Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Dominant 7, add 9


One way to get a jazzier sound is to add “color tones” to the basic Dominant Seventh Chord. A commonly-used color tone is the “9” (or “2” if you like)…

For 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…


A logical and musical next step is to revoice the right hand to put “the b7” at the bottom, 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).


Using your ears and knowledge of scales and chord structure, “transpose” this voicing to all spellings in three musically-useful patterns:

  1. Chromatically Ascending: C > Db > D > Eb > E > F > Gb > G > Ab > A > Bb > B > C.
  2. Chromatically Descending: C > B > Bb > A > Ab > G > Gb > F > E > Eb > D > Db > C.
  3. Cycle of Dominants: C > F > Bb > Eb > Ab > Db > Gb > B > E > A > D > G > C.

Doing so will develop an enormous chord vocabulary that you will know by ear, intellect, eye, and muscle… laying a rock solid foundation for fluent improvisation.

learn more… Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Dominant 7 “Definitive Tones over Perfect 5th”