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Dominant 11th Chords

 

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Extended Harmony Chords Series 3

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It is of course important to know how to play these chords. It is also important to understand how and why they are different. Let's review the theory behind the construction of these chords. The first one I play is the dominant 11th chord.

Dominant 11th Chords contain:

  • Root or 1st
  • Minor 7th
  • Perfect 9th
  • Perfect 11th (or 4th)

    Notice that although the major 3rd is typically included in dominant chords, the scale degree of an 11th makes for a very dissonant sound compared to the major 3rd. For this reason the 3rd is typically omitted. The 5th scale degree can be used, but is not necessary. It is not one of the essential notes that makes the chord a dom11 chord, so we don't need it. And many jazz players simply don't use it when they play (or "voice") this chord.

    Quite often this chord is thought of as a type of suspended 4th chord. But, the thing that makes it different from a standard sus4 chord is that the 7th and 9th are usually included. And the chord often functions specifically as a type of dominant chord; meaning as a V of some tonic chord (the tonic of the home key or of a modulation).

    In the video lesson I show how to root it on the E, A and D strings.

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