I'm playing the following progression:

  1. Bm chord, with these notes: from low -bass- to high: B D F# in which:

    • B: Root
    • D: minor 3rd
    • F#: 5th
  2. Bm11 chord, with these notes: from low -bass- to high: B D E in which:

    • B: Root
    • D: minor 3rd
    • E: 11th
  3. A chord formed by these notes (from low -bass- to high): B C# E.

Due to the fact that the previous two chords were based in a B minor, if you play this progression you would very much notice that this last chord sounds very much also like B minor chord.

Now, in the B C# E chord:

B should be the root

C# should be the 9th

E should be the 11th

The minor third is omitted, and if you play this chord, you would soon notice this minor third is unnecessary.

So, in major chords, if the 3rd is not present then it must be a sus chord. If the 4th (11th) is present then the chord is a sus4. If not, and a 2nd (9th) is present, then the chord is a sus2 chord.

Well, It is very important to remind that the above paragraph is only applicable when we have major chords, and therefore we replace the major third by the 11th or the 9th note.

In this last chord we have both the 11th and the 9th note and under a minor third feeling. So what should we could call this last chord?

There are a lot of different ways you can look at naming chord in general. I see two very likely candidates for the name, but first let's clean up some note naming so it's a little easier to see. Let's not call the Db a Db, but it's enharmonic equivalent C# as it will make the naming much simpler.

We could look at it as some kind of B chord. In this case we obviously don't have a 3rd and since we do have a 4th the chord will be some type of sus4. We don't have a 5th, but the 5th can be implied so we won't worry about it not being there. Now we are left with the 9th. Since we don't have a 7th we're going to add the 9th. So the chord would be a Bsus4add9.

We could also look at it as a chord in an inversion with the C# being the root. In this case we are still missing a 5th, but the chord has a minor 3rd and dominant 7th which makes naming easy. Taking into account the inversion, the chord symbol we are left with is a C#m7/B.

Either one is correct to define the chord, but there are scenarios that you would choose one over the other. The C#m7/B is a much simpler name, but since you are going from chords with the root being B the Bsus4add9 makes more sense even though the name is more complex.

Note:

The second chord I would also not call a Bm11 because there is no 7th, but instead a Bmadd11.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.