Altered Chords: Altered Dominant 7th Chords

Altered Chords: Altered Dominant 7th Chords

Altered chords make fantastic chord substitutes for regular dominant 7th chords. The flatted and sharped chord tones add a unique tone to any common chord progression.

There are approximately 26 different altered chords you can choose to spice up your chord progressions. I cover everything you need to know about each chord.

 

Types of altered chords and chord extensions

When altered chords are mentioned it most often refers to the 7alt chords associated with the 7th mode of the Melodic minor scale. The strict definition of a 7alt chord is a dominant 7th chord with both an altered 5th and an altered 9th resulting in 4 possible chords:

7♭5♭9, 7♭5#9, 7#5♭9, 7#5#9

However, I prefer the not-so-strict definition of the 7alt chord with an altered 5th or an altered 9th, giving 4 more possible chords:

7♭5, 7#5, 7♭9, 7#9

Then there is my term “altered 7ths” which refers to chords with perfect 5ths and altered extensions of the 9th, 11th, and 13th. When combined with the  5ths you can build about 26 altered dominant 7th chords.

 

Dominant 7th chord

Technically, a dominant 7th chord is the 7th chord build on the 5th scale degree (dominant) of the major scale. Here are the intervals of a 7 chord

Altered chords make fantastic chord substitutes for regular dominant 7th chords. The flatted and sharped chord tones add a unique tone to any common chord progression.

There are approximately 26 different altered chords you can choose to spice up your chord progressions. I cover everything you need to know about each chord.

 

Chord extensions

Everyone knows what a 7 or dom7 chord is, but if you add the major 2nd, perfect 4th or major 6th  you get what is known as extended 7ths:

Dominant 9 = 7 (chord) + M2 = 1-3-5-♭7-9
Dominant 11 = 7 + P4 = 1-3-5-♭7-11
Dominant 13 = 7+ M6 = 1-3-5-♭7-13

It’s simple math. To understand why the 2nd is the 9th, you either:

  1. Add the 2nd to the 7th interval to get the 9th, or
  2. Count up to and pass the 7th to get to the 9th note, or
  3. Just add the #’s 7 + 2 = 9.
  4. You would do the same for the 4th/11th and the 6th/13th.

Technically, the 9th is one octave higher than the 2nd scale degree. But for guitar chords, you may not always be able to voice the chord that way.

Regardless, all the altered seventh chords have some combination of an altered 9th and/or 11th and/or 5th and/or 13th. So let’s look at the altered dominant 7th extensions first.

 

Altered extensions

Your choice for altered extensions, for a chord with a perfect 5th, are:

♭9, #9, #11, or ♭13

You can use any of them in combinations except for the ♭9 and #9, although I have open and closed voicings for the 7♭9/#9 chord. I also have chord shapes for 7♭5♭9/#9 and 7#5♭9/#9. They all equal other chord names so I’m not going to cover them in this article.

I mention the scale and scale degree/mode that build all of these chords. Here are the scales that I used to build these chords:

Harmonic minor scale
Melodic minor scale
Whole Tone scale
Half-Whole Diminished scale

The dominant 7th chord is the base of the “altered 7ths”. By the way, no altered dominant chords can be built from the major scale.

Check out my Chords From Scales article to see the intervals for all these chords. If you do not know all the intervals, then read my Music Intervals article.

Notes on my chord description fields:

  • Alternate names: You may see these chords expressed differently. I may not have found all alternate names, but these names should give you an idea of what you may see.
  • Equivalent chord: Where applicable I list the name(s) of another chord that has the same notes.
  • Chord tendency: This is a suggestion of where the chord tends to come to rest. Sometimes I use music interval terms (M2, P4, etc.) and sometimes chord intervals (♭9, ♭3, 5).
  • Scales: I list the scales that build each chord.
  • Chord diagrams: I’m only posting one or two chord shapes per chord type. If I created all the voicings, there would be over a 100 chord (that’s member area stuff).

Here is a chart of the symbols I use on my guitar chord blocks:

Explanation of the symbols used on my chord blocks

 

7♭9 altered 7th chords

First up are the three 7♭9 chords. I’m only going to list the intervals of each chord that are added to the dominant 7th chord. Although, I’ll do it for the first few chords so that you understand.

