The Gorgeous, Fat Major-9th

Posted: 2013/10/28 in Music
Tags: , , ,

Ya wanna huge, beautiful chord to hang in your aural space? Try the major 9th. These things are wonderful, with a sound that evokes large but not barren spaces. They are luxurious.

If you’re music theory is a bit rusty or you are new to extended chords, a major 9th begins with a major triad – root, major 3rd, perfect 5th – and adds the major 7th (a half-step below the root’s octave) and a major 9th (an octave above the major 2nd).

For example:  Cmaj9 = C E G B D’    Bbmaj9 = Bb D F A C’

The maj9, has a mildly suspended sound, and when several are bundled together they sound woven together. To hear this, try a progression of fourths, such as

Cmaj9  /  Fmaj9  /  Bbmaj9  /  Ebmaj9

Without hearing the progression you can see how they weave together.

C E G B D  /  F A C E G  /  Bb D F A C  /  Eb G Bb D F

If you haven’t used chords larger than 7ths, give the maj9 a try.

Caveat:  Because maj9 chords are so fat they leave less room to improvise over. It helps to keep lead lines simple.


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