Major Ninth Chords
Let’s look at how to play a Dmaj9 (D major ninth) chord on the piano. We’ll also look at the pattern for building any 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.
This means 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.
Next we’ll add the seventh note of the matching major scale to the chord.
Then we’ll add the ninth note of the scale. Since scales only have eight notes, we can repeat the scale into the next octave to find the ninth note.
Chord Types Printable
Learn to play 17 types of piano chords using 12 different root notes with this 34-page PDF! Chords are sorted both by their root note (C, D, E, etc.) and type (major, minor, etc.).
How to Play a Dmaj9 Chord
Now let’s build the Dmaj9 chord. We’ll start by finding the first, third and fifth notes of the D major scale to build our D major chord: D – F♯ – A
Then we’ll add the seventh note of the D major scale: C♯
Next we’ll repeat the scale into the next octave to find the ninth note: E
So to play a Dmaj9 chord, we’ll play:
D – F♯ – A – C♯ – E
You can use this pattern to build any major ninth chord. First build a major chord using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching major scale. Then add the seventh note of the same scale. Then add the ninth note of the scale by repeating the scale into the next octave.
You probably can’t reach all these notes with your right hand only, so you have a couple options. One option would be 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 move the E down to the position of a second and play both the D and E with your thumb at an angle. So the notes would be D – E – F♯ – A – C♯ and the fingering would be 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 Dmaj9 chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build other major ninth chords. These chords are really beautiful.
Using piano chords to learn the piano is a wonderful way to learn and enjoy the piano!