|Basic Function of the Chords -|
The Dominant Ninth (V9)
The Dominant 9th (V9) chord constitutes of scale degree 5 (the Dominant - V), scale degree 7 (the Leading note - VII), scale degree 4 (the Subdominant - IV), and scale degree 6 (the Submediant - VI). In other words, the V9 is very similar to the V7 (Dominant Seventh) chord. In fact, the V9 is based upon the V7. When writing music, the fifth of the chord is the least important note when compared to others, whether you're dealing with triads or seventh chords (except in 2nd inversions). Therefore, to form the V9, composers decide that they should omit scale degree 2 of the V7 and use scale degree 6 instead. Because of this alteration, scale degree 6 must now be present in the highest voice in order for it to be noticed by the audience. The V9 must always be written in ROOT position. The V9 is more commonly used in pieces that pertain a minor key.
The Dominant Thirteenth (V13)
The Dominant 13th (V13) chord constitutes of scale degree 5, scale degree 7, scale degree 4, and scale degree 3. The V13, similar to the V9, is closely related to the V7 chord. In fact, the V13 is also based upon the V7. To form the V13, similar to the V9, scale degree 2 is omitted and is replaced with scale degree 3. Because of this alteration, scale degree 3 must now be present in the highest voice, going directly to scale degree 1 of the Tonic triad. It is important that no passing notes should be used to link scale degree 3 and scale degree 1 in this case - this would make it sound like a normal V7 moving to I progression. The V13, similar to the V9, must always be written in ROOT position. The V13 chord is extremely popular with Romantic period composers (19th century - e.g. R. Schumann, F. Schubert, etc.) in pieces that pertain a major key. It is usually used at the final ending cadence.
Observe the following examples in C+ (click on them to hear how they sound like on MIDI):
Click here to continue with Augmented Sixth chords.
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