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Summary: Bite-sized articles cover a number of points about music theory.

Dominant chord types

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Continuing with the idea that the subject of chord substitution can be greatly simplified if you take the view that most chords fit into one of three types or families...

The third of these types is the DOMINANT chord type.

Dominant chords are built by taking the basic Major Triad (1 3 5) and adding the FLATTED SEVENTH note to make a DOMINANT SEVENTH CHORD.

The formula for the seventh chord is therefore

1 3 5 b7

The family of Dominant Chord Types is made up of chords built on the Dominant Seventh chord. To the dominant seventh may be added notes such as the 9th, 11th and 13th, any of which may be altered by sharping (#) or flatting (b) them.

Some examples of Dominant chords are:

C7 (1 3 5 b7)
C6/7 ( 1 3 5 6 b7)
C9 ( 1 3 5 b7 9)
C7b9 ( 1 3 5 b7 b9)
C9b13 ( 1 3 5 b7 9 b13)
C7#9 (1 3 5 b7 #9)

Dominant chords do not have minor 3rds although this rule is broken in effect by the 7#9 chord where the #9 can be heard as a b3 in the next octave up. The existence of both the major 3rd and Minor 3rd in the same chord is what gives it a particular sense of angst much exploited by Jimi Hendrix (The E7#9 features as the main chord in 'Purple Haze', 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Foxy Lady').

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