# Basic Chord Theory III

Today we're learning about chords that have compound intervals in them, namely ninth and eleventh chords. We will also be looking at the difference between chords like C9 and Cadd9.

20
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Next, we would add the third note of the C major scale, being E:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Than we would add the fifth note of the C major scale, G:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--0----||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
And then finally, we would add the ninth note of the C major scale. WHAT! The C major scale only has eight notes! Yes, but then it repeats, just an octave higher. So, the ninth note of the C major scale would be D, just one octave higher than the D that is the second note of the C major scale:
```E||-------||
B||--3----||
G||--0----||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
And there you have it, a Cadd9 chord! You may notice that this chord is just a major chord with a ninth added on, thus the name Cadd9. The added ninth adds dissonance to the chord. So, if your just adding a ninth, than a minor add 9 would work the same way just with a minor chord: 1 b3 5 9 Which in the end would be played like this:
```E||-------||
B||--3----||
G||--0----||
D||--1----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
I'd also like to remind you that you can change the order of the notes, as well as add more notes. For example, I like to play my Cadd9 with an added high G, making it C E G D G, or:
```E||--3----||
B||--3----||
G||--0----||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Try experimenting with different notes. The ninth chord: Next, we are going to learn the ninth chord, which is very similar to the add 9 chord. It is played like this: 1 3 5 b7 9 So, lets now construct a C9 chord, starting with C:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||-------||
E||--8----||```
Than E:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Than G:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Next, we'd add the flattened seventh note of the C major scale, be Bb:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
And than finally, we would add the ninth note of the C major scale, which we already know is the second octave D:
```E||-------||
B||--3----||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
So, there is a C9 chord. But wait! It's the dreaded 3 to 8 fret stretch from part 2! Remember, rearrange the notes until it works. One way to play a C9 chord is C D Bb E G. You will notice that this no longer makes the D a second octave, which doesn't matter either! This C9 chord is played like this:
```E||--3----||
B||--5----||
G||--3----||
D||--0----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
One thing you may notice here is that while the Cadd9 was just a major chord with an added ninth, the C9 is a seventh chord with an added ninth. But there is more of a trend behind it, a trend you can't see without looking at the add11 and 11 chords first. So, lets check them out! The Add 11 Chord: The third chord we will learn today is the add 11 chord. It is also very similar to the major chord, and goes like this: 1 3 5 11 So, lets now construct a Cadd11 chord, starting with C:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Than E:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Then G:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--0----||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
And then finally, the eleventh note of the C major scale, F:
```E||-------||
B||--6----||
G||--0----||
D||--2----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||```
Now, this is one way to play a Cadd11 chord, although the standard way (or at least the way I usual play it) is like this:
```E||--3----||
B||--3----||
G||--5----||
D||--5----||
A||--3----||
E||--3----||```
In the above chord, the note order is C F C E G, meaning it has all of and only the notes in the Cadd11 chord (C E G and F). We will examine this chord more closely after learning about the eleventh chord. The Eleventh Chord: The eleventh chord is very similar to the ninth chord, and only has one extra note. It goes like this: 1 3 5 b7 9 11 So, lets use this information to construct a C11 chord, starting with C:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||-------||
E||--8----||```
Than E:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Than G:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Next, we would add the flat seventh, Bb:
```E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Now we would add the ninth note of the C major, D:
```E||-------||
B||--3----||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
And then finally the eleventh note, F:
```E||--1----||
B||--3----||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||```
Now, this is probably not the easiest way to play a C11 chord. The easiest way would be to play it C F Bb E G D, making it this:
```E||--10----||
B||---8----||
G||---9----||
D||---8----||
A||---8----||
E||---8----||```

### 25 comments sorted by best / new / date

phank: It's an 11 chord. You can omit the 9 if you have to (and you can always omit the 5) and it is still considered an 11 chord, as long as you have the b7 in there. This is common on instruments like guitars for which it might be difficult to include all the notes 1, 3, 5, b7, 9, and 11 within a single chord. And of course, without the b7, it would be an add11 chord, although that type of chord is really rare.
