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Dbm11 Piano Chord

    Piano Diagram of Dbm11 in Root Position

    Dbm11 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    The Dbm11 chord is a six-note chord that includes the root note (Db), the minor third (Fb), the perfect fifth (Ab), the minor seventh (Cb), the major ninth (Eb), and the eleventh (Gb). This chord is commonly used as a variation or modulation for minor 7th chords. Keep reading to learn something more about this chord.


    Structure of Dbm11


    Db, Fb, Ab, Cb, Eb, Gb


    R, m3, 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 Dbm11

    For instance, in this scenario, you may opt to play a simplified version of Dbm11 by omitting the 5th and 9th notes. This way, you will only need to play the root note Db (which can be played using your left hand), the minor 3rd Fb, the minor 7th Cb, and the 11th note Gb with your right hand.

    Db + Fb (E), Cb (B), Gb

    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.


    Dbm11 Chord Inversions


    The Dbm11 chord has a total of 5 inversions:

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

    Piano Keyboard Diagrams

    Chord Inversion 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 Dbm11


    The Dbm11 chord is a diatonic extension of Dbm7. While it can be substituted for the Dbm7 chord in any position, it is commonly used in conjunction with it. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that certain positions may not be as effective when substituting Dbm11 for Dbm7.


    Building the Dbm11 Chord: Different Approaches

    Starting from the Db Major Scale

    To build a minor 11th chord, you would use the root note, the minor third, the fifth, the minor seventh, the major ninth, and the eleventh 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.


    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 Dbm11 chord, apply the formula R, m3, 5, m7, 9, 11 in the following manner:

    1. Begin with the Root note, which is Db.
    2. Select the 3rd interval, which is F, and then subtract a half-step to get the minor 3rd Fb (which is a natural E but we call it Fb to preserve the basic interval structure of the chord).
    3. Add the 5th interval, which is Ab.
    4. Add the minor 7th interval, which is the 7th (C) less a half-step, Cb (B).
    5. Add the major 9th which is Eb.
    6. Lastly, add the 11th Gb, which is a 4th interval at the higher octave.

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


    by Combining Intervals

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

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

    • To create a Dbm11 chord, we start with the root note Db and then add a minor 3rd interval, which is equivalent to moving up three half-steps from Db, resulting in the note E.
    • Following this, we include a major 3rd interval by moving three half-steps up from E, which leads to the note Ab.
    • This pattern is continued by adding another minor 3rd interval, which brings the note B, followed by a major 3rd interval, leading to the note Eb.
    • Lastly, we add the 11th note (Gb), which is found by moving up a minor 3rd from Eb, to complete the chord.


    by Combining Chords

    Another way to create minor 11th chords is to combine a minor triad with the major chord based on its minor 7th. For example, to build a Dbm11 chord, you can mix a Db minor triad (Db, Fb, Ab) with a Cb Major chord (Cb, Eb, Gb).

    Db minor + Cb Major = Dbm11

    When played simultaneously, these two chords form a Dbm11 chord (Db, Fb, Ab, Cb, Eb, Gb).


    How to Use Dbm11 in a Chord Progression


    The Db minor 11th is an extension of the Db minor 7th, with the addition of an extra 9th and an 11th note. This makes it a much fuller, more complex, and richer chord than Dbm7.

    Dbm11 in Theoretical Keys

    Except for the key of Ab minor, where the Db minor chord naturally occurs, all other keys are considered theoretical. In these cases, it is common practice to refer to their enharmonic equivalent keys for simplicity and practicality.


    on Natural minor Scales

    Minor Scales i ii III iv v VI VII
    Db = C# C#m7 ⇒ C#m11 = Dbm11 D#m7b5 Fb Maj7 F# min7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7
    Ab Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 ⇒ Dbm11 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    Gb = F# F# min7 G#m7b5 A Maj7 B min7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m11 = Dbm11 D Maj7 E7
    • Tonic chord in C# minor as C#min11
    • Subdominant chord in Ab minor
    • Non-diatonic Dominant chord in F# minor as C#min11


    on Major Scales

    Major Scales I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Cb = B Cb Maj7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m11 = Dbm11 D# min7 Fb Maj7 F#7 G# min7 A#m7b5
    Bbb = A A Maj7 B min7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m11 = Dbm11 D Maj7 E7 F# min7 G#m7b5
    Fb = E Fb Maj7 F# mi7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m11 = Dbm11 D#m7b5
    • Supertonic chord in B Major as C#min11
    • Non-diatonic Mediant chord in A Major as C#min11
    • Submediant chord in E Major as C#min11


    Dbm11 in Db minor

    Check C#m11 in C# minor


    Dbm11 as Subdominant Chord in Ab minor

    The Db minor 11th can also be played as the subdominant chord in the key of Ab minor.

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


    Dbm11 Chord Progressions as iv degree

    The following chord progressions feature a Dbm11 chord as the subdominant (iv degree):


    iv III VI VII
    iv III VI VII
    Dbm11 | Dbm7 Cb Maj7 Fb Maj7 Gb7


    i iv VI v
    i iv VI v
    Ab min7 Dbm11 | Dbm7 Fb Maj7 Eb min7


    Circle Progression
    i iv VII III VI ii V7 i
    Ab min7 Dbm11 | Dbm7 Gb7 Cb Maj7 Fb Maj7 Bbm7b5 Eb7 Ab min7


    Dbm11 in Gb minor (Non-Diatonic)

    Check C#m11 in F# minor


    Dbm11 in Cb Major

    Check C#m11 in B Major


    Dbm11 in Bbb Major (Non-Diatonic)

    Check C#m11 in A Major


    Dbm11 in Fb Major

    Check C#m11 in E Major


    Alternative Dbm11 Nomenclature

    • Db -11
    • Db m11
    • Db -7/11
    • Db min11
    • Db m11th
    • Db min11th
    • Db min7/11
    • Db m7/9/11
    • Db minor 11
    • Db minor 11th
    • Db minor eleventh
    • Db minor ninth eleventh
    • Db minor seventh ninth eleventh



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