7♭9 = dom7 + the minor 2nd (m2) or flat nine intervals, e.g. G7♭9 = G-B-D-F-A♭

Alternate names: 7(♭9)
Chord tendency: resolves best to the M2 and P4 but also to m6 and M7, e.g. G7♭9 > A, C, E♭, F# (E♭m & F#m sound better), but Em and A♭m also sound like resolutions. That’s quite a chord!
Scale(s): 5th mode harmonic minor, odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale.

1st of the altered chords: 7b9 guitar chord
7b9 guitar chord A voicing

 

11♭9 = dom7 + P4 + m2, e.g. G11♭9 = G-B-D-F-C-A♭

Alternate names: 11(♭9), 7(11,♭9)
Chord tendency: same as 7♭9 but E and A♭ work as well
Scale(s): 5th scale degree harmonic minor

11b9 altered chord E voicing
11b9 altered chord G voicing

 

13♭9 = dom7 + M6 + m2, e.g. G13♭9 = G-B-D-F-E-A♭ (=’s an E7♭9/#9)

Alternate names: 13-9, 13(♭9), 7(13,♭9), 7(13,-9)
Chord tendency: same as 7♭9
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

13b9 guitar chord A voicing
13b9 guitar chord E voicing

 

7#9 altered 7th chords

Only 2 chords in this group but the 7#9 is without a doubt my favorite. I think it is an ideal V7 chord going to a tonic minor.

7#9 = 7 + A2, G7#9 = G-B-D-F-A#

Alternate names: 7+9, 7(#9)
Chord tendency: same as a V7 chord but also to the ♭3, G7#9 > C, Cm, or Cm-maj7 and B♭
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7#9 altered chords: E voice
7#9 chord A & C Voicing

 

13#9 = 7 + A2 + M6, G13#9 = G-B-D-F-E-A#

Alternate names: 13+9, 13(#9), 7(13, #9)
Chord tendency: resolves to the M3, P4, ♭7, and M7, G13#9 > B, C, F, and F# –  seems like the relative minors work too.
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

13#9 guitar chord G voicing
13#9 guitar chord D & C voicing

 

7#11 altered 7th chords

The 7#11 chord is a nasty chord, also described as “crunchy” – they hurt!. I’m not a fan of the 7#11 chord – it’s just too dissonant for me. But check out the resolve tendency below for the 9#11 and 13#11 (you’re not going to believe it!)

7#11 = 7 + A4 (#11), G7#11 = G-B-D-F-C#

Alternate names: 7(#11), 7+11
Equivalent chord: equals a 7♭5♭9 on the ♭5, G7#11 = D♭7♭5♭9
Chord tendency: Strongest to ♭9 min, 4, 5, M7, but also to 9, ♭6 and ♭7, e.g. G7#11 > G#/Abm, C, D, F# and to A, E♭ and F. I didn’t check those chords as minors or try their relative minors.
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale, 4th scale degree melodic minor

7#11 guitar chord E voicing
7#11 altered chords

 

9#11 = 7 + M2 + A4, G9#11 = G-B-D-F-A-C#

Alternate names: 9(#11), 7(9, #11), 9+11
Chord tendency: Literally to every key. Strongest to ♭9, 4, 5 & M7, e.g. G9#11 > A♭, C, D, and F#. But it seems like it can come to rest on a major triad for every other chromatic note including G!
Scale(s): 4th scale degree melodic minor

9#11 guitar chord E voicing
9#11 guitar chord D voicing

 

13#11 = 7 + M6 + A4, G7#11 = G-B-D-F-E-C#

Alternate names: 13(#11), 7(13, +11), 13+11
Chord tendency: Same as for 9#11 – try them for yourself. You can modulate to any key with either the 9#11 or 13#11. However, the ♭9 resolution is the weakest, e.g. G13#11 > A♭ is a little off.
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale, 4th scale degree melodic minor

13#11 guitar chord A voicing
13#11 guitar chord A voicing variation

 

The 7♭13 chord

This chord is questionable as you could just drop the perfect 5th and play a 7#5 chord. However, it does sound slightly different. I have seen this chord on other sites but it is usually the 7#5 chord that is shown.

7♭13 = 7 + m6, G7♭13 = G-B-D-F-E♭

Alternate names: 7(♭13)
Equivalent chord: maj9#5 on the ♭13, G7♭13 = E♭maj9#5
Chord tendency: Strongest to the 4 and weakly to the ♭13, G7♭13 > C and E♭
Scale(s): 5th scale degree melodic minor

7 flat 13 guitar chord E voicing
7 flat 13 guitar chord C voicing

 

Double extended altered chords

Alright, now we are getting into some truly nasty and crunchy chords. The 7♭9#11 chord is one of the two altered seventh chords that is made up of 3 separate tritones. The 7#9#11 is one of the nastiest chords there is!

