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Ebm9 Piano Chord

    Piano Diagram of Ebm9 in Root Position

    Ebm9 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    The Ebm9 chord consists of six notes which are the root note (Eb), the minor third (Gb), the perfect fifth (Bb), the minor seventh (Db), and the major ninth (F). This chord is often used as an alternative or as a transition for minor 7th chords.


    Structure of Ebm9


    Eb, Gb, Bb, Db, F


    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 Ebm9 by omitting the 5th note. This way, you will only need to play the root note Eb (which can be played using your left hand), the minor 3rd Gb, the minor 7th Db, and the 9th note F 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.


    Ebm9 Chord Inversions


    The Ebm9 chord has a total of 4 inversions:

    Root Position: Eb Gb Bb Db F
    1st Inversion: Gb Bb Db Eb F
    2nd Inversion: Bb Db Eb F Gb
    3rd Inversion: Db Eb F Gb Bb
    4th Inversion F Gb  Bb Db Eb

    Piano Keyboard Diagrams

    Ebm9 Chord - Root Position - Piano Diagram

    Ebm9 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 be helpful in understanding 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 Ebm9


    The Ebm9 chord is essentially an Ebm7 with a 9th added. While it can be substituted for the Ebm7 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 Ebm9 for Ebm7, and in some positions, the Ebm9 is a non-diatonic chord.


    Building the Ebm9 Chord: Different Approaches

    Starting from the Eb 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.


    Eb Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th

    Eb Major Scale


    Eb Major Diatonic Scale up to 13th - Keyless Notation

    Eb Major Scale – Keyless notation


    To create an Ebm9 chord, apply the formula R, m3, 5, m7, 9 in the following manner:

    1. Begin with the Root note, Eb.
    2. Select the 3rd interval, G then subtract a half-step to get the minor 3rd Gb.
    3. Add the 5th interval, which is Bb.
    4. Add the minor 7th interval, which is the 7th (D) less a half-step, Db.
    5. Finally, include the major 9th interval, which is the second note at a higher octave, F.

    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 Ebm9 chord, we can observe that:

    • the interval between Eb and Gb is a minor 3rd,
    • between Gb and Bb is a major 3rd,
    • between Bb and Db is a minor 3rd,
    • and between Db and F 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 an Ebm9 chord, you can mix an Eb minor triad with a Bb minor chord. These two chords share the note Bb, and when played together, they form an Ebm9 chord.

    Eb minor + Bb minor = Ebm9


    How to Use Ebm9 in a Chord Progression


    The Eb minor 9th chord is a variation of the Eb 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 Ebm9 chord. The tables below display the major and minor keys and include the Eb minor 7th chord, which can be replaced or accompanied by an Eb minor 9th chord.

    Non-diatonic positions in Ab minor and B Major

    It’s important to note that the major ninth interval F present in an Eb min9, clashes with the E note found in both the Ab minor and Cb (B) 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 an Ebm9 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.


    on Natural minor Scales

    Minor Scales i ii III iv v VI VII
    Eb Eb min7 ⇒ Ebm9 Fm7b5 Gb Maj7 Ab min7 Bb min7 Cb Maj7 Db7
    Bb Bb min7 Cm7b5 Db Maj7 Eb min7 ⇒ Ebm9 F min7 Gb Maj7 Ab7
    Ab Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 Eb min7 ⇒ Ebm9 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    • Tonic chord in Eb minor
    • Subdominant chord in Bb minor
    • Non-diatonic Dominant chord in Ab minor


    on Major Scales

    Major Scales I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Db Db Maj7 Eb min7 ⇒ Ebm9 F min7 Gb Maj7 Ab7 Bb min7 Cm7b5
    Cb = B B Maj7 C# min7 D#m7 ⇒ D#m9 = Ebm9 E Maj7 F#7 G# min7 A#m7b5
    Gb Gb Maj7 Ab mi7 Bb min7 Cb Maj7 Db7 Eb min7 ⇒ Ebm9 Fm7b5
    • Supertonic chord in Db Major
    • Non-diatonic Mediant chord in B Major as D#min9
    • Submediant chord in Gb Major


    Ebm9 Function in Major and Minor Keys

    Understanding Scale Degrees

    Understanding scale degrees is essential for comprehending the relationship between the notes within chords and how they function. The diatonic major scale consists of seven degrees, each with a distinct role in shaping the overall harmony of the chords.

    1. The first degree of the scale is the Tonic, serving as the foundation for the chord progression. It establishes a stable tonal center, providing an anchor for the rest of the chords in the progression.
    2. The second degree is called the Supertonic, often used to create a sense of motion within the chord progression. It acts as a transitional chord between the Tonic and other chords in the progression.
    3. The third degree of the scale is the Mediant, sitting halfway between the Tonic and Dominant chords. It helps determine whether the chord progression is major or minor.
    4. The fourth degree is the Subdominant, complementing the Dominant and adding tension and resolution to the chord progression.
    5. The fifth degree is the Dominant, creating tension and anticipation within the chord progression, typically resolved by returning to the Tonic.
    6. The sixth degree is the Submediant, often employed as a transitional chord between the Dominant and Tonic, adding a sense of stability and restfulness to the chord progression.
    7. The seventh degree is the Leading tone, located one half-step below the Tonic. It creates a strong sense of tension and a desire to resolve to the Tonic, frequently used to create a sense of resolution and finality in the chord progression.