Great lesson, helped me revise chord theory really well . Just one thing I picked out... In the tab above the paragraph starting "In the above chord, the note order is C F C E G...", you wrote: E||--3----|| B||--3----|| G||--5----|| D||--5---- || A||--3----|| E||--3----|| Which is G C G C D G. Shouldn't it be: E||--3----|| B||--5----|| G||--5----|| D||--3----|| A||--3----|| E||-----||
really awesome stuff, man. keep that shit up!
slayerfrk wrote: Cmaj has 7 notes... not 8
I consider the second C an eighth note of the major scale. Technically, it's only seven notes, as the second C is just another C.
JT436 wrote: Great lesson, helped me revise chord theory really well . Just one thing I picked out... In the tab above the paragraph starting "In the above chord, the note order is C F C E G...", you wrote: E||--3----|| B||--3----|| G||--5----|| D||--5---- || A||--3----|| E||--3----|| Which is G C G C D G. Shouldn't it be: E||--3----|| B||--5----|| G||--5----|| D||--3----|| A||--3----|| E||-----||
Oh sorry, I must have accidently put that G there. It looks like I was one a role with the threes.
OK, so what is a 1-3-5-b7-11 chord? It's not an add11, because of the 7th. It's not an 11th chord because it's missing the 9. So what is it?
This is a fantastic lesson! Very easily understood, very accurate, very helpful. Great job!
3 if this is a cadd 3 9 why does evr 0 y one call it a c 0 c major chord 2 3
I'm usually a anti-theroy guy but spending half a hour reading these three guides have really cleared things up. Thanks
Also, C/G is "C 2nd inversion" not 1st inv.
NRJMoms, it does have to do with sound waves. The ratio of wavelengths of two notes one octave apart is 2:1 (e.g. A can be played as 440 Hz, 880 Hz, 220 Hz, etc. and they are all "A") This is why they sound "the same." Similarly, the ratio of wavelengths of notes a fifth apart (C to G for example) is 3:1. These even ratios are what makes the chord sound so pleasant: in a C major chord, all the notes vibrate "together." In a chord such as C F# G Db, the notes do not have these conveniently compatible sound waves. This is what makes our ears "like" certain chords over others (that was a very basic and brief explanation, but basically it does have to do with the properties of sound waves rather than contrived rules) CPDmusic, I do have a problem with your 11 chords, though. CEGF, quite simply, sounds awful. The 3rd and 11th are so dissonant to each other that they are so so rarely played in the same chord. Usually you choose one, or sharpen the eleven, so you might get CFG (C sus) or CEGBbDF# (C9#11). It seems pointless to actually teach such impractical chords as Cmajadd11. With minor chords this is not an issue, but you should probably teach chords that people can practically use... And please, give some pointers on chord progressions, and how to use them, instead of so much theory jargon that means nothing out of context.
LazyLatinoRocke wrote: ^Well the G is still part of the C chord so it's not like it violates any "rule". the bass note would just be G instead of a C
Yes, it would still be C. But I guess if you really wanted to be crazy technical, it would have to be written out "C/G" or "C 1st Inversion".
^Well the G is still part of the C chord so it's not like it violates any "rule". the bass note would just be G instead of a C
^ the scale i mean not the chord
C and C an octave higher is still one note, you wouldnt call 3 C notes a chord
Finally, I got information about chord composition. Good lesson.
quote WHAT! The C major scale only has eight notes! Yes, but then it repeats, just an octave higher.
now what I really would like to know one thing (after having read part I, II and III). Why is 1 3 5 a major chord and why does it sound well. Why not 1 2 6? See what I mean? Is it just a rule (ok, I get it then) or is there a logical explanation linked to sound waves and harmonics and stuff. I concede it may be too technical and no longer really musical.
Great lesson, really cleared stuff up. cheers
SilverSpurs616 wrote: aha! finally, the differences between add9's and ninths perfectly explained! Thanks a lot
There you go, now you know.
aha! finally, the differences between add9's and ninths perfectly explained! Thanks a lot
Shame shame , joke... Good to see this stuff here altrought i've already gone trought it.
NRJMons wrote: now what I really would like to know one thing (after having read part I, II and III). Why is 1 3 5 a major chord and why does it sound well. Why not 1 2 6? See what I mean? Is it just a rule (ok, I get it then) or is there a logical explanation linked to sound waves and harmonics and stuff. I concede it may be too technical and no longer really musical.
There probably is some sort of technically explanation involving sound waves and harmonization, but to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I just think of it as a "rule" that a major chord is 1 3 5.