Minor Ninth Chords
Let’s look at how to play a Dm9 (D minor ninth) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any minor ninth chord.
What Are Minor Ninth Chords?
To build a minor ninth chord, we can 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).
Finally, we’ll add the ninth note of the scale to the chord. Since scales only have eight notes, we’ll repeat the scale into the next octave to find the ninth.
How to Play a Dm9 Chord
These are the same notes we get if we start with a D major chord (D – F♯ – A), and lower the middle note 1/2 step.
Then we’ll find the ninth note by repeating the scale into the next octave: E.
So to play a Dm9 chord, we’ll play:
D – F – A – C – E
You can use this pattern to build any minor ninth chord on the piano. First build a minor chord by playing the first, third and fifth notes of the matching minor scale (or take the matching major chord and lower the middle note 1/2 step).
Then repeat the scale into the next octave, adding the ninth note.
You probably can’t reach all these notes with your right hand only, so you have a couple options. One option is to play the D with your left hand, and play the F – A – C – E with fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s). Another option would be to lower the E back down to the position of a second, and play the notes in this order: D – E – F – A – C. You would play two notes with your thumb at an angle, and use fingers 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5.
Other Chord Types
There are many other chord types you can learn. Here are some others:
Now you know how to build a Dm9 chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build any minor ninth chord.
Patterns can be used again and again to build many different chords, starting on different notes!