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Gb11 Piano Chord

    Piano Diagram of Gb11 in Root Position

    Gb11 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    Gb11 is a chord that includes the root note Gb, the major third (Bb), the perfect fifth (Db), the minor seventh (Fb), the major ninth (Ab), and the eleventh (Cb).  Keep reading to learn something more about this chord.


    Structure of Gb11


    Gb, Bb, Db, Fb, Ab, Cb


    R, 3, 5, m7, 9, 11

    Playing Extended Chords on Piano

    Extended chords are commonly used in piano playing, but they can be tricky to play in their entirety due to the large number of notes involved. To make these chords more manageable, pianists often omit certain notes, such as the root or the 5th. Another technique is to split the chord between both hands, playing either full or partial chords in each hand.

    How to play a Gb11

    For example, to play the Gb11 chord, you can start by playing the root note Gb with your left hand. Then, with your right hand, you can play the major 3rd Bb, minor 7th Fb, and the 11th note Cb. This will result in a simplified Gb11 chord that consists of the root note, major 3rd, minor 7th, and the 11th notes only.

    Gb + Bb, Fb, Cb

    However, even when notes are omitted or split between hands, extended chords can still create complex and dense harmonies. When these chords are inverted, the resulting clusters of notes can be particularly challenging to voice effectively.


    Gb11 Chord Inversions


    The Gb11 chord has a total of 5 inversions:

    Root Position: Gb Bb Db Fb Ab Cb
    1st Inversion: Bb Db Fb Gb Ab Cb
    2nd Inversion: Db Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb
    3rd Inversion: Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb Db
    4th Inversion: Ab Bb Cb Db Fb Gb
    5th Inversion Cb Db Fb Gb Ab Bb

    Piano Keyboard Diagrams

    Chord Inversions on Piano

    Understanding chord inversions is an essential aspect of music theory as it helps to explain how chords are constructed and used in progressions. When playing chord inversions on a piano, it’s important to keep in mind that the diagrams used to illustrate the order of notes may not always be practical to play.

    To achieve the proper chord voicings on a piano, you need to distribute the notes of the chord across various octaves and positions on the keyboard. This often means that the basic shape of the chord’s inversions shown in diagrams may not be the most convenient or comfortable way to play the chord.

    While chord inversion diagrams can be useful in comprehending the structure and sequence of notes in a chord, it’s recommended to experiment with different voicings and fingerings to find the most efficient and comfortable way to play the chord while still preserving its intended harmonic function and sound.

    Music Theory and Harmony of Gb11


    The Gb11 chord is an extension of the Gb7 chord and is commonly used on the V and VII degree of major and natural minor scales, respectively. It can be used in all the positions where Gb7 can be played, but a more common use is to play it in conjunction with a Gb7 chord. However, it’s important to note that some positions may not work as well as others when using Gb11 instead of Gb7.

    If you want to experiment with using Gb11 as an alternative to Gb7, you can start by checking out the Gb7 chord page for ideas on where to begin. Trying out the Gb11 chord in different positions can help you understand which ones work well and which ones may not be as effective.


    Building the Gb11 Chord: Different Approaches

    Starting from the Gb Major Scale

    To form an 11th chord, you combine the root, the major 3rd, the 5th, the minor 7th, the major 9th and the 11th from a major scale:


    Gb Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th

    Gb Major Scale


    Gb Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th - Keyless Notation

    Gb Major Scale – Keyless Notation


    To create a Gb11 chord, apply the formula R, 3, 5, m7, 9, 11 in the following manner:

    1. Begin with the Root note, Gb.
    2. Select the major 3rd interval, Bb.
    3. Add the 5th interval, which is Db.
    4. Add the minor 7th interval, E.
    5. Add the major 9th, which is a 2nd at the higher octave, Ab
    6. Lastly, add the 11th B, which is a 4th interval at the higher octave.

    By following this simple formula, you can create a dominant 11th chord from any major scale.


    by Combining Intervals

    One method to create a dominant 11th chord is by combining specific intervals – a major 3rd, a minor 3rd, a minor 3rd, a major 3rd, and a minor 3rd. This is the formula:

    3 + m3 + m3 + 3 + m3 = 11th Chords

    To build a Gb11 chord,

    • we begin with the root note Gb and
    • add a major 3rd interval, which is four half-steps up from Gb, to get Bb.
    • Next, we add a minor 3rd interval, which is three half-steps up from Bb, to get Db.
    • Continuing in this pattern, we add another minor 3rd interval to get E and
    • then a major 3rd interval to get Ab.
    • Finally, we add the 11th note (B), which is a minor 3rd higher than Ab to complete the chord.


    by Combining Chords

    An alternative way to build dominant 11th chords is to merge a major triad with the major chord based on its minor 7th.

    To form a Gb11 chord, for instance, you can blend a Gb Major triad (Gb, Bb, Db) with an E Major chord (E, Ab, B).

    Gb Major + E Major = Gb11

    When played together, these two chords produce a Gb11 chord.


