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Dbm9 Piano Chord

    Piano Diagram of Dbm9 in Root Position

    Dbm9 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    The Dbm9 chord consists of six notes which are the root note (Db), the minor third (Fb), the perfect fifth (Ab), the minor seventh (Cb), and the major ninth (Eb). This chord is often used as an alternative or as a transition for minor 7th chords.


    Structure of Dbm9


    Db, Fb, Ab, Cb, Eb


    R, m3, 5, m7, 9

    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.

    For instance, in this scenario, you may opt to play a simplified version of Dbm9 by omitting the 5th note. This way, you will only need to play the root note Db (which can be played using your left hand), the minor 3rd Fb (E), the minor 7th Cb (B), and the 9th note Eb with your right hand.

    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.


    Dbm9 Chord Inversions


    The Dbm9 chord has a total of 4 inversions:

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

    Piano Keyboard Diagrams

    Dbm9 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    Dbm9 Chord – Root Position

    Chord Inversion on Piano

    Having a solid understanding of chord inversions is a crucial aspect of music theory because it helps to clarify how chords are built and used in progressions. However, when playing chord inversions on a piano, it’s important to keep in mind that the diagrams that demonstrate the order of notes may not always be practical to play.

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

    Even though chord inversion diagrams can help understand the structure and sequence of notes in a chord, it’s advisable to experiment with various voicings and fingerings to find the most efficient and comfortable way to play the chord while still maintaining its intended harmonic function and sound.

    Music Theory and Harmony of Dbm9


    The Dbm9 chord is essentially a Dbm7 with a 9th added. 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 Dbm9 for Dbm7, and in some positions, the Dbm9 is a non-diatonic chord.


    Building the Dbm9 Chord: Different Approaches

    Starting from the Db Major Scale

    To build a minor 9th chord, you would start 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 Dbm9 chord, apply the formula R, m3, 5, m7, 9 in the following manner:

    1. Begin with the Root note, Db.
    2. Select the 3rd interval, F then subtract a half-step to get the minor 3rd Fb (E).
    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. Finally, include the major 9th interval, which is the second note at a higher octave, Eb.

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


    by Combining Intervals

    One method to create a minor 9th chord is by combining specific intervals – a minor 3rd, a major 3rd, a minor 3rd, and a major 3rd. This is the formula:

    m3 + 3 + m3 + 3 =  minor 9th Chords

    When analyzing the Dbm9 chord, we can observe that:

    • the interval between Db and Fb is a minor 3rd,
    • between Fb and Ab is a major 3rd,
    • between Ab and Cb is a minor 3rd,
    • and between Cb and Eb is a major 3rd.


    by Combining Chords

    Another way to create minor 9th chords is to combine a minor triad with the minor chord based on its 5th note.

    For example, to get a Dbm9 chord, you can mix a Db minor triad with an Ab minor chord. These two chords share the note Ab, and when played together, they form a Dbm9 chord.

    Db minor + Ab minor = Dbm9


    How to Use Dbm9 in a Chord Progression


    The Db minor 9th chord is a variation of the Db minor 7th chord that includes an additional 9th note as part of its diatonic extension.

    In this post, we will be focusing on the common applications of the Dbm9 chord. The tables below display the major and minor keys and include the Db minor 7th chord, which can be replaced or accompanied by a Db minor 9th chord.

    Non-diatonic positions in minor and Major scales

    It’s important to note that the major ninth interval Eb present in a Db min9, clashes with the D note found in both the Gb minor and Bbb (A) major scales. They are very close, only a half step apart. Due to this dissonance, it’s generally recommended to avoid using a minor 9th chord in this specific situation. However, instead of completely avoiding it, you can try experimenting with a Dbm9 chord in these positions to see how dissonant it sounds. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use it depends on your personal preference.

    Dbm9 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#m9 = Dbm9 D#m7b5 Fb Maj7 F# min7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7
    Ab Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 ⇒ Dbm9 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    Gb = F# F# min7 G#m7b5 A Maj7 B min7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m9 = Dbm9 D Maj7 E7
    • Tonic chord in C# minor as C#min9
    • Subdominant chord in Ab minor
    • Non-diatonic Dominant chord in F# minor as C#min9


    on Major Scales

    Major Scales I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Cb = B B Maj7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m9 = Dbm9 D# min7 E Maj7 F#7 G# min7 A#m7b5
    Bbb = A A Maj7 B min7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m9 = Dbm9 D Maj7 E7 F# min7 G#m7b5
    Fb = E E Maj7 F# mi7 G# min7 A Maj7 B7 C#m7 ⇒ C#m9 = Dbm9 D#m7b5
    • Supertonic chord in B Major as C#min9
    • Non-diatonic Mediant chord in A Major as C#min9
    • Submediant chord in E Major as C#min9


    Dbm9 as Tonic Chord in Db minor

    Check C#m9 as Tonic Chord in C# minor


    Dbm9 as Subdominant Chord in Ab minor

    The Db minor 9th can be played as a variation of 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
    Dbm9 Chord Progressions as iv degree

    The following chord progressions feature a Dbm9 chord as the subdominant (iv degree):


    iv III VI VII
    iv III VI VII
    Db min9 Cb Maj7 Fb Maj7 Gb7


    i iv VI v
    i iv VI v
    Ab min7 Db min9 Fb Maj7 Eb min7


    Circle Progression
    i iv VII III VI ii V7 i
    Ab min7 Dbm9 | Dbm7 Gb7 Cb Maj7 Fb Maj7 Bbm7b5 Eb7 Ab min7


    Dbm9 as Dominant Chord in Gb minor (Non-Diatonic)

    Check C#m9 as Dominant Chord in F# minor


    Dbm9 as Supertonic Chord in Cb Major

    Check C#m9 as Supertonic Chord in B Major


    Dbm9 as Mediant Chord in Bbb Major (Non-Diatonic)

    Check C#m9 as Mediant Chord in A Major


    Dbm9 as Submediant Chord in Fb Major

    Check C#m9 as Submediant Chord in E Major


    Alternative Dbm9 Nomenclature

    • Db m9
    • Db -7/9
    • Db min9
    • Db m7/9
    • Db minor9
    • Db min7/9
    • Db -7(add9)
    • Db minor7/9
    • Db m7(add9)
    • Db minor 9th
    • Db min7(add9)
    • Db min7(add9)
    • Db Dominant minor 9th
    • Db Dominant minor ninth



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