Guitar Lesson – Music Theory Part 6 – the other numbers

Sometimes I think the other numbers must feel like what’s-her-face on the Brady Bunch (“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”)… what’s her name…??  Doesn’t matter… Anyway…

In this lesson, we’re going to take about some of the other numbers that are not 1, 3 and 5.

Just to recap… We use 1, 3, and 5 to build triads.  When we do this, we find that we get major chords and minor chords.  The 1 and 5 are the same for both.  The major chord uses the major 3rd while the minor chord uses the minor 3rd.

So let’s look what we can do with 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9.
Often, people will use sus2 and sus4.  The “sus” is short for “suspended”.  In these chords, the 3rd is not played and is substituted by the 2 or 4.  For instance, Asus2 would be made out of: A B E.  While Asus4 would be played using: A D E.

The 6th chord is simply the normal triad with an added 6th.  For C, this would mean the notes are: C E G A.

The 7th chord is simply the normal triad with an added 7th.  Normally, if it just says “7” as in C7, the “7” refers to the minor 7th.  So C7 has: C E G Bb.  You can also add the 7th to the minor chord.  Cm7 would be: C Eb G Bb.  The major 7th can also be used but it’s normally written as “maj7“.  Cmaj7 would be: C E G B.  

The last number we’ll talk about for this lesson is the 9.  As you may recall, the 1 and 8 notes are the same note except the 8th is an octave above the 1.  The 9th is therefore the same note as the 2nd also an octave above.

For 9, there are 4 chords worth mentioning…

add9” (ie Cadd9, see previous lesson) — This is probably the most common one for guitarists.  For instance, Cadd9 would be: C E G D.

9” — This is not the same as “add9”.  In this case, the minor 7th is implied.  So the notes for C9 are: C E G Bb D.

maj9” — In this case, the major 7th is implied and so Cmaj9 would be: C E G B D.

min9” — Very similar to the “maj9”, here the minor 7th is implied and so Cmin9 would be: C Eb G Bb D.

There are also 11th and 13th chords but we’ll look at them another time.

In one of the next posts, we’ll look at how these chords might be used.


About ckyoungmusic

Guitarist ♪ Songwriter ♪ Instructor ♪ Nice Guy ♪ Music for the Soul | Rock | Country | Blues | Pop | Folk | Funk

Posted on September 7, 2009, in Guitar Lessons, Music Theory. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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