Part IV: Sixth Chords
These chords have a very different sound to them than
major and minor. They are somewhat dissonant to a degree, but add
amazing color to the harmony if applied correctly. These chords, as well
as suspensions can be substituted in chord progressions for their
triadic equivalents to add more specialization to the sound.
In particular, there are two elementary types of 6th
chords: The major 6th and the minor sixth.
A major sixth is composed of: 1, 3, 5, and 6th
degrees of the scale. For example, Cmaj6 (usually notated C6) is:
D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
C E G A
A minor sixth is composed of: 1, b3, 5, and 6th
degrees of the scale. For example, Cmin6 (usually notated Cm6) is:
C Eb G A
Remember that the difference between major and minor
triads is a flatted third. Well this remains the same with sixth chords.
To get a minor sixth chord, flat the third of the major sixth chord. In
this case we have produced Cm6.
Augmented Sixth chords are borