Major Ninth Chords
Let’s look at how to play a Gmaj9 (G major ninth) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn 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.
Then we’ll add the seventh note of the matching major scale to the chord.
Finally, we’ll add the ninth note of the scale. Since scales only have eight notes, to find the ninth, we’ll repeat the scale into the next octave. The ninth is the same as the second note of the scale, one octave up.
These chords sound really nice at the piano!
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 Gmaj9 Chord
Now let’s build a Gmaj9 chord on the piano. We’ll start by building a G major chord using the first, third and fifth notes of the G major scale: G – B – D.
Then we’ll add the seventh note of the G major scale to the chord: F♯
Next, we’ll find the ninth note of the scale by repeating it into the next octave: A
So to play a Gmaj9 chord, we’d play:
G – B – D – F♯ – A
You can use this pattern to build any major ninth chord. Start by building a major chord, then add the seventh and ninth notes of the matching major scale.
You probably can’t reach all these notes with one hand, so you have a couple options. One option would be to move the A back down to the position of a second. Another option would be to play the G with your left hand and play the other notes with your right hand.
If you move the A back down to the position of a second, you’ll play G – A – B – D – F♯. You’ll need to play both the G and A notes with your thumb at an angle to make this work. So the fingering would be 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s).
If you play the G with your left hand, then you can play the B – D – F♯ – A using fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 of your right hand.
Other Chord Types
There are many other types of chords you can learn. Here are some others:
Now you know how to build a Gmaj9 chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build any other major ninth chord.
Piano chords are such a great way to learn the piano and enjoy piano music! Once you know the pattern for building a particular chord, you can apply that pattern starting on any note, and the piano takes on new life!