9 major chords

The Major 9th (maj9) chord should not be confused with the dominant 9th chord. If we compare Cmaj9 with C9 we could see that the notes changes from C, D, E, B to C, D, E, Bb. It is a relatively uncommon chord, which is probably most used in jazz arrangements. Below you could see this chord played in different tones with a movable shape.

maj9 (moveable shape)

Cmaj9

  • Cmaj9 chord diagram

Dmaj9

  • Dmaj9 chord diagram

Emaj9

  • Emaj9 chord diagram

Fmaj9

  • Fmaj9 chord diagram

Gmaj9

  • Gmaj9 chord diagram

Amaj9

  • Amaj9 chord diagram

Bmaj9

  • Bmaj9 chord diagram

Comment

Notice that the chord has some similarities with the 7#9 chord, just two fingers are changing positions.

Since some of the chords above are high up the fretboard and in some situations less suitable, some compliment to maj9 chords in open positions are presented below.

Major 9th with flats and sharps

Additional chords in this category, with the same shapes as seen in diagrams above:

C sharp / D flat maj9: X4354X
D sharp / E flat maj9: X6576X
F sharp / G flat maj9: X 9 8 10 9 x
G sharp / A flat maj9: X 11 10 12 11 X
A sharp / B flat maj9: X1021X

Major 9th chords with bass note on 6th string

A movable chord shape with root note on the sixth string and the third note omitted:


Maj 9th chord moveable

Some example with short notation:

Cmaj9: 8X978X
Bmaj9: 7X867X
Amaj9: 5X645X

Major 9th chords with alternative shape

Another possible movable chord shape with root note on the fifth string:


Maj 9th chord moveable

Some example with short notation:

Emaj9: X96666
Dmaj9: X74444
Cmaj9: X52222

Theory

The only diatonic major 9th chord can be found on the IV degree in a major scale. In C major, this would be Fmaj9 whereas Gmaj9 would be a non-diatonic chord because of the F# note.

Chord formula

The major ninth is built with the formula 1-3-5-7-9 (root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, major 7th and major 9th).

Chord construction

Cmaj9  x -C - E - B - D - x
Dmaj9 x -D - F# - C# - E - x
Emaj9  x -E - G# - D# - F# - x
Fmaj9  x - F - A - E - G - x
Gmaj9  x - G - B - F# - A - x
Amaj9  x - A - C# - G# - B - x
Bmaj9  x - B - D# - A# - C# - x
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cmaj9  C - E - G - B - D
Dmaj9  D - F# - A - C# - E
Emaj9  E - G# - B - D# - F#
Fmaj9  F - A - C - E - G
Gmaj9  G - B - D - F# - A
Amaj9  A - C# - E - G# - B
Bmaj9  B - D# - F# - A# - C#
The intervals are 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 9

Progressions

Suggestions of chord sequences to try with this chord type:

Dm9 - G13 - Cmaj9

Cmaj9 - C#dim7 - Dm7 - G11

Em - Dmaj9 - Asus2 - Cadd9

Major 9th chords work as I and IV, but not as V chords (atonal). So, for example, in C major key, Cmaj9 and Fmaj9 are viable (diatonic) options.

Open major 9 chords

Amaj9

  • Amaj9 chord diagram

Gmaj9

  • Gmaj9 chord diagram

Emaj9

  • Emaj9 chord diagram

Fmaj9

  • Fmaj9 chord diagram

Bbmaj9

  • Bbmaj9 chord diagram

Comment

Notice that Fmaj9 has a shape the copies C major in open position but on a higher fret. An alternative version for Emaj9 is 021102.

Progressions

More examples of progressions including major 9th:


C - Fmaj9 - G6

Back to chord types

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