Let’s look at how to play a G9 chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for playing any ninth chord.
What Are Ninth Chords?
Ninth chords are major 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.
This means to build a ninth chord, we can 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 find the seventh note of the scale, lower it 1/2 step, and add this to the chord.
Finally, we’ll add the ninth note of the scale to our chord. Scales only have eight notes, but if we repeat the scale into the next octave, the “ninth” is actually the second note of the scale, just one octave up.
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 G9 Chord
Now let’s build a G9 chord. We’ll start by building a G major chord using the first, third and fifth notes of the G major scale: G – B – D.
Next we’ll find the seventh note of the G major scale, F♯, and lower it 1/2 step to F.
Then we’ll add the ninth note of the scale by repeating the scale into the next octave: A.
So to play a G9 chord, we’ll play:
G – B – D – F – A
You can use this pattern to build any 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, lowered 1/2 step. Then repeat the scale into the next octave and add the ninth note.
Basically you’re building a major chord – then a seventh chord – then a ninth chord.
You probably can’t reach these notes in this order with one hand, so you have a couple options.
You could rearrange the notes by moving the A down to the position of a second. Or you could play the root note G with your left hand, and play the other notes with your right hand.
If you move A down to the position of a second, you’ll need to play both G and A with your thumb at an angle. Then you’d play B – D – F with fingers 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s).
If you play the G note with your left hand, then B – D – F – A can be played with fingers 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 play a G9 chord on the piano, and you can use this pattern to build any ninth chord.
Ninth chords are really beautiful, and they can add a lot of depth to your piano playing.