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I saw a video with this chord and thought it was an Amaj6/9, but a lot of the comments are calling it an "Amaj7 add13" or "Amaj7 13(add 9)." I'm not sure how the notation works here and was wondering what the difference between those labels and what this chord should be called are. Thanks! Notes from bottom to top: A, E, G#, C#, F#, A, B Image Caption: Notes from bottom to top: A, E, G#, C#, F#, A, B

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    I’ve been taught that “Amaj7(add13)” and “Amaj7 13 (add 9)” are both nonsense, non-existent chord symbols. “Amaj13” would be the correct symbol for that concept, even if there is no 11. “Maj” always applies to the 7th so a “maj9”, “maj11”, or “maj13” chord just means it has a major 7th. “Add9”, “add11”, and “add13” are only for when there is no 7th. Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 13:56
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    I have only ever seen 6/9 chords to mean only the 6th and the 9th are added; never a 7th
    – nuggethead
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 14:38

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Dominant 7th chords will always have m7 (root to m7 note), and be called simply '7th' chords. Whereas major 7th chords (with root to M7) are always named 'maj7'.

So, your header "13 or 6/9" is a bit of a red herring. As an A13th chord, (a dominant) it will need G♮ as its 7th, and certainly F♯ (13th)in it. Whether it will contain ^9 and/or ^11 will often be up to the discretion of the player.

The other option of an A6/9 chord must contain ^6 (F♯) and ^9 (B). Making it quite a different beast.

With C♯ it's obviously a major chord, so that part doesn't need noting. The G♯ makes it maj7, The F♯ could make it 6th or 13th, and the B makes it maj9. Putting that lot together, Amaj13 sounds reasonable, or more precisely Amaj13(omit 11).

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  • This seems to make the most sense from what @ToddWilcox is also saying: it should be Amaj13 with the additional detail of omitting the 11 if you'd like. Also, it isn't a 6/9 because that never implies the 7th. As a follow-up, would Amaj9 (add 13) be equivalent to this?
    – aj26
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 20:42
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Amaj7(9,13) is the most accurate description of this chord. Amaj7 13(add 9) is also acceptable.

This chord with A as the root has a G♯; it therefore is no mere Amaj6/9. It has to be at least Amaj7.

This chord with A as the root also has a F♯ (at least) a 13th above the root. Calling it a 13th chord is therefore more accurate than calling it a 6 chord.

This chord with A as the root also has B as its topmost note, more than an octave above the root. It therefore is also some kind of 9th chord.

Calling it a mere A13 chord implies it uses a minor 7th instead of a major 7th, even though that chord symbol can also include the 7th and 9th.

Therefore, the most accurate chord symbol for this chord is Amaj7(9,13).

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    I’ve been taught it would be “Amaj13”. “Amaj7 (9, 13)” seems multiply redundant to me, and wouldn’t stop a player from adding the 11th or omitting the 9th. And no jazz player who had a month of teaching or lessons would think the “maj” applied to anything other than the 7. Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 13:59
  • @ToddWilcox - Huh, I would have thought "maj13" would mean a major 13th (and therefore often have the "maj" be redundant).
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 16:34
  • @Dekkadeci - the maj part won't be referring to the 3rd note in the 13th chord, but the 7th.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 17:00
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    Yeah just G13 means G B D F A C E. Gmaj13 means G B D F# A C E because you can’t make anything but the seventh “major” in a chord symbol with no modifiers. Likewise with Gmaj11 and Gmaj9. The “maj” only ever modifies the 7th. The only modifiers for 9, 11, and 13 are flats and sharps Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 1:48

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