Friday, February 12, 2016

Tensions: Somewhere Over The Chord Tones

Hey! Today we talked about chord extensions, best known by their nickname "tensions". They're not that complicated, but let's get some practice to make sure you got it! As always, you can put your answers in the comments below or on the main video!

1) Let's start with identification. For each chord listed below, tell me the listed tension, and whether or not it fits over that chord.

  1. What's the 9th or Ema7?
  2. What's the 11th of A7?
  3. What's the b13th of C#mi7?
  4. What's the #11 of Gmi7?
2) Now let's look a little harder at avoid notes. For each diatonic chord in the key of F major, tell me all its diatonic available tensions. An available tension is any tension that is not an avoid note for that chord. To get you started, the available tensions of Fma7 are G (the 9th) and D. (the 13th)

3) Below is a progression of 7th chords. Write a melody over it. Use at least one tension per bar. Remember: Tensions are used like chord tones, so you can sit on them for a while.

Here's an example of that progression being played a couple times. Try to play your melody along with it if you can. If you can't, send me notation of it and I'll try to get you audio of what it sounds like, hearing your compositions is really useful.

And that's it! See you next week!


  1. Hey! If you put the font colour of the answers to the questions as the background colour of the page we could just highlight beside the the questions and see the answer :)

  2. Thanks for your music theory exercises!

    A question about #2: Say you're thinking about an Am7, which is the 3rd chord of F. Would the 9th be a B (from the Am7), or a Bb (from the F major)?

    Here's what I came up with for #3!