I am trying to chart the types of extended chords for all scale degree of the major scale. I have come up with the chart below.

A few questions on this:

  • Have I got the chord types correct?
  • In a chord progression, is it possible to substitute any chord degree for any of the extended chords in the same degree? As in, a ii minor 11 can be played for any ii chord to make it more interesting. (Assume playing diatonically only.)
  • The vii degree is beyond me. What are the chord types for the extended chords?
  • I am working of the basis that the chords are defined as below. Is this correct:

Maj -> 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 Min -> 1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13 Dom -> 1 3 5 b7 9 11 13

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  • I'm a little confused. Let's take key C. iii is E. At this point, which set of notes is being used? If we take E Phrygian, or E natural minor, or E harmonic minor, or E melodic minor, we have four different sets of notes. All will use the same three for the basic triad, but problems arise with extensions, starting with the 7ths. They could be m7, m,maj7. The 9ths will be o.k., but then it goes awry - for me at least. using purely diatonic notes (from key C), Em7b9? The b9 is another root note. – Tim Nov 29 '20 at 9:28
  • The title and first line of the question states that this is in relation to the major scale. We only have one set of notes. There is no mention of modes anywhere. In your example, the iii7 chord would be built up of EGBD which is a minor 7. Futher, the three basic notes on the triad DO NOT remain the same between modes. The thrid in the root chord is major in a major key (Ionian), and is flat in a minor key (Aeolian). – hojkoff Nov 29 '20 at 9:42
  • O.k., so it's only using diatonic notes from the parent scale. That's now understood. 'All will use the same three for the basic triad' means Em, in whatever Em mode or scale, will always have EGB, only. It's a given that a major triad will not have the same 3rd as a minor triad ! So have I understood that the 9th built on iii is made up from E G B D F (which could be G13) is called m7b9 due to the 'normal' 9 being F#? – Tim Nov 29 '20 at 10:36

The vii row of your chart will be

o (diminished)   |   m7b5 (half-diminished)   |   m7b5b9   |   m11b5b9   |   m11b5b9b13

The remaining chords are correct.

Substitutions depend on context, but as a general statement, yes, you can add or remove chord extensions/alterations as you see fit. Notice also that extended chords "contain" other chords. For example, the CM9 chord "contains" an Em7 chord, opening up addition substitution possibilities.


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