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Altering Notes and Chords

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
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If a note in the chord is not in the major or minor scale of the root of the chord, it is an altered note and makes the chord an altered chord. The alteration - for example "flat five" or "sharp nine" - is listed in the chord symbol. Any number of alterations can be listed, making some chord symbols quite long. Alterations are not the same as accidentals. Remember, a chord symbol always names notes in the scale of the chord root, ignoring the key signature of the piece that the chord is in, so the alterations are from the scale of the chord, not from the key of the piece.

Figure 5.30 Altered Chords
There is some variation in the chord symbols for altered chords. Plus/minus or sharp/flat symbols may appear before or after the note number. When sharps and flats are used, remember that the alteration is always from the scale of the chord root, not from the key signature.

Exercise 5.12:

On a treble clef staff, write the chords named. You can print this PDF file if you need staff paper for this exercise.

  1. D (dominant) seventh with a flat nine
  2. A minor seventh with a flat five
  3. G minor with a sharp seven
  4. B flat (dominant) seventh with a sharp nine
  5. F nine sharp eleven