Triads and seventh chords are great, and they can be stretched a long way. But
sometimes stretching isn’t enough; sometimes you want more. But how do you move on from seventh chords?
Believe it or not, seventh chords are nowhere near the largest chord structures in modern music. In this
article, we will discuss the construction of ninth chords on piano so that you
can take your chord shapes to the next level.
To build a ninth chord, first you will need to start off with a triad. A triad is a three note chord. Triads are
the foundation of all real chords. If a chord does not contain a triad, it isn’t a chord; it is a harmony.
There are four types of triads, and while we will only be using one type, we will discuss all four. The first is
the major triad. This is the triad that we will use to construct our ninth chord today. It consists of a major
third followed by a minor third. The next type of triad is a minor triad. This triad consists of a minor third
followed by a major third.
Next up is the diminished triad. This consists of a minor third followed by
a second minor third. Finally, there is the augmented triad. This consists of a major
third followed by a second major third.
All triads consist of three things; a root, a third, and a fifth. To create a
seventh chord from a triad, you need to add a further interval. Since we are going to be using a major seventh
for our ninth chord (creating a major ninth) we will discuss how to make a major seventh chord.
For our example, we will use the key of C Major, as it is the most
basic of scales and the easiest place to start when learning new concepts.
To make a C Major tonic triad, we need to move a major third from our root, C (C#, D, D#, E), and then a further
minor third from our third, E (F, F#, G) which brings us to our fifth, G. This means that our C Major tonic triad
consists of the notes C, E, and G.
To go from our perfect fifth to an interval of a major seventh, we need to add another major third to our fifth,
which brings us to B (G#, A, A#, B). This means that our C Major tonic seventh chord is C, E, G, B.
To get to a major ninth from there, we will need to add a further minor third, which will bring us to a total
interval of a major ninth. This brings us from our major seventh B, to D (C, C#, D). Our entire interval from root
to last note is a total of a major ninth.
Now that you know how to form basic ninth chord on piano, the next step is to practice forming your own.
Remember that ninth chord total an interval of a ninth. Try taking some seventh chords and expanding them. Once you
are comfortable, try building some ninth chords from the ground up. Have fun!
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