Major Ninth Chords
Let’s look at how to play a Bmaj9 (B major ninth) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any other major ninth chord.
What Are Major Ninth Chords?
Major ninth chords are major chords with two added notes. The added notes are the seventh and ninth notes of the matching major scale.
So to build a major ninth chord, we’ll start by building a major chord. Major chords are built using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching major scale (learn how to build a major scale here).
Then we’ll add the seventh note of the matching major scale to the chord.
Since scales only have eight notes, to add the ninth note we’ll repeat the scale into the next octave. The ninth note is the same as the second note of the scale, but one octave up.
How to Play a Bmaj9 Chord
Then we’ll add the seventh note of the B major scale to the chord: A♯
Then we’ll add the ninth note by repeating the scale into the next octave: C♯
So to play a Bmaj9 chord, we’ll play:
B – D♯ – F♯ – A♯ – C♯
We can use this pattern to build any other major ninth chord! We’ll first build a major chord, then add the seventh note of the matching major scale to the chord, then repeat the scale into the next octave to find the ninth.
You probably can’t reach all these notes with your right hand, so one option is to play the B with your left hand, and play the D♯ – F♯ – A♯ – C♯ with your right hand using fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s). You could also re-arrange the right-hand notes and play them this way: C♯ – D♯ – F♯ – A♯
Other Chord Types
Some other chord types you can learn are:
Now you know how to play a Bmaj9 chord on the piano, and you can use this knowledge to build any other major ninth chord!
Using chords to learn the piano is a great way to enjoy music!