Author Topic: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions  (Read 4179 times)

chsing

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How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« on: January 27, 2016, 03:27:34 am »
So I'm starting to write my own melodies/chords in ableton. I've been studying music theory, mainly on YouTube, and what I've gathered so far is:

In the minor scale, your 1 chord (1st note in the scale) should be minor, 2nd should be diminished, 3rd should be major, 4th minor, 5th minor, 6th major, and 7th major.

So let's say I'm writing in E minor. My G chord, since it's the 3rd note in the scale, will always be a major chord in a chord progression with E minor. Wrong, or right? I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.


So far, I'm able to build 3 note chords. I do this because I know in ableton, in a minor chord, I'm going to have my root note and then count up 3 keys on the piano roll, place the note there, then count up 7 from my root note. So there is my 3 note chord.

Same for a major chord. I count up 4 keys on the piano roll from my root note, then count up 7 to build a major chord.

Well what if I want to add 5ths? 7ths? 11ths? 13ths? Really want to figure this out so I can begin playing around with building better chords.

It helps me if you could put things in terms of ableton, because it's easier for me to visualize. So for a minor chord, for 5ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, how many keys do I have to count up from the root key?

And then for the major chord?? Any other explanations welcomed, but it'd be great if somebody could put things in terms of Ableton.

Lastly, I've learned that it's okay to have chords outside of the key you're writing in as long as they are "parallel"
What does this mean and can somebody give me some examples of some parallels that would work? Just so I can understand this better.

Thanks in advance peoples.  :-*






cryophonik

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 05:09:03 am »
In the minor scale, your 1 chord (1st note in the scale) should be minor, 2nd should be diminished, 3rd should be major, 4th minor, 5th minor, 6th major, and 7th major.

So let's say I'm writing in E minor. My G chord, since it's the 3rd note in the scale, will always be a major chord in a chord progression with E minor. Wrong, or right? I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.

Yes, the triad build on the third scale degree (i.e., the G) is a major chord (G B D)

So far, I'm able to build 3 note chords. I do this because I know in ableton, in a minor chord, I'm going to have my root note and then count up 3 keys on the piano roll, place the note there, then count up 7 from my root note. So there is my 3 note chord.

Same for a major chord. I count up 4 keys on the piano roll from my root note, then count up 7 to build a major chord.

Yes, you're getting the right answer, but you may want to consider a different approach to help you with your next questions, as I'll try to explain below.

Well what if I want to add 5ths? 7ths? 11ths? 13ths? Really want to figure this out so I can begin playing around with building better chords.

It helps me if you could put things in terms of ableton, because it's easier for me to visualize. So for a minor chord, for 5ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, how many keys do I have to count up from the root key?

And then for the major chord?? Any other explanations welcomed, but it'd be great if somebody could put things in terms of Ableton.

Try thinking of it this way, and once you get it down, it should make more sense when you apply it to other keys/modes.  Rather than counting semitones, think in terms of scale degrees.  An E minor scale is this:

E - 1st scale degree
F#- 2nd scale degree
G - 3rd scale degree
A - 4th scale degree
B - 5th scale degree
C - 6th scale degree
D - 7th scale degree

So, build your triads based on the scale degrees (rather than the semitone distance from the tonic) by finding the notes that are one third away from each other (i.e., skipping every other scale degree).  So, the tonic chord (i.e., i-chord) is the first, third, and fifth scale degree, or E G B.  Obviously, you'll need to consider that these scales are repeating as you go up/down octaves.  So, the iv-chord includes the fourth, sixth, and eighth (i.e., same as the first scale degree) scale degrees, or A C E.  The VII-chord includes the seventh, second, and fourth scale degrees, or D F# A.

Now, here's the important part regarding extensions.  You need to use the scale notes, but think of the intervals for the triad and extensions relative to the root note of the chord that you are extending.  For example, sticking with the key of Emin, the III-chord is Gmaj (G B D).  Now you need to think of the G as the root note of the chord, B is the third, and D is the fifth of the chord.  So, extending that to a Gmaj7 would add the F#, which is seven notes above the G.  More specifically, the F# is a seventh above the G in the key of Emin.

So, you could make your G-major triad into a G6 chord by creating the Gmaj chord and adding the scale degree that is 6 notes above the G in the key of Emin, so you would add an E to the chord (i.e., G6 = G B D E).  Extending it further, you could make the Gmaj III-chord into a G9 chord by adding both a seventh and a ninth to the Gmaj chord, or G B D F# A.

Again, the two important things to remember is that (1) the notes used to extend any chord are derived from the key of the song, whether it's major or minor, and (2) the extension indicates the interval relative to the root tone of the chord that you are extending.

Lastly, I've learned that it's okay to have chords outside of the key you're writing in as long as they are "parallel"
What does this mean and can somebody give me some examples of some parallels that would work?

