How to Use a 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th Chord

How to use a 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th chord

A very good way to learn how to use a 6th, 9th, 11th, 13th chord is to find songs
that use these chords. Whatever you are trying to do, someone else has alerady
done it. Go through your songbooks and identify songs that use the chords that
you want to use and see how others have used them.

Then if you can get to listen to the song, familiarize yourself with the sound of
that chord change.

Also remember that each chord can be named three or four different ways, but it
is the sound that matters.

Learn chord substitution, tri-tone substitution etc., so you can better understand
the function of the chord.

One example of the use of the 13th chord is in Georgia on My Mind. In this song
Hoagy Carmichael used both the 7th and the 13th of the same chord. Play the
chord changes and listen to the subtle difference in the sound.

What are 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords?

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The 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords are dominant chords built on the fifth (V) degree of the major (Ionian) scale.

How do we build the 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords?

If you take the major triad built on the fifth scale step of the major scale and add the flat seventh scale step (b7) you have a dominant seventh chord. So the dominant 7th chord contains the Root, 3rd, 5th, b7 notes of the major scale.
If you add the 2nd scale step (9th) to the dominant 7th chord you have the 9th chord (5 notes.)
Add the 4th scale step (11th) you have the 11th chord (6 notes.)
Add the 6th scale step (13th) you have the 13th chord (7 notes.)
But we would run out of fingers, so when we add the 9th we omit the root
When we add the 11th we omit the 3rd
When we add the 13th we omit the 5th.
This maintains the 4-note chord pattern.
The chord will still retain its quality even with the omitted notes.
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Another way to view this is to take the dominant 7th chord and
Raise the Root one tone to the 2nd scale step (9th), and we have a 9th chord
Raise the 3rd a Ĺ tone to the 4th (11th), and we have an 11th chord
Raise the 5th one tone to the 6th (13th) and we have a 13th chord.

See Advanced Piano Chord Building Technique.

How do we use the 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th chords?

The 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords are dominant family chords and are mainly used in the II V progression.
Wherever you would use a 7th chord you can use a 9th, 11th, or 13th chord.
The rule is if the added notes do not conflict with the melody, you may use them to add color and interest to your harmony.
Just donít overuse them.

These chords are also used in the Circle of 4ths as in
These Foolish Things
Georgia On My Mind
Love Walked In
Please†
It Had To Be You
I Got It Bad And That Ainít Good
Have You Met Miss Jones?
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Note: The II chord can also be a dominant chord.

These chords are also used as passing chords sometimes.

Fingering the 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th chords

Since the main use of the 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chord is in the II V progression, let's look at the fingering of these chords going from the II chord.
We will go from the IIm7.
Use Dm7 to G7, G9, G11, G13.

Dominant-Chords-Fingering.jpg
From Dm7, move 2 fingers down (-2) to go to G7.
Move 1 finger down (-1) to go to G9.
G11 contains the same notes as Dm7 so just change the bass note on the left hand.
Move 1 finger up (+1) to go to G13.

Note: G9 contains the same notes as Dm6.

†††††††† G11 contains the same notes as F6.

†††††††† G13 contains the same notes as F Maj7.


Practice the circle of 4ths.


What is the major 6th chord?

The 6th chord is a Major chord built on the 1st, 4th or 5th †scale step.
The 6th†is added to the Major triad to form the 6th chord.
The Major 6th chord is used where you would normally use a Major triad.

See: More on 6th chords.

See: Thirty Chord Types

See: Rockmaster Two-Chord-Types Theory

See: Advanced Piano Chord Building Technique


List of songs on this web site that use 6th, Aug., 9th, 11th, 13th chords.

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Nothing Takes the Place of You(7+5)
Somebody Bigger Than You And I(6th, 9th)
These Foolish Things † (m6th, 6th, dim7, 7#5, 9sus4, 13th)
Georgia On My Mind (Aug., m6th, 6th,†7(#5), 9th, 13th, 6/9)
More (Theme from Mondo Cane)(6th, 7(b9), 9th, 11th, 13th)
This Masquerade (6th, m(maj7), 7(b9), 7(#5), 9th, 13th)
A Change Is Gonna Come (6th, 9th)
Ain't That A Shame (9th)
Amazing Grace (7sus4,9th)
At Last(7#5), 9th, 7b9)
Ave Maria (Aug.)
Broken-Hearted Melody (Aug., 6th)
By The Time I Get To Phoenix (6th)
Call Me Irresponsible (6th, 7#5, 7b9, 9th)
Mack the Knife (6th, 9th)
Bluesette (6th, m7b5, 7b9, 9th)
What A Wonderful World (6th, m7b5, 7b9, Aug., 11th)
Moonlight In Vermont (6th, 7#5, 9th, 9b5, 9#5)
The Christmas Song(6th, m6th, 7#5, 7sus4, 7b9, 9th, 11th, 13b9)
Crazy (II7, VI7, Aug.)
I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good† (m6th, dim7, 7#5, 7b9, 9th, 13th)
But Beautiful(m7b5, Aug, 9th, 11th)†
Moon River† (m7b5, 9th, 9b5)
As Long As He Needs Me† (7b9, 11th, 13b9)
Autumn Leaves† (m6th, m7b5, 7b9)
I Left My Heart In San Francisco(Aug, 6/9, 7b5, 7#5, 7b9, maj9, 9th, 9sus, 13th)
Mr. Bojangles(6/9, 9th, 11th)
Pick Yourself Up (m7b5)
Green Fields†††† (m6th, 7b5, 7#5, 9th)
You Are My Lady(7sus, maj9, 9th)
Just The Way You Are††(m6th, 9sus)
Through The Years(7b9, 11th)
You Are So Beautiful (m6, 7#9. 9th)
Send In The Clowns(m7b5, 7sus4, maj9, 6/9, 13th)
I've Got You Under My Skin(m6th, 6th, m7b5, dim7, 7b9)
(They Long To Be) Close To You (6th, 7sus, add9, maj9, 9th)
I Say A Little Prayer (9th, 9sus)
Love Walked In (m6th, 6th,†7sus, Aug, 7#5, 7b9, 9th)
Midnight Train To Georgia† (11th)††See 11th Notes
Easy(11th)†† See 11th Notes
I Won't Last A Day Without You†† (sus4, add9th, m9th,†11th)† See 11th Notes
Turn Your Lights Down Low†(11th)
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Letís ROCK!
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