    Ebm9 as Tonic Chord in Eb minor

    The Eb minor 9th chord is an interesting choice for the tonic chord in the Eb minor key because of the added tension and dissonance of the 9th interval (F). This creates an unstable and uncertain sound that can be useful for creating tension. However, it’s important to note that this dissonance can make the chord difficult to use in some musical situations.

    The Ebm9 can be used to modulate between keys or to add harmonic color and contrast to a composition.

    i ii III iv v VI VII
    Eb min7 Fm7b5 Gb Maj7 Ab min7 Bb min7 Cb Maj7 Db7
    Ebm9 Chord Progressions as i degree

    The following chord progressions are examples of how the Eb minor 9th chord can serve as the tonic chord (i degree).

    i VI VII III
    i VI VII III
    Eb mi9 Cb Maj7 Db7 Gb Maj7


    i iv VI VII
    i iv VI VII
    Ebm9 | Ebm7 Ab min7 Cb Maj7 Db7

    I prefer resolving the Eb min9 chord to a more stable Eb chord (Eb minor or Eb minor 7th) within the same measure, but I encourage you to explore different options and experiment with other chord progressions to see what sounds best to you.


    Circle Progression
    i iv VII III VI ii V7 i
    Ebm9 | Ebm7 Abm7 Db7 Gb Maj7 Cb Maj7 Fm7b5 Bb7 Eb min7


    Ebm9 as Subdominant Chord in Bb minor

    The Eb minor 9th can also be played as a variation of the subdominant chord in the key of Bb minor.

    i ii III iv v VI VII
    Bb min7 Cm7b5 Db Maj7 Eb min7 F min7 Gb Maj7 Ab7
    Ebm9 Chord Progressions as iv degree

    The following chord progressions feature an Ebm9 chord as the subdominant (iv degree):


    iv III VI VII
    iv III VI VII
    Eb min9 Db Maj7 Gb Maj7 Ab7


    i iv VI v
    i iv VI v
    Bb min7 Eb min9 Gb Maj7 F min7


    Circle Progression
    i iv VII III VI ii V7 i
    Bb min7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Ab7 Db Maj7 Gb Maj7 Cm7b5 F7 Bb min7


    Ebm9 as Dominant Chord in Ab minor (Non-Diatonic)

    The Ebm9 chord may not be the ideal choice as a variation of the dominant chord in Ab minor due to the major 9th interval being only a half-step away from the E note found in this scale.

    i ii III iv v VI VII
    Ab min7 Bbm7b5 Cb Maj7 Db min7 Eb min7 Fb Maj7 Gb7
    Ebm9 as v degree – Chord Progressions

    If you want to hear how the Eb minor 9th chord sounds as the dominant (V) chord in the Ab minor key, try playing the following chord progressions.


    i iv VI v
    i iv VI v
    Ab min7 Db min7 Fb Maj7 Ebm9 | Ebm7


    i v VI VII
    i v VI VII
    Ab min7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Fb Maj7 Gb7


    i VI v iv
    i VI v iv
    Ab min7 Fb Maj7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Db min7


    Ebm9 as Supertonic Chord in Db Major

    Besides its use in minor keys, the Ebm9 chord can also be played in major keys. In the key of Db major, for instance, the Ebm9 chord can be used as the supertonic chord, located on the second degree of the scale.

    I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Db Maj7 Eb min7 F min7 Gb Maj7 Ab7 Bb min7 Cm7b5
    Ebm9 Chord Progressions as ii degree

    Try playing the following chord progressions to better understand how the Ebm9 chord functions as the supertonic (ii) chord in the key of Db major.


    ii V I
    ii V I
    Ebm9 | Ebm7 Ab7 Db Maj7


    Circle Progression
    I IV vii iii vi ii V I
    Db Maj7 Gb Maj7 Cm7b5 F min7 Bb min7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Ab7 Db Maj7


    Ebm9 as Mediant Chord in Cb Major (Non-Diatonic)

    Check D#m9 as Mediant Chord in B Major


    Ebm9 as Submediant Chord in Gb Major

    The Ebm9 chord can be played on the sixth degree of the Gb major scale, as a variation of the submediant chord.

    I ii iii IV V vi vii
    Gb Maj7 Ab min7 Bb min7 Cb Maj7 Db7 Eb min7 Fm7b5
    Ebm9 as vi degree – Chord Progressions

    You can explore the sound of Ebm9 as the submediant chord in the key of Gb major by playing the following chord progressions:


    I iii vi V
    I iii vi V
    Gb Maj7 Bb min7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Db7


    I vi ii V
    I vi ii V
    Gb Maj7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Ab min7 Db7


    Circle Progression
    I IV vii iii vi ii V I
    Gb Maj7 Cb Maj7 Fm7b5 Bb min7 Ebm9 | Ebm7 Abm7 Db7 Gb Maj7


    Alternative Ebm9 Nomenclature

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



    The chord progressions and examples provided in this post offer a comprehensive overview of common uses of the Eb min9 chord. However, it’s important to acknowledge that due to space limitations, certain advanced topics in harmony couldn’t be included. These topics encompass chord progressions based on harmonic and melodic scales, modal scales, hidden tonality, secondary dominants, chord substitutions, non-functional harmony, atonal music, modal interchange, borrowed chords, voice leading, counterpoint, chromatisms, jazz harmony, and more. Music theory is a vast subject!

    While I couldn’t cover all these topics in this post, I encourage readers to further explore these areas through their own study and research. By delving into these advanced aspects of music theory, you can develop a deeper understanding of the diverse harmonic possibilities that extend beyond the fundamental concepts presented here.


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