Minor Ninth Chords
Let’s look at how to play a Cm9 (C minor ninth) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any minor ninth chord.
What Are Minor Ninth Chords?
Minor ninth chords are minor chords with two added notes. The added notes are the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step, and the ninth note of the scale.
To build a minor ninth chord, we’ll start by building a minor chord. Minor chords are built using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching minor scale (learn how to build a minor scale here). Another way to build a minor chord is to build the matching major chord, then lower the middle note 1/2 step.
The last note of the chord is the ninth note of the matching major scale. Since scales only have eight notes, to find the ninth, we need to 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 Cm9 Chord
To build a Cm9 chord on the piano, we’ll first build our C minor chord: C – E♭ – G.
Then we’ll repeat the scale into the next octave to find the ninth note, D.
So to play a Cm9 chord, we’d play:
C – E♭ – G – B♭ – D
Now you know how to build a Cm9 chord on the piano, and you can use this pattern to build any minor ninth chord. Just build a minor chord, then add the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step, and the ninth note of the scale.
You probably can’t reach all these notes in that order with your right hand only, so you have a couple options. One option would be to play the C with your left hand, and the other notes with your right. You would use fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 to play the E♭ – G – B♭ – D (thumbs are 1’s).
Another option would be to move the D back down to the position of a second, and play both the C and D with your thumb at an angle. The fingering for this would be 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 to play C – D – E♭ – G – B♭.
Other Chord Types
Some of the other chord types you can learn are:
Now you know how to build a Cm9 chord on the piano, and you can use this pattern to build any minor ninth chord.
Chords are a great way to learn the piano, since they leave lots of room for creativity and personal expression.