Chords with Added Notes
Chords are the basis of all Western music. They are absolutely crucial to the guitar
and to rock music, and an understanding of chords will improve your understanding of the guitar
and music immensely. This page is designed to help you with the music theory behind chords
with added notes, like CaddG or Cadd9. I hope this is helpful to all you
beginners out there. Before you read this, you should be familiar with the theory of
major and minor chords, seventh chords,
and other numbered chords.
Major and minor chords contain three different pitches: the root, third, and fifth.
As you learned in the lesson about seventh chords and other numbered chords,
notes can be added to the top of a major or minor chord to make sevenths, ninths, etc.
Basically, if you take a chord that says "addX", form a chord with the pattern
1-3-5-X. Therefore, in an "add9" chord, you simply add the ninth, and get the pattern 1-3-5-9.
So an add9 chord contains a root, third, fifth, and ninth. This gives a very different sound
from a true ninth chord, which has the pattern 1-3-5-m7-9,
and functions very differently in music.
In a Cadd9 chord, for example, you will find a C, E, G, and D, and a
fingering of x32030. If you wanted to play
a Gadd9 chord, it would look like 3x0203, because the third string plays the A.
The numbers are usually used for notes which are not in the chord already;
however, this may not always be the case. If you want to add a higher note
which is already in the chord, such as adding a high G to a C chord, you would say
CaddG, as discussed below.
Chords such as CaddG are similar to Cadd9. However, I usually use the added note
name ("addG", instead of the number "add5") in chords which already contain the
added note (as the root, third, or fifth).
For example, if you wanted to play a C chord with a high G added, like this:
x32013, then you would denote this chord CaddG instead of Cadd5. Another example
is an AaddA, which looks like this: x02225, with the high A on the first string.
I think you'll agree that AaddA looks better than Aadd1 or Aadd8.
Basically, if you come across a chord which says "addX", then look at the bottom
of the page to see how it is played. It will follow the pattern 1-3-5-X.
If they don't tell you how it's played, just make it
up using the theory you have learned here. Good luck, and enjoy this one!
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© 1997 Daniel E. Smith.