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DbmMaj9 Piano Chord

    Piano Diagram of DbmMaj9 in Root Position

    Dbm(Maj9) Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    The DbmMaj9 chord, consisting of the notes Db, Fb, Ab, C, and Eb, is a minor chord that is built on the key of Db and features an additional major 7th (C) and a major 9th (Eb). Like the DbmMaj7, it contains an augmented fifth so it’s pretty dissonant. In this article, we’ll explore the music theory underlying the DbmMaj9 chord, including its construction, common voicings, and its role in chord progressions.


    Structure of DbmMaj9


    Db, Fb, Ab, C, Eb


    R, m3, 5, 7, 9


    DbmMaj9 Chord Inversions


    The DbmMaj9 chord has a total of 4 inversions:

    Root Position: Db Fb Ab C Eb
    1st Inversion: Fb Ab C Db Eb
    2nd Inversion: Ab C Db Eb Fb
    3rd Inversion: C Db Eb Fb Ab
    4th Inversion:  Eb Fb Ab C Db

    Piano Keyboard Diagrams

    Dbm(Maj9) Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    Dbm(Maj9) Chord – Root Position

    Chord Inversions on Piano

    Chord inversion diagrams provide a visual representation of a chord’s structure and the different positions it can take on the keyboard. However, it’s important to note that not all of these positions are practical or comfortable to play. To effectively play chords on the piano, it’s essential to study voicing – the specific arrangement of notes in a chord, including their octave placement and distribution across the keyboard.

    By experimenting with different voicings and fingerings, pianists can find the most comfortable and efficient way to play each chord while still preserving its intended sound and harmonic function. This can involve playing some notes of the chord in higher or lower octaves or breaking up the chord into smaller intervals to create a smoother and more balanced sound.

    Music Theory and Harmony of DbmMaj9


    Building the DbmMaj9 Chord: Different Approaches

    Starting from the Db Major Scale

    A minor major 9th chord is built by combining the Root, a minor 3rd, a 5th, a major 7th, and a major 9th interval from a minor scale, however, for educational purposes, it may be clearer to demonstrate its construction using a major scale, as it better illustrates the relationship between intervals and their qualities.

    For example, to build a DbmMaj9 chord, you can start with the Db Major scale:


    Db Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th

    Db Major Scale


    Db Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th - Keyless Notation

    Db Major Scale – Keyless notation


    To create a DbmMaj9 chord, apply the formula R, m3, 5, 7, 9 in the following manner:

    1. Begin with the Root note, which is Db.
    2. Add the minor 3rd interval, Fb which is equivalent to a natural E but it’s called F-flat to preserve the basic interval structure of the chord..
    3. Include the 5th note, which is Ab.
    4. Add the major 7th C.
    5. Finally, add the major 9th interval Eb, which is the 9th note of the scale.

    By following this simple formula, you can create a minor major 9th chord from any major scale.


    by Combining Intervals

    Another way to build a minor major 9th chord is by combining specific intervals – a minor 3rd, a major 3rd, another major 3rd, and a minor 3rd.

    m3 + 3 + 3 + m3 = minor major 9th chords

    If we observe the intervals between the notes, we can notice that:

    • Db-E (Fb) creates a minor 3rd,
    • Fb-Ab forms a major 3rd interval,
    • Ab-C is a major 3rd
    • and C-Eb is a minor 3rd interval.

    By stacking these four intervals together, we can build the DbmMaj9 chord.


    by Combining Chords

    Another trick to build a minMaj9 chord is by combining a minor triad with the major chord built on its fifth note. To create a DbmMaj9 chord, for instance, you can combine a Db minor triad (Db, Fb, Ab) with an Ab Major chord (Ab, C, Eb). These two chords share the note Ab, and when played together, they form a DbmMaj9 chord.

    Db minor + Ab Major = DbmMaj9


    How to Use DbmMaj9 in a Chord Progression


    The DbmMaj9 chord is a fuller and more dissonant version of the DbmMaj7. It is characterized by the presence of a major 7th interval, which is not found in either the natural minor or major scales. It’s diatonic in other scales like the harmonic and melodic minor scale, which features a minor major seventh chord on their first degree.


    Most common uses of DbmMaj9

    Typically, both the DbmMaj7 and the DbmMaj9 chords are used as passing chords, temporarily transitioning towards a more stable Dbm7. Additionally, they can serve as ending chords in specific musical contexts. This is because both chords produce a mysterious and intriguing atmosphere, making them suitable for certain musical styles and compositions.


