Augmented, add9, and Suspended Chords

About This Lesson

Augmented Chords
The secret to playing an “Augmented” chord is taking your major chord and raising the top note up a half step.  If you are looking at it with your theory hat on (I’m not exactly sure what that hat would look like) then you are playing two intervals together: Major 3rd + Major 3rd.

Add9 Chords
The secret to playing “Add9” chords is adding the 2nd note of the scale to your major chord.  For example:

  • C Major Scale: C D E F G A B
  • The notes of a C major chord: C E G
  • Add in the 2nd note: CDEG

Q: Why do I add in the 2 if it is an add9 chord?
A: Let’s count the scale. C1 D2 E3 F4 G5 A6 B7 …keep going C8 D9 E10…
Notice how D is 2 and 9.

Q: How come I don’t just call it C2?
A: Some people do.  In fact there is a pretty big argument about it.  According to music theory the best thing to call it is Cadd9 but it is important to know it both ways in case you see it.

Suspended Chords
The secret to playing “Suspended” chords is knowing the first five notes of your scale.  For example:

  • C Major Scale (first 5): C D E F G
  • The notes of a C major chord are every other note: C E G
  • Csus (Csus4): Move the middle note up one: C  FG
  • Csus2: Move the middle note down on: CD  G
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