Tag Archives: chord

7th chords with tensions

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Dominant 7th chord symbols are easy to figure out once you know the “code.” Here are a few hints:

1) F9 or F13 are really abbreviations. They really mean “F7 with 9th added.” Remember that in a dominant 7th chord, the 7th is automatically assumed to be b7.

2) Anytime there’s an “altered” tension (such as b9, #9, b13, b5 etc.), the symbol includes 7. The reason this is done is to distinguish between the root and the tensions. For example Bb13 is not the same as B7b13.

3) just like in the “4 Rules for 7th chords”, the term “maj” refers to the 7th of the chord and nothing else. Fmaj9 means an Fmaj7 chord with a 9th added.

4) In these “denser” chord voicings, the 5th of the chord is often “dispensible.”
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Four Rules of 7th Chord Construction

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The Four Rules of 7th Chord Construction
7th chord symbols can sometimes look like math formulas. On piano they’re easy because you learn the theory and apply it directly to the instrument. On guitar, it’s a little harder because you have to spread the notes out (so you can reach them; chords w/ consecutive 2nd and 3rd intervals involve a significant reach!). So before you can play them, you have to spread them out first.
This approach asks you to memorize 4 rules, 3 guitar fingerings, and and the function of each note. if you can do that, you can get pretty much any 7th chord, in any key, in at least three places.
The value i this is that it translates very well to other fingering systems.
The Four Rules (memorize these):
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