    Non-diatonic positions in Natural minor and Major Scales

    The major seventh interval of the DbmMaj9 chord, which is C, clashes with the B note present in both natural minor and major scales.

    • The DbmMaj9 chord is commonly used in the first degree of minor scales or on the sixth degree of major scales, as part of a chromatic progression towards a minor 7th chord.
    • It can also be used on the fourth degree of minor scales and on the second degree of major scales.
    • While less common, it can still be used on the fifth degree of both minor and major scales.
    • The DbmMaj9 chord is not commonly used as a standalone chord (except in endings).

    Considering the abundance of accidentals in keys featuring a Db min7 chord that can accommodate a DbmMaj9, in most cases it is more convenient to use the enharmonic equivalent keys and refer to it as C#mMaj9.


    on Natural minor Scales

    Minor Scales i ii III iv v VI VII
    Db = C# C# min7 ⇒ C#mMaj9 = DbmMaj9
    D#m7b5 E Maj7 F# min7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7
    Ab Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 ⇒ DbmMaj9
    Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    Gb = F# F# min7 G#m7b5 A Maj7 B min7 C# min7 ⇒ C#mMaj9 = DbmMaj9 D Maj7 E7

    Non diatonic passing chord to the:

    • Tonic chord in C# Minor as C#mMaj9
    • Subdominant chord in Ab Minor
    • Dominant chord in F# minor (less common) as C#mMaj9


    on Major Scales

    Major Scales I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Cb = B B Maj7 C# min7 ⇒ C#mMaj9 = DbmMaj9 D# min7 E Maj7 F#7 G# min7 A#m7b5
    Bbb = A A Maj7 B min7 C# min7 ⇒ C#mMaj9 = DbmMaj9 D Maj7 E7 F# min7 G#m7b5
    Fb = E E Maj7 F# min7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7 C# min7 ⇒ C#mMaj9 = DbmMaj9 D#m7b5

    Non diatonic passing chord to the:

    • Supertonic chord in B Major as C#mMaj9
    • Mediant chord in A Major (less common) as C#mMaj9
    • Submediant chord in E Major as C#mMaj9


    DbmMaj9 Function in Major and minor Keys

    The DbmMaj9 chord does not belong to the diatonic set of chords and therefore does not have a specific functional role in major and minor keys’ harmonic progressions. However, it can be utilized to add tonal color in specific situations where modulation to a Dbm7 chord is appropriate or feasible. Typically, this chord is found close to a variation of a Db minor chord, such as Dbm6, Dbm7, or Dbm9, to create diatonic or chromatic modulations.


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Db minor

    Check C#mMaj9 in C# minor


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Ab minor

    The DbmMaj9 chord can be used as a passing chord in the Ab minor scale which has a Db min7 on the fourth degree.

    i ii III iv v VI VII
    Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord on the iv degree

    The following chord progressions feature a DbmMaj9 chord in modulation to the iv degree in the key of Ab minor


    iv III VI VII
    iv III VI VII
    Dbm9 | Dbm6 | DbmMaj9 | Dbm6

    Db (E, Ab, B, Eb) | Db (E, Ab, Bb, Db) | Db (Eb, E, Ab, C) | Db (E, Ab, Bb, Db) 

    Cb Maj7 Fb Maj7 Gb7


    i iv VI v
    i iv VI v
    Ab min7 Dbm9 | Dbm6 | DbmMaj9 | Dbm6 Fb Maj7 Eb min7


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Gb minor

    Check C#mMaj9 in F# minor


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Cb Major

    Check C#mMaj9 in B Major


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Bbb Major

    Check C#mMaj9 in A Major


    DbmMaj9 as Passing Chord in Fb Major

    Check C#mMaj9 in E Major


    Alternative Names for DbmMaj9 Chord

    • Db-Δ9
    • Db mM9
    • Db m(Δ9)
    • Db-Δmaj9
    • Db minΔ9
    • Db-(Maj9)
    • Db mM7/9
    • Db m7+(9)
    • Db-Δ(add9)
    • Db minorΔ9
    • Db mΔ add2
    • Db mΔ add9
    • Db min maj9
    • Db min/maj9
    • Db min(Maj9)
    • Db min(Maj9)
    • Db m(maj7/9)
    • Db m(+7) add2
    • Db m(+7) add9
    • Db minor(Maj9)
    • Db m(maj7) add9
    • Db m(maj7) add2
    • Db minor major 9
    • Db minor major 9th



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