7♭9#11 = 7 + m2 + A4, G7♭9#11 = G-B-D-F-A♭-C#

Alternate names:7(♭9, #11)
Equivalent chord: equals 7♭9#11 on the ♭5, G7♭9#11 = D♭7♭9#11 (symmetrical chord)
Chord tendency: resolves to the ♭9, 9, 4, 5, ♭6, ♭7, G7♭9#11 > A♭, A, C, D, E♭ and F# (3 tritones and tritones invert to tritones).
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7 flat 9 sharp 11 guitar chord E voicing
7 flat 9 sharp 11 guitar chord D voicing

 

7♭9♭13 = 7 + m2 + m6, G7♭9♭13 = G-B-D-F-A♭-E♭

Alternate names: 7(♭9, ♭13)
Chord tendency: resolves to ♭9, 4, 5, M7, G7♭9♭13 > A♭, C, D, F#
Scale(s): 5th scale degree melodic minor

7b9b13 guitar chord A voicing
7b9b13 guitar chord G voicing

 

7#9#11 = 7 + A2 + A4, G7#9#11 = G-B-D-F-A#-C#

Alternate names: 7(#9, #11), 7+9+11
Equivalent chord: equals 13♭5♭9 on ♭5, G7#9#11 = D♭13♭5♭9
Chord tendency: resolves to ♭9, 4, 5, M7, G7#9#11 > A♭, C, D, F#. This chord also seems to resolve to a major chord on every chromatic note except for the M3, ♭5, and M6, so for G not to B, D♭ or E.
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7 sharp 9 sharp 11 guitar chord E voicing
7 sharp 9 sharp 11 guitar chord D voicing

 

7#9♭13 = 7 + A2 + m6, G7#9♭13 = G-B-D-F-A#-E♭

Alternate names: 7(#9, ♭13)
Chord tendency: Here’s another one – resolves best to the 4 and M7 (C & F# for G7#9♭13) and to every chromatic scale note except the 9, ♭5 and ♭7. So for G, any major chord other than A, D♭, and F.
Scale(s): The only scale I know that builds this chord is the 3rd mode of the Major Bebop scale.

7 sharp 9 flat 13 guitar chord D voicing
7 sharp 9 flat 13 guitar chord G voicing

 

Altered fifths

Dominant 7th chords with an altered 5th are called 7alt chords, especially if they have an altered 9th. This first section covers the various 7♭5 and 7#5 chords without the altered 9th.

7#5 = Root, major 3rd, augmented 5th, minor 7th = R-M3-A5-m7 = 1-3-#5-7, G7#5 = G-B-D#-F

Alternate names: 7+5, 7(#5)
Chord tendency: resolves best to the 4 but also sounds good to the ♭9, ♭3 and 6, G7#5 > C, A♭, B♭, and E
Scale(s): 5th scale degree harmonic minor, 7th scale degree melodic minor, each degree of the whole tone scale

7#5 guitar chord E voice
7#5 E voice variation

 

9#5 = 7#5 + M2, G9#5 = G-B-D#-F-A

Alternate names: 9+5, 9(#5), 7#5(9)
Equivalent chord: equals 7♭5♭13 on the M3 and 9♭5 on the ♭7, G9#5 = B7♭5♭13 = F9♭5
Chord tendency: resolves best to ♭3, 4, 6, weakly to M7 but also to 5 and #5. So G9#5 to B♭, C, E, F# (weak), and D and E♭.
Scale(s): 5th scale degree melodic minor, each degree of the whole tone scale

9#5 guitar chord E voice
9#5 A voicing

 

7♭5 = Root, major 3rd, diminished 5th, minor 7th = R-M3-d5-m7 = 1-3-♭5-♭7, G7♭5 = G-B-D♭-F

Alternate names: 7(♭5), 7-5
Equivalent chord: equals 7♭5 on the ♭5, G7♭5 = D♭7♭5 (symmetrical chord)
Chord tendency: resolves best to ♭9, 4, 5 and M7 but also to the ♭5, G7♭5 > A♭, C, D, F#, and D♭
Scale(s): 4th & 7th scale degrees melodic minor, each degree of the whole tone scale, all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7b5 E voice
7b5 A voice

 

