In 11th chords we're adding an 11th (which is a 4th above the octave) to a given chord:

Cmin7: 1 b3 5 b7 Cmin11: 1 b3 5 b7 11

Cmin7b5: 1 b3 b5 b7 Cmin7b5/11: 1 b3 b5 b7 11

I've learned that I should alter the 11th if there is a IIIma interval in the chord, because the minnor 9th interval between the 3th and the 11th:

C7: 1 3 5 b7 C11: 1 3 5 b7 #11

Cmaj7: 1 3 5 7 Cmaj11: 1 3 5 7 #11

But in the web, everywhere I look, a C11 and Cmaj11 have a natural 11th interval.

My question is, what should I play if I come across a C11 chord? Should I alter the 11th interval, or should I do so only if specified explicitly by (C(#11), C13(#11))?



Some would say that an eleventh chord should include Root, 3, 5 7 9 and 11. This complicates things a tad more.

For a C11 for instance, it'll be C E G B D F ; Cm11 - C Eb G Bb D F, and Cdom11 - C E G Bb D F.

Because of potential clashes of certain notes, often the 3 and 5 are omitted. This then starts to sound more like a sus chord. It's sometimes written as Gm/C, as the top part is indeed a Gm(7) chord in its own right.

On a guitar or such like, where it's difficult to voice some chords to sound good, certainly the 5th would be left out, and if other players were present, I might even simply play a Gm on top of everything else the others play, for Cdom11 or Cm11. For C11, a G7 would work. So, it's going to be instrument dependent to a degree. On piano, there's more opportunity to spread out the notes, and perhaps use them all and still sound good.

The #11 (or #4) ought to be specified in the chord symbol or name, as it's not expressly part of a chord with just '11' in the name. It needs telling, and it's fun when you see C#11 - is it C (#11) or C# (11)? Been caught out a few times, although context should help.

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