For instance, the chord Cmaj9, I do not want the E note to be played in this chord, then how should I write the notation to indicate this so that the player knows it? And for "rootless voicing", it is acceptable to use the notation "Cmaj9", even though I don't want the note, C to be played, right??

1 Answer 1


This sort of thing is difficult to notate with a chord symbol. You could try Cmaj7sus2, or Cmaj9(no3). Both are clumsy.

Generically, the best way to specify a voicing is to use actual notation. Chord symbols can carry some voicing information (c.f. C with C/E), but they are usually quite vague. For example, you can't really specify a rootless voicing with a chord symbol. If they are idiomatic to the genre, a player may automatically use one. But it's not explicit in the chord symbol.

In short, if you require a specific voicing, chord symbols are the wrong tool for the job. You'll need to use something more specific, and standard notation is almost always the best option.

  • 5
    For the CMaj9 without the E, why not use G/C?
    – user39614
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 7:12
  • Like a second inversion of it? The G being the "root" / bottom note, right? The player could have played the E though, with G/C add 9
    – Vehrnesto
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 7:17
  • 1
    @YauQiHerng -- not a second inversion, a slash chord. G/C would be a G major triad with a C in the bass, i.e. C - G - B - D, which are the notes of a CMaj9, without the E.
    – user39614
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 7:32
  • This's a real good alternative!
    – Vehrnesto
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 7:36

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