What is the use case for 6/9 chords?

Hello Darryl, can you explain the use of a 6/9 chord?

How would one use it in a progression/comp? For example, can I replace a Dmaj7 or even a D chord with a 6/9?

Great question Desmond! 6/9 chords are beautiful because, in my opinion, they are more colourful than their related seventh chord, and sound more stable.

In order to understand why, we must understand the basics of why melodies progress. I’ve created a lesson on this which I’ll be releasing shortly in my new masterclass, but in short, the 7th degree of a chord can sound dissonant at times – especially in the context of a maj7chord. This is because the distance between 7 and the subsequent tonic (1) is a minor 2nd. This is typically a very uneasy pair to listen to, hence a Dmaj7 chord can sound less stable than a simple D major triad. Conclusion = 7th degrees have a strong tendency to resolve to the tonic because they’re unstable (both the maj7 and min7).

To ease this tension we can replace the 7 with a 6, which changes Dmaj7 to D6 (a triad with a 6 on top). Whilst this does sound more stable, it’s loses some of that “edge” that a 7th chord has – and that’s where the 9 comes in. The 9 reintroduces some of that lost colour, and does not dramatically effect the chords stability.

To conclude, a 6/9 chord (a triad with a 6 and a 9 on top) can be used to replace a 7th chord that isn’t stable enough for your liking. For example, instead of finishing a progression on Dmaj7 (assuming this is the tonic), you could finish on D6/9. 6/9 chords can be used in place of any chord where you cant to relieve tension with colour.

Hope this helps! :grinning:

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Thank you for the detailed explanation, that was very enlightening!

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