the lowest and highest sounding notes of the C major seventh chord (which are C and B):

    …is a seventh interval.

    Common Seventh Chord Qualities

    There are 5 common seventh chord qualities: the major seventh, minor seventh, dominant seventh, half-diminished seventh, diminished seventh chord.

    “Check Out These Seventh Chord Qualities Starting From C…”

    C major seventh chord:

    C minor seventh chord:

    C dominant seventh chord:

    C half-diminished seventh chord:

    C diminished seventh chord:

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

    “What Are Extensions?”

    Extensions are chord tones added to seventh chords to extend their width.

    Suggested Reading: Chord Formation: “What Are Ninths, Elevenths, And Thirteenths?”

    Although there may be more than three extensions, we’re focusing on these three in this lesson: the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth.

    The name of a extension (be it a ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth) is determined by its distance from the root of the chord.

    A Short Note On The Ninth Extension

    The distance of the ninth from the root of the chord encompasses nine scale tones.

    Using the C major scale (as a reference):

    …the ninth scale tone from the first tone of the C major scale scale (which is C):

    …is D:

    “Check It Out…”

    From C to D:

    …encompasses nine scale tones:

    …which are:

    C (1)   D (2)   E (3)   F (4)   G (5)   A (6)   B (7)   C (8)   D (9)

    Taking a closer look at the ninth extension (which is D):

    …you’ll see that it has the same letter with the second tone of the scale.

    The key difference between the second and the ninth is their respective distance from the root. From the first tone (which is C):

    …the second tone is D:

    …and the ninth tone is D:

    While the former is a second (C-D):

    …the latter is a ninth (C-D):

    Quick Insights On The Eleventh And Thirteenth

    The eleventh and thirteenth extensions are just like fourth and ninth tones respectively. The relationship between the ninth extension and the second tone exists between these pairs:

    The eleventh extension and the fourth tone

    The thirteenth extension and the sixth tone

    Using the fourth tone of the C major scale (which is F):

    …the eleventh chord tone can be determined by the octave transposition of the fourth tone of the major scale from F:

    …to F:

    The interval from the first tone (which is C):

    …to F:

    …is an eleventh (C-F):

    …encompassing eleven tones of the C major scale (from C to F):

    C (1)   D (2)   E (3)   F (4)   G (5)   A (6)   B (7)   C (8)   D (9)   E (10)   F (11)

    Every other eleventh extension can be associated with the fourth tone of the scale.

    “Then The Thirteenth…”

    Using the sixth tone of the C major scale (which is A):

    …the thirteenth chord tone can be determined by the octave transposition of the sixth tone of the major scale from A:

    …to A:

    The interval from the first tone (which is C):

    …to A:

    …is a thirteenth (C-A):

    …encompassing thirteen tones of the C major scale (from C to A):

    C (1)   D (2)   E (3)   F (4)   G (5)   A (6)   B (7)   C (8)   D (9)   E (10)   F (11)   G (12)   A (13)

    Following the same procedure, the thirteenth extension can be derived using any given major scale.

    “In A Nutshell…”

    The ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth extensions are basically the second, fourth, and sixth tones of the major scale.

    For example, the Ab ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth extensions can be derived from the second, fourth, and sixth tones of the Ab major scale:

    …which are Bb:

    …Db:

    …and F:

    …respectively.

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

    Extended Chords — Explained

    Although extended chords are sophisticated, they can be broken down into seventh chords and extensions.

    It is important to note that the quality of an extended chord is determined by the parent seventh chord.

    A major seventh chord + extension(s) = Extended major chord

    A minor seventh chord + extension(s) = Extended minor chord

    A dominant seventh chord + extension(s) = Extended dominant chord

    “Let’s Breakdown These Extended Chord Types…”

    Extended Major Chords

    Using the major seventh chord, extended major chords can be formed by the addition of chord extensions: ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths.

    The C major seventh chord:

    …is the seventh chord type that produces extended major chords like:

    The C major ninth chord:

    …which is a product of the C major seventh chord:

    …and the ninth extension (which is D):

    The C major eleventh chord:

    …which is a product of the C major seventh chord:

    …and the ninth and eleventh extensions (which are D and F):

    The C major thirteenth chord:

    …which is a product of the C major seventh chord:

    …and the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth extensions (which are D, F, and A):

    So, using the major seventh chord, extended major chords like the major ninth chord can be formed using chord extensions.

    Extended Minor Chords

    The parent seventh chord for the formation of extended minor chords is the minor seventh chord. The addition of chord extensions like the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth to the minor seventh chord produces extended minor chords.

    The following extended minor chord types using the minor seventh chord and extensions:

    The C minor ninth chord:

    …which is a product of the C minor seventh chord:

    …and the ninth extension (which is D):

    The C minor eleventh chord:

    …which is a product of the C minor seventh chord:

    …and the ninth and eleventh extensions (which are D and F):

    The C minor thirteenth chord:

    …which is a product of the C minor seventh chord:

    …and the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth extensions (which are D, F, and A):

    Extended minor chords like the minor ninth chord, minor eleventh chord, etc., can be formed using the minor seventh chord and chord extensions.

    Extended Dominant Chords

    Using the dominant seventh chord, extended dominant chords can be formed by the addition of chord extensions: ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths.

    The C dominant seventh chord:

    …is the seventh chord type that produces extended dominant chords like:

    The C dominant ninth chord:

    …which is a product of the C dominant seventh chord:

    …and the ninth extension (which is D):

    The C dominant eleventh chord:

    …which is a product of the C dominant seventh chord:

    …and the ninth and eleventh extensions (which are D and F):

    The C dominant thirteenth chord:

    …which is a product of the C dominant seventh chord:

    …and the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth extensions (which are D, F, and A):

    In a nutshell, extended dominant chords can be broken down into two components: the dominant seventh chord and chord extensions (ninths, elevenths, thirteenths).

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

    Final Words

    Great job!

    All the best and see you in the next lesson.

    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 a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with 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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 carolynThanks for sharing

    Thanks for sharing.
    God bless you

    Reply

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