Dominant Chord Forms, Extensions - NOT ALTERED

  • Dominant chords are particularly important in Jazz, but are used a lot in blues, soul, pop and rock also.

  • The purpose of the dominant chord is to create tension. Most often dominant chord serves as the 5 (V) chord. From the 5 chord, you always want to go BACK HOME (to the 1 chord)

  • Dominant chords are defined by a flat 7th and a major 3rd. Dominant chords can have the most extensions in music.
    They can actually have every single chromatic note added to them, except for a major 7th. (The 7th has to remain flattened to keep the chord dominant)

  • The following are the most popular blues and jazz progressions that use the Dominant chord:

    I - IV - V (basic blues)

    I - IV - I - IV - I - V - IV - I - V ("12-bar blues")

    I - IV - I - IV - bVdim - I - VI - II - V - (I-VI-II-V) (Jazz Blues)

    I - VI - II - V (Turn around at the end of Jazz Blues)

    II - V - I (most important progression in Jazz, and the basic building block of most Jazz Standards)








  • Here are the most basic forms of C7

    Basic C7 voicings


  • The regular (non-altered) extensions that can be added to a dominant chord are 6th(13th), 9th, and 11th. You can combine these extensions in many various ways to produce different interesting chords.

  • Here are the domiant chords with regular (non-altered) extensions organized by 3 string sets:

  • Various other Dominant chord extensions on the 1st String Set (6th String Root):
    Dominant Chord Extensions - 6th String Root


  • Various other Dominant chord extensions on the 2nd String Set (5th String Root):
    Dominant Chord Extensions - 5th String Root


  • Various other Dominant chord extensions on the 3rd String Set (4th String Root):
    Dominant Chord Extensions - 4th String Root




  • Dominant ALTERED Chords

  • Dominant chords are typically based on the mixolydian mode. (C7, C9, C13 chords for instance are all based on C Mixolydian).
    But there can also be 4 extensions added that are not in the C Mixolydian scale.
    Those 4 extensions are: b5, #5, b9, and #9.
    Adding any of these 4 notes to a dominant chord makes it "ALTERED".
    Any combinations of those will also work. Each combination will add a different type of "spice" to the sound.
    By using combinations of these 4 extensions, you will create extra tension during the 5 chord, creating higher "magnetism" of the 1 chord.



  • Dominant ALTERED chord extensions on the 1st String Set (6th String Root):
    ALTERED Chord Extensions - 6th String Root

  • Dominant ALTERED chord extensions on the 2nd String Set (5th String Root):
    ALTERED Chord Extensions - 5th String Root

  • Dominant ALTERED chord extensions on the 3rd String Set (4th String Root):
    ALTERED Chord Extensions - 4th String Root






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