Ch. 5 – Chord Symbols

We need to learn chord symbols. They are a musicians acronym. They represent the multitude of harmonic colours we can add to our musical experience. The following two links handle spelling out chords very well

My Own Topography of chords on the piano keyboard

C… C E G      uses  1, 3, 5 notes of C  Major scale
CMaj7 ... C E G B     uses 1, 3, 5, 7 notes of C  Major scale (Also C with triangle)

Cm… C  EG     uses 1, 3, 5  notes  of  C minor scale.  (Also with “minus sign” C-)

C7 … C E G B♭     uses 1, 3, 5 note and flat7 of C Major scale

C aug … C E G#     uses 1, 3, and sharp 5 of C Major scale

Cm7♭5 … C E♭ G♭ B♭    uses 1, 3, flat 5 and flat 7 of C minor scale

C6 … C E G A    uses  1, 3, 5 and 6 of C Major scale

Cm6 . . . C E♭ G A uses 1, 3, 5 and raised 6th of C minor scale

C9 . . .  C E G B♭ D  uses  1, 3, 5, flat 7 and 9 of C Major scale

Cm9 . . .  C, Eb, G, B♭, D

C11 . . .  C, E, G, B♭, D, F sometimes written as  Bb/C

C7♭9  . . .  C, E, G, B♭, D♭

Common progressions in 5 easy keys

2 thoughts on “Ch. 5 – Chord Symbols

  1. I always thought C11 was without the E in it. The E and F clash and also confuse the type of chord it is: dominant, tonic or sub-dominant.

    What do you think?

  2. I agree most of the time. But the rules for finding valid notes and voicings are the same.
    You build on the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13
    The melody dictates what happens sometimes. This complexity of harmony is typically used by jazz pianists.
    I know it can be overused and some people never get used to it.
    Try C-G-E-Bb-D-F but resolve it with F-A-C-E or F-C-E-G the parallel movement treats the clash like it was meant to be.
    But maybe only half the population can reach a tenth so those kinds of voicings don’t get used much.