All About The Add9 Chord


Chord embellishments are often necessary for improving the quality of chords, chord progressions, and songs in general. For example, chords like sus2 or maj7, are often used by experienced musicians to spice up their playing and to add more flavor to the sounds.

The add9 chord, in particular, is very popular among pop and acoustic bands. A quick analysis of this chord will reveal that it’s just a major triad with ninth added in. To illustrate this, we should keep in mind that the major triad consists of the root – 1, the major – 3, and the perfect – 5. Therefore, the add9 is 1, 3, 5 plus 9.


To better understand how add9 works, let’s take a look at an example, the Cadd9 chord. The C major scale consists of the following: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. So because we are interested in the Cadd9, what we need to do is to take the first, the third, the fifth and the ninth note of this particular scale. The outcome, therefore, is C, E, G and D. In other words, Cadd9 is equal to C, E, G, D.v


The add9 chord is often used for I and IV chords, however; they can be used on almost any song or chord progression. This takes a little work, however, as most chord embellishments require a good ear and a lot of practice.

If you’re interested in using Add9 chords, then try practicing the following chords: Aadd9, Dadd9, and Cadd9. Once you’ve mastered these, you can move on to more difficult challenges.

Movable Chords

The Fadd9 chord is known as a closed chord shape because it has no open strings. The Fadd9 also belongs to a category known as movable chords, and they are chords which can be moved up and down the neck, which means that you can play them in all keys.

The most important part of movable chords are their root notes, which also happen to determine the name of the chord. For example, in the case of Fadd9, the root note is F, So whenever you have to play this particular chord shape on the neck, all you have to do to find the name of the chord is to look at its root note.

ACTION: Add9 Songs for You to Practice On

If you want to practice using add9 chords, then the following pop songs should be of some help to you.

“Good Riddance” by Greenday

At the start of the song and the first verse, you will encounter G, G, Cadd9 and D. It’s at ” Another turning point a fork, stuck in the road.”

“Wonderwall” by Oasis

At the pre-chorus of the song, in the lyrics, “All the roads we have to walk are winding,” you will encounter Cadd9, Dsus4, and Em7.

Comparing Add9, Maj9, and Dom9

Although add9 is clear enough for most people to understand, it is often confused with other varieties of ninth chords. This is particularly true for Maj9 and Dom9 since these two chords share the same major triad (1, 3 and 5) with Add9.

The difference between these three chords is that Add9 doesn’t have a 7. Here’s a brief example of how these three are different from each other:

CAdd9 = C, E, G, and D (1, 3, 5 and 9)

CDom9 = C, E, G, Bb and D (1, 3, 4, b7 and 9)

CMaj9 = C, E, G, B and D (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9)

As you can see, CAdd9 does not have a 7, whereas the others do.

Comparing Add9 with Add2 and Sus2

Add9 is also often confused with Add2 and SUS2, and this is because two and nine in the same chord can be considered as the same notes. The only difference is that 9 has a higher octave.

To put this into perspective, Add9 is a triad that has a nine above it (1, 3, 5 plus 9). On the other hand, Add2 means putting a major second on the triad (1, 2, 3 and 5) whereas Sus2 involves replacing the third with a major 2nd (1, 2 and 5).


– Cadd9 is C, E, G and D (1, 3, 5 and 9)

– Cadd2 is C, D, E and G (1, 2, 3 and 5)

– Asus is C, D, and G (1, 2 and 5)

Your assignments:

  • Memorize and Practice all of the add9 chords listed here.
  • Try to find and learn songs which feature add9 chords.
  • Practice movable chord shapes using different keys
  • Experiment with add9 chords by embellishing them in your favorite songs.

Good Luck!

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