Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Dominant 7, add 9

Fourth in the series of commonly-used chord voicings for a C Dominant Seventh chord…

One way to get a jazzier sound is to add “color tones” to the basic seventh chord.  A commonly-used color is the “9” (or “2” if you like). In service to physical ease and musicality, it is customary to drop the most expendable note “1” from the right hand and replace it with the 9 as follows…

piano-ology-jazz-school-chord-voicings-c-dominant-7-add-9-left-hand-1-right-hand-3-5-flat7-9-notation

(If you need a refresher on chord structure: Chord Structure: The Number System)

piano-ology-jazz-school-chord-voicings-c-dominant-7-add-9-left-hand-1-right-hand-3-5-flat7-9-keyboard


A logical and musical next step is to invert the right hand, an important skill that serves at least two purposes:

  • In order to place the notes in a pleasing register (not too low where it can sound muddy and not too high where it can sound thin).
  • In order to smoothly connect with neighboring chords by voice-leading (lots more on this is subsequent lessons).

piano-ology-jazz-school-chord-voicings-c-dominant-7-add-9-left-hand-1-right-hand-flat7-9-3-5-notation.gif

piano-ology-jazz-school-chord-voicings-c-dominant-7-add-9-left-hand-1-right-hand-flat7-9-3-5-keyboard.gif

You still have HOMEWORK to do: Using your knowledge of scales and chord structure (and your ears of course), transpose this voicing to all twelve keys. In doing so, you are going to build an enormous chord vocabulary that integrates the aural, visio-spatial, kinesthetic and lays a solid foundation for fluent improvisation.


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About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
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