9♭5 = 7♭5 + M2, G9♭5 = G-B-D♭-F-A

Alternate names: 9(♭5), 7♭5(9)
Equivalent chord: equals 7♭5♭13 on the ♭5, and 9#5 on the 9, G9♭5 = D♭7♭5♭13 = A9#5
Chord tendency: same as 7♭5 but also to every chromatic major chord except the M3 and m6, so no B or E♭ for G.
Scale(s): 4th scale degree melodic minor, each degree of the whole tone scale

9b5 E voice
9b5 E voice variation

 

13♭5 = 7♭5 + M6, G13♭5 = G-B-D♭-F-E

Alternate names: 13(♭5)
Equivalent chord: equals 7♭5#9 on the ♭5, G13♭5 = D♭7♭5#9
Chord tendency: same as 7♭5 but also the ♭7
Scale(s): 4th scale degree melodic minor, all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

13b5 E voice

 

 

Altered fifths and altered extensions

So here are the 4 “true” 7alt chords with some additional 7♭5 chords. I have some notes for three of the chords.

  1. The 7♭5♭13 is also called 7#5#11 – I prefer the chord name 7♭5♭13.
  2. I built a chord called 9♭5♭13 which uses every scale degree from the whole tone scale.
  3. The 13♭5#9 is the other chord that is made up of 3 different tritones, though it sounds better than the 7♭9#1. Also, I was not able to find any closed chords for it, so I have an open chord as an example.

Augmented 7alt chords

7#5♭9 = 7#5 + m2, G7#5#9 = G-B-D#-F-A♭

Alternate names: 7(#5, ♭9), 7alt
Equivalent chord: equals m9♭5 on the ♭7, G7#5♭9 = Fm9♭5
Chord tendency: G7#5♭9 resolves best to C, weak to F# but also to A♭, B♭, D, and E (♭9, ♭3, 4, 5, 6)
Scale(s): 5th scale degree harmonic minor, 7th scale degree melodic minor

7#5b9 guitar chord E voice
7#5b9 A voice

 

7#5#9 = 7#5 + A2, G7#5#9 = G-B-D#-F-A#

Alternate names: 7(#5, #9), 7(+5+9), 7alt
Chord tendency: resolves best to ♭3, 4, 6 and M7 but also ♭9, 3 and ♭6, G7#5#9 > B♭, C, E, and F# as well as A♭, B, and E♭.
Scale(s): 7th scale degree melodic minor

7#5#8 A voice
7#5#9 E voice

 

♭5 7alt chords

7♭5♭9 = 7♭5 + m2, G7♭5♭9 = G-B-D♭-D-A♭

Alternate names: 7(♭5, ♭9), 7♭5(♭9), 7alt
Equivalent chord: equals a 7#11 on the ♭5, G7♭5♭9 = D♭7#11
Chord tendency: resolves best to ♭9, 4, 5 and M7 but also to ♭5 and ♭6, so G7♭5♭9 > A♭, C, D, and F# but also D♭ and E♭.
Scale(s): 7th scale degree melodic minor, all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7b5b9 altered chord E voice
7b5b9 A voice

 

7♭5#9 = 75 + A2, G7♭5#9 = G-B-D♭-F-A#

Alternate names: 7(♭5, #9), 7♭5(+9), 7alt
Equivalent chord: equals 13♭5 on the ♭5, G7♭5#9 = D♭13♭5
Chord tendency: same as 7♭5♭9
Scale(s): 7th scale degree melodic minor, all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

7b5#9 D voice
7b5#9 A voice

 

7♭5♭13 = 7♭5 + m6, G7♭5♭13 = G-B-D♭-F-E♭

Alternate names: 7(♭5, ♭13), 7♭5(♭13), 7#5#11
Equivalent chord: equals 9♭5 on the ♭5 and 9#5 on the ♭13, G7♭5♭13 = D♭9♭5 = E♭9#5
Chord tendency: resolves to the ♭9, 4, 5 and M7, G7♭5♭13 > A♭, C, D, and F#
Scale(s): 7th scale degree melodic minor, each degree of the whole tone scale

7b5b13 chord A voice
7b5b13 chord E voice

 

9♭5♭13 = 7♭5 + M2 + m6, G9♭5♭13 = G-B-D♭-F-A-E♭

Alternate names: n/a
Equivalent chord: equals a 9♭5♭13 on each chord tone, G9♭5♭13 = A, B, D♭, E♭ & F9♭5♭13
Chord tendency: Every key! Six strongest by tritone and the other six somehow else.
Scale(s): each degree of the whole tone scale

