Let’s look at how to play a C9 (“C ninth”) chord on the piano. This pattern can be used to build any ninth chord.
What Are Ninth Chords?
Then we’ll add the ninth note of the scale to the chord. You may be wondering how we can do this, since a scale only has eight notes. Well, if we continue the scale into the next octave, the ninth note is right after the eighth. It’s basically the same note as the second note of the scale, but one octave up.
How to Play a C9 Chord
Finally, we’ll add the ninth note by repeating the C major scale into the next octave. When we do, we find the ninth note is D.
So to play a C9 chord, we’ll play:
C – E – G – B♭ – D
Now you know how to play a C9 chord on the piano!
You can use this pattern to build any ninth chord on the piano. First play a major chord, then add the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step. Then add the ninth note of the scale by repeating the scale into the next octave to find the ninth note.
Ninth chords sound really pretty, but you probably can’t reach all those notes with your right hand only.
You can re-arrange them if you want, by moving the D back down to the position of a second. Or you can play the C with your left hand and the other notes with your right.
If you move the D down to the position of a second, you’ll need to play both the C and the D with your thumb at an angle, and play the other notes with fingers 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s).
If you play the C with your left hand and the other notes with your right, you can use fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 to play the E – G – B♭ – D.
Other Chord Types
Some of the other chord types you can learn are:
Now you know how to play ninth chords on the piano! Learning different types of chords can help you play more creatively and freely at the piano.