Jazz School: Chord Voicings: Major 7, add 9

music notation showing c major 7 add 9 chord voicing

A standard way to get a jazzier sound is to add “color tones” to the basic seventh chord. A commonly-used color tone is “the 9″…

Major 7 Chord add 9 Voicing

In the interest of 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…


Major 7 Chord add 9 Alternate Voicing

A logical and musical next step is to revoice the right hand to put “the 7” at the bottom, an important skill that serves at least two purposes:

  • 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).
  • To smoothly connect with neighboring chords by voice-leading (lots more on this in subsequent lessons on jazz chord progressions).


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: Major 7 “Definitive Tones over Perfect 5th”

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