 

13♭5♭9 = G7♭5 + M6 + m2, G13♭5♭9 = G-B-D♭-F-E-A♭

Alternate names: 13(♭5, ♭9)
Equivalent chord: equals a 7#9#11 on the ♭5, G13♭5♭9 = D♭7#9#11
Chord tendency: same as 9♭5♭13
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

13b5b9 chord A voice

 

13♭5#9 = 7♭5 + M6 + A2, G13♭5#9 = G-B-D♭-F-E-A#

Alternate names: 13(♭5, #9)
Equivalent chord: equals a 13♭5#9 on the ♭5, G13♭5#9 = D♭13♭5#9 (symmetrical chord)
Chord tendency: same as 9♭5♭13
Scale(s): all odd scale degrees of the Half-Whole diminished scale

G13b5#9 guitar chord

 

No root chords (NR) and no fifth chords (N5), NR/N5

Below is a list of resulting chords when you omit either the Root (NR), the perfect 5th (N5) or both (NR/N5).

On dropping the 5th, you do not omit the 5th if it is a 7♭5 or 7#5, otherwise, what’s the point. But omitting the perfect 5th can be a sub for a ♭5 or #5 chords, e.g. 7#9 N5 can sub for a 7♭5#9 or 7#5#9.

Also, do not drop the perfect fifth for a chord that has either a #11 or ♭13, unless you change the chord name to reflect the resulting ♭5 or #5 fifth. For example, a 7#11 no 5th equals a 7♭5 chord.

I abbreviate chords without the root as NR, without the 5th as N5, and without the 3rd as N3.

 

No root chords (NR)

Here are the resulting chords if you drop the root notes on the chords above. I chose random root note chords as examples:

4-note chords

7#5 NR = maj ♭5 on the M3 (G7#5 NR = Bmaj ♭5)
7♭5 NR = 7 N5 on the ♭5 (B7♭5 NR = F7 N5)

5-note chords

7♭9 NR = dim7 on each chord tone (G7♭9 NR = Bdim7 = Ddim7 = Fdim7 – A♭dim7)
7#11 NR = n/a, G7#11 NR = G7#11 NR
7♭13 NR = 13♭5 N3 on the ♭7 (E7♭13 NR = D13♭5 N3)
7#9 NR = m-maj7♭5 on M3, and 13♭9 NR/N5 on ♭5 (E7#9 NR = G#m-maj7♭5 = B♭13♭9 NR/N5)
7#5♭9 NR = m6 on m2, (F#7#5♭9 NR = Gm6)
9#5 NR = 7♭5 on M3 (C9#5 NR = E7♭5)
7#5#9 NR = maj7♭5 on M3 (D♭7#5#9 NR = Fmaj7♭5)
7♭5#9 NR = 13 N5 on ♭5, (E♭7♭5#9 NR = A13 N5)
7♭5♭9 NR = 7 on ♭5, (A7♭5♭9 NR = E♭7)
9♭5 NR = 7#5 on ♭5, (D9♭5 NR = A♭7#5)
13♭5 NR = 7#9 N5 on ♭5 (A13♭5 NR = E♭7#9 N5)

6-note chords

7♭9♭13 NR = 11♭9 NR on m3 (G7♭9♭13 NR = B♭11♭9 NR)
11♭9 NR = 7♭9♭13 NR on M6, reverse of above (B♭11♭9 NR = G7♭9♭13 NR)
13♭9 NR = 7♭9 on M6, (C13♭9 NR = A7♭9)
13#9 NR = n/a, G13#9 NR = G13#9 NR
7♭9#11 NR = 7♭9 on #11, (C7♭9#11 = F#7♭9)
7#9#11 NR = 13♭9 N5 on #11 (C7#9#11 NR = F#13♭9 N5)
9#11 NR = m9♭5 on M3, (G9#11 NR = Bm9♭5)
13#11 NR = n/a, E13#11 NR = E13#11 NR
13♭5♭9 NR = 7#9 on ♭5 (B♭13♭5♭9 NR = E7#9)
13♭5#9 NR = 13#9 N5 on ♭5 (B♭13♭5#9 NR = E13#9 N5)

 

No fifth chords (N5, shell voicings) and 2 NR/N5 chords

Here are the resulting chords if you drop the perfect fifth on some of the chords above.

