Guide to Chord Formation by Howard Wright (Howard@jmdl.com)
8.0 : 'Add' Chords and Chromatic Chords
Chapter 8 : 'Add' Chords and Chromatic Notes
- Just to recap, here are the triads and chords I've covered so far:
Major, minor, sus2 and sus4 triads and chords.
Major 7th, flat 7th and minor 7th chords.
9th, min 9th, maj 9th, 11th, min 11th, maj 11th, 13th, min 13th, maj 13th chords.
All other chords fall into the series of chords with 'added' notes or chords with altered notes
Chords with 'added
' notes are just what they sound like.
They are usually written as something like Cadd2
Simply start with the 'base
' chord (C
in this example) and add
the appropriate note
. You can of course add to any 'base' chord
whether it's major or minor or whatever
Be sure you understand the difference between add2 and sus2 chords,
and add4 and sus4 chords - the sus chords have the 3rd replaced with another note. The 'add' chords simply add to the triad, so Cadd2 would be:
Cadd2 = C triad + 2nd = 1st, 2nd, maj 3rd, 5th
Csus2 = Csus2 triad = 1st, 2nd, 5th
Similarly there is an important difference between 'add9
' and '9
chords. A C9
have the flat 7th
in it (see above), but the Cadd9
chord will not - it's just a C major triad
with a 9th
You can carry on adding as many notes as you want. If you play around
with alternative tunings
you could quite easily come across chords
, but most of the time you'll just have one added note.
You can of course add a note to a chord that isn't a simple major
or minor chord - you can have things like Csus4add9
These are chords with chromatic alterations
etc can all be chromatically altered - i.e. moved up or down by a semitone
Examples of this are chords like E7#9
of a normal E9
chord has been sharpened in the E7#9
, and flattened in the E7b9
So what are the notes for these?
Well, starting with the 'E7' bit:
E7 = 1st, maj 3rd, 5th, flat 7th = E, G#, B, D
Now add the #9 (count up 15 semitones from E) - G.
So E7#9 = E G# B D G.
Similarly E7b9 = E G# B D F.
There are a few different ways to write these chords.
' and '+
' signs are sometimes used to mean 'flat
' respectively, but 'b
' and '#
' are used as well.
You might even see 'dim
' and 'aug
used too for the same thing.
could be written as E7+9
could be written as E7-9
With these chromatic
ally altered chords there is almost
no limit on the number of chords you can create - most
of these will be used in jazz
, but some (like the E7#9
appear quite a lot in rock
To work out the notes to these types of chord it's best to
start with the 'basic
' chord, then add the chromatic notes
to this. So, as above for E7#9
, start with E7
, then add the
You may find several chromatic notes in one chord - like A13b5b9
- treat it just the same way - build up the A13
chord, then swap the 5th
for the flat 5th
Guide to Chord Formation by Howard Wright
Reformatted and noded (with permission) by Space Butler
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