Came across this on a jazz lead sheet and I have no idea what they meant by the plus. Is it an E7 with an augmented 5th? Is the 7th augmented?

1 Answer 1


This is a really not great way of expressing the following combination of notes:

E G# B# D Fx

In jazz parlance, a + at the end of the chord indicates #5. It is bad practice but it still turns up on lead sheets every once in awhile. I'm pretty sure the real book, for example, still has the turnaround at the end of the bridge of All the Things You Are written as C7+.

There are unfortunately many such old practices that makes reading older lead sheets more challenging than it should be. Another fun one is -10, which is what people would sometimes write before it was agreed that writing 7#9 made a whole lot more sense.

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    The + denotes augmented which is one of the 4 basic triad flavors. it's not any differt then seeing a minor chord written like Em7#9 although most would write E+7#9 to denote the plus is for the E and not something else odd.
    – Dom
    Jul 29, 2017 at 3:46
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    The reason that it's bad is that + is also sometimes seen to indicate a major triad, particularly when - is used to denote a minor triad. It's poor form and should be avoided.
    – Fugu
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:20
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    then that's the bad usage and this is the intended usage. not being able to notate a basic triad and calling it a #5 when there is already a term for it is silly. Just like when people call a fully diminished 7th a m6b5 chord or a diminished chord a mb5.
    – Dom
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:24
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    It's much easier to simply use unambiguous labels for chords, like Aug for a triad and #5 for a 7th chord. + as a notation for augmented is largely obsolete in jazz and I've only ever seen it on old charts; it's simply not regarded as correct anymore and the ambiguity of it is just not needed.
    – Fugu
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:43
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    it's only ambiguous because someone tried to use the + for something else. If someone used m to denote major would we never use it again or # to mean sus? all I'm saying is the argument not to use it doesn't make sense since the + is utilized to mean something specific which is an augmented chord and one misguided use for it somehow throws that concept out the window.
    – Dom
    Jul 29, 2017 at 6:57

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