5-note chords

7♭9 N5 = n/a, F7♭9 N5 = F7♭9 N5, however, you lose one of the tritones in the chord.
7#9 N5 = 13♭5 NR on ♭5 (A7#9 N5 = E♭13♭5 NR)

6-note chords

11♭9 N5 = n/a G11♭9 N5 = G11♭9 N5
13♭9 N5 = 7#9#11 NR on ♭5 (E13♭9 N5 = B♭7#9#11 NR)
13#9 N5 = 13♭5#9 NR on ♭5 (E13#9 N5 = B♭13♭5#9 NR)

6-note chords NR/N5

As far as I’m concerned, these are the only 2 valid chords where you can drop the root and the perfect 5th. You can drop both chord tomes for other chords, but I can pretty much guarantee you that it will just end up equaling another chord.

13♭9 NR/N5 = 7#9 NR on the ♭5 and m-maj7♭5 on the ♭7 (G13♭9 NR/N5 = D♭7#9 NR = Bm-maj7♭5)
13#9 NR/N5 = 13#9 NR/N5 on the ♭5 (double tritone / symmetrical chord), e.g. E13#9 NR/N5 = B♭13#9 NR/N5

 

Altered chords FAQs

Question 1: Why, how and when to use altered chords?

1. Use them when you are bored with regular 7ths. Use them as a substitute for a regular dom7 (V7 or V\V).

2. To change things up, add color and variety, provide some unique licks, …

3. The melody comes first though. If the altered tones conflict with the melody, then don’t use them or try a different altered chord.

Question 2: How many types of altered chords?

1. I came up with 23 common names, 26 if you accept 7#9♭13, 7♭5♭13 instead of the 7#5#11 and 9♭5♭13.

2. If you build dominant 7th chords from other scales than the ones I used then maybe there are more, but I think I got them all.

Question 3: How to resolve altered chords?

1. Resolve altered 7th chords as a V7 to I major or minor or a ♭9 to the tonic chord (I, i).

2. It’s the tritone(s) that will point to how/where to resolve all that dissonance.

3. I listed all the resolve tendencies for each chord so try those first.

Question 4: How to play over altered chords?

1. I’m more of a rhythm player than a lead player. Here is what I would do – as little as possible! I’m not about to learn every mode of every scale for these types of chords. I play arpeggios, either the base dom7 chord or the whole chord. These chords rarely last more than one measure.

 

Other quality altered chords

Here is a brief list of other altered chord types on different quality triads. Do not confuse these chords with 7alts or altered dominant 7th chords.  They are not! They all are either build on different triad/chord types or have major 7th intervals. Remember, an altered 7th or 7alt chord has a major 3rd (M3) and a minor or flat 7 (m7/♭7).

Major 7th: maj7♭5, maj7#11, maj9#11, maj13#11 – awesome Lydian chords.

Minor: m7#11, a horrible sounding chord (IMO) built on the 4th mode of the harmonic minor scale

Diminished: m7♭5, m9♭5, m11♭5, m-maj7♭5 (All great)

Augmented: maj7#5 and maybe maj9#5 (=’s 7♭13 on M3) and maj13#5 (=’s m9-maj7 on M6)

Suspended: 7sus ♭9, 13sus ♭9 (both good)

Lydian adds: add#11, add9/#11, 6 add9/#11 (all good)

 

Invalid altered chords

Here is a brief list of chords which you will never see and you will not want to use:

11#9: three chromatic notes in a row (#9, M3, 11)

9♭13 & 11♭13: I suppose it’s possible to build them but no one does – neither should you.

Major 7ths: Adding either a ♭9, #9 or ♭13 are not options IMO. Don’t mess with a beautiful major 7 chord. Don’t believe me, then try a maj7#9 chord and you’ll see what I mean. Sharp 11’s are fine though.

 

Final Thoughts

This and my last article on the all the C Major Scale Chords is heavy lifting for the head. The take away is that you can play more than just a dominant 7th chord. Some of the chords above are super nasty-sounding – I don’t use them all.

I’m not a jazz player so I don’t use the 7♭9 chord, but I love the 7#9. Count me out for the 7#11 chord but 9#11 and some of the 7♭5 chords are nice. Also, the 7#5 chord is fantastic. I could list other chords I like and dislike, but just try them all and pick a handful that sounds good to you.

Take a look at the Wikipedia page on Altered Chords if you have any questions that I did not address in this article. Or feel free to add a comment below or send me a message using the form in the sidebar.