How To Remember Larger Extended Chords

Extended Chords: LadyDpiano

What Are Chords?

Chords are defined as a combination of tones which blend harmoniously when sounded together.

Three toned chord is called a triad. Read more about The Three Primary Chords

Four toned chord is a seventh. Read about Voicing 7th Chords

Five toned chord a ninth. Check out my post on The 9th Chord

Six toned chord an eleventh.

Eleventh chords are a lot easier to remember, especially if you know your seventh chord. The easiest way to think of this chord is the Major chord + the "5" dominant seventh chord. In the key of C major, this is simply C major (C-E-G) under a G7 (because G is the fifth tone of the C major scale. Use its dominant chord, which is G7). So, C maj + G7 = Cmaj11 (CEGBDF)

Formula for Remembering Eleventh Chords

Major eleventh: 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11
Minor eleventh: 1 + b3 + 5 + b7 + 9 + 11 
(Cmin11: C Eb G Bb D F)
Dominant eleventh: 1 + 3 + 5 + b7 + 9 + 11 
(C11 : CEGBDF)


The dominant eleventh is identical to the dominant minor except for one change.
Major chord +b7 major chord = Dominant eleventh chord.
Instead of playing a minor chord at the bottom (like you did with this min11 chord, simply play a regular major triad. In  C major, this is Cmaj (C E G) under Bbmaj (Bb D F). Basically, 2 major triads stacked on top of each other. C11 =  Cmaj + Bbmaj

Seven toned chord a thirteenth. Finding Thirteenth Chords on Keyboard

The formulas for the three thirteenth chords:

Major thirteenth: 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13
Cmaj13: C E G B D F

The major seventh chord + 2 major chord = Major 13th chord.
Example: Key of C, C maj7 (CEGB) under Dmaj (DFA).
All played together (CEGBDFA) create a Cmaj13 chord.

Minor thirteenth: 1 + b3 + 5 + b7 + 9 + 11 + 13
Cmin13: C Eb G Bb D F A

Min seventh chord + 2 major chord = minor 13th chord.
Example: Key of C, Cmin7 (C Eb G Bb) under Dmaj (D F A).
Cmin13 = C Eb G Bb D F A (Cmin7 + Dmaj)

Dominant thirteenth: 1 + 3 + 5 + b7 + 9 + 11 + 13
C13: C E G B D F A

Dominant seventh chord + 2 major chord + Major thirteenth chord.
Example: Key of C, this is C7 (C E G Bb) under Dmaj (D F A)
C13 = C E G Bb D F A

Either way, play C on your left hand while playing a Bbmaj7 on your right hand.

L.H. / R.H.


This produces the same sound as a 13th chord, just without the third and fifth present. Notice the Bb is the 7th of C... the D is the 9th... the F is the 11th... and the A is the 13th.

Other Posts on Chords:

You'll find lots of information to chord study in a music theory handbook available for purchase, 300pg Piano By Ear Home Study Course

photo credit: The Music Man via photopin (license)
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