Actually, it's OK to have chords outside of the key you're writing in as long as it sounds good, period.  But, it is common to use chords from the parallel and relative keys, since they share notes/harmonies with the key you're writing in.

Parallel key:has the same tonic note (e.g., the E-note of an E-scale), but is a different "mode" (i.e., major vs minor).  So, for example, E Major is the parallel major key to E minor (and, of course, Emin is the parallel minor to Emaj).

E major scale: E F# G# A B C# D#
E minor scale: E F# G A B C D

As you can probably tell, the triads built on each scale degree is very different between these two (for example, the scale built on the fourth scale degree in Emaj is and Amaj chord, where it's an Amin in Emin).

Relative key: has the same key signature, but different mode and start on different tonics.  For example, G major (has one # note in its key signature - F#) is the relative major to E minor (also has a single F# in the key signature).

G major: G A B C D E F#
E minor: E F# G A B C D

As you'll probably notice, the triads occurring in both relative scales are the same, but they have a different tonic (i.e., G major has a central tendency to the Gmaj chord, Emin has a central tendency to the Emin chord).  As you dig deeper, you'll notice that there are other forms of the minor scales (e.g., harmonic, melodic), which share more notes with the parallel major key and thus are more commonly "borrowed" to create triads that you won't find in natural minor.

Hopefully, that makes sense.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 05:23:39 am by cryophonik »
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cryophonik

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 05:18:29 am »
Another thing I'll add is that it's good to know your interval names, for example:

minor second
major second
augmented second, or minor third (same pitch, but different names)
etc.

As an example, the interval between C and D# is an augmented second, whereas the interval between C and Eb is a minor third - they are the same note on a piano, guitar etc., but have different uses in context, especially when you start considering extensions, or borrowing chords from other keys/modes.
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Lydian

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 05:34:52 am »
What you just learned is Diatonic harmony. Yes in the key of E minor the 3rd note of the scale "G" will always be major. That is assuming that the key doesn't modulate into any other keys. You are understanding this correctly.

The counting up by 3/4 keys is a pretty funny way to do it but yes that is correct as well. A minor 3rd is 3 halfsteps away from the root and a major third is 4 halfsteps away from the root. The fifth for both chords stay the same and is 7 halfsteps away from the root.

What if you wanted to add 5ths? Your major/minor chord already contains a 5th. It's just the root (bass note) and the 7 half steps away. If you want to turn it into a 5th chord what you do is take away the third so you just have the 1 and the 5.

If you want to make seventh chords then you just add the 7th of the scale.

Lets say were in the key of c major. The notes are C (1) D(2) E(3) F(4) G(5) A(6) B(7)

1-3-5-7 (C,E,G,B) is a major 7th chord
1-b3-5-b7 (C,Eb,G,Bb) is a minor 7th chord
1-3-5-b7 (C E G Bb) is a dominant seventh chord
1-b3-b5-b7 (C Eb Gb Bb is a diminished seventh chord

Just get a chord and make the formula 1-3-5-7 in your fingers and go up all the white keys. Those are diatonic seventh chords. They look like this.

Cmaj7-Dm7-Em7-Fmaj7-Gdom7-Am7-Bdim7

Extensions are the same as above just add 1-3-5-7-9 or 1-3-5-7-9-11 or 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 and move up the white notes on a piano.

Parallel means that your borrowing chords from the "parallel" key.

Diatonic harmony in Cmaj is Cmaj-Dmin-Emin-Fmaj-Gmaj-Amin-Bdim
Diatonic harmony in Cmin is Cmin-Ddim-Ebmaj-Fmin-Gmin-Abmaj-Bbmaj

Lets say that you have a chord progression that looks like this (Cmaj>Fmin>Cmaj) The chord "Fmin" doesn't exist in the key of C major. It does however exist in the key of C minor. Therefore you are "borrowing" from the parallel key.

Here are parallels..
Cmajor>Cminor
Dmajor>Dminor
Emajor>Eminor
Fmajor>Fminor

Listen to cryophonik. He knows what he's talking about.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 05:39:49 am by Lydian »
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cryophonik

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2016, 05:57:42 am »
Listen to cryophonik. He knows what he's talking about.

So does Lydian!  8)

The thing with theory is that there are usually many ways to think about it, so hearing from different perspectives can be good, either too reinforce it, or to help find those lightbulb moments.
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chsing

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 06:23:20 am »
Wow, thanks a lot guys. I can definitely make some sense out of that. Great responses. Now it's time to start practicing!!!

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Re: How to add 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th's to chords and other questions
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2016, 02:19:50 am »
Another trick I learned back in my jazz days is that the higher you go (in pitch) above the top note in a chord or triad, the crazier a note you can get away with adding.

I guess the rule is that as the frequency (i.e. gap in pitch) between two notes goes up, the ear's ability to recognize dissonance between those notes goes down.