    How to Use Gb11 in a Chord Progression


    The Gb11 chord is essentially an extension of the Gb7 chord, with the addition of the 9th (Ab) and the 11th (B) notes. As the Gb11 chord includes the dominant 7th note (E), it serves a similar function to the Gb7 chord in creating tension and leading to the tonic chord.

    Because of this, the Gb11 chord can often be substituted for the Gb7 chord and vice versa, depending on the desired musical effect. While there are examples of 11th chords used as tonic chords, this post will focus on the more common uses of the Gb11 chord.

    Here are the tables of the major and natural minor scales that include the Gb dominant 7th chord, which can be substituted or complemented by a Gb11 chord.

    The Cb Major key is considered a theoretical key and not commonly used in practice. It’s more convenient to refer to its enharmonic equivalent key  (B Major), as it involves fewer accidentals.

    on B Major Scale

    Major Scale I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Cb = B Cb Maj7 C# min7 D# min7 Fb Maj7 F#7 ⇒ F#11 = Gb11 G# min7 A#m7b5
    • Dominant chord in B Major as F#11


    on Ab minor Scale

    Natural Minor  i ii III iv v VI VII
    Ab Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7 ⇒ Gb11
    • Leading Tone chord in Ab minor


    Gb11 as Dominant Chord in Cb Major

    Check F#11 in B Major


    Gb11 as Leading Tone chord in Ab Minor

    Gb11 can be used as a variation for the dominant 7th chord on the VII degree of the Ab minor key. By using the Gb11 chord as a leading tone, it can create a sense of tension and resolution that can be used to lead into the tonic chord or as part of a modulation to the Gb7 chord.

    i ii III iv v VI VII
    Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7


    Gb11 as VII degree – Chord Progressions

    Here are some chord progressions that demonstrate how the Gb11 chord can function as the leading tone or as part of a modulation:


    i iv VII i
    i iv VII i
    Ab min7 Db min7 Gb11 | Gb7 Ab min7


    i VII VI V
    i VII VI v
    Ab min7 Gb11 | Gb7 Fb Maj7 Eb min7


    i III VII VI
    i III VII VI
    Ab min7 Cb Maj7 Gb11 | Gb7 Fb Maj7


    i iv VII VI
    i iv VII VI
    Ab min7 Db min7 Gb11 | Gb7 Fb Maj7


    i iv VII III
    i iv VII III
    Ab min7 Db min7 Gb11 | Gb7 Cb Maj7


    Chord Similarities

    Dominant 11th and 9sus4 Chords

    The dominant 11th and 9sus4 chords share many similarities, as they both consist of similar sets of notes. The only difference between them is that the 9sus4 chord omits the 3rd note, while the dominant 11th chord includes the 4th note played at a higher octave. The dominant 11th chord is composed of the root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th notes, while the 9sus4 chord includes the root, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th notes.

    For instance, a Gb dominant 11th chord includes the notes Gb, Bb, Db, Fb, Ab, and B, while a Gb 9sus4 chord is composed of Gb, B, Db, Fb, and Ab.

    The presence of the major 3rd note in the dominant 11th chord contributes to its stability, resulting in a less tense sound.

    On the other hand, the absence of the 3rd note in the 9sus4 chord creates a more suspended and unresolved sound. Nevertheless, both chords have a similar sound due to the inclusion of the 4th (or 11th) interval.

    Dominant 11th and add11 Chords

    The dominant 11th and add11 chords share many similarities in terms of their notes. Both chords contain the Root, 3rd, 5th, and 11th notes, with the only difference being the presence of the 7th and 9th notes in the dominant 11th chord.

    For example, the Gb11 is made by Gb, Bb, Db, Fb, Ab, and Cb while the Gb add11 is made by Gb, Bb, Db, Cb.

    The add11 chord is generally considered to be a lighter chord due to the absence of the 7th and 9th notes, which provide tension and richness to the dominant 11th chord. However, the presence of the 11th note in both chords creates a similar sound, making them sound alike.


    Alternative Gb11 Nomenclature

    • Gb 11
    • Solb 11
    • Gb 11th
    • Gb dom11
    • Gb 7/9/11
    • Gb dominant 11
    • Gb dominant 11th
    • Gb dominant eleventh
    • Gb dominant ninth eleventh
    • Gb dominant seventh ninth eleventh



    The chord progressions and examples presented in this post provide a comprehensive overview of the most common uses of the Gb11 chord. It’s important to note, however, that many advanced harmony-related topics could not be included due to space constraints. These topics include chord progressions built on harmonic and melodic scales, modal scales, hidden tonality, secondary dominants and other chord substitutions, non-functional harmony and atonal music, modal interchange and borrowed chords, voice leading and counterpoint, chromatisms, jazz harmony…I mean, music theory is a huge topic!

    Although I couldn’t cover all of these topics in my post, I encourage readers to continue exploring these areas in their study and research. By expanding your knowledge in these advanced areas of music theory, you can gain a deeper understanding of the harmonic possibilities that exist beyond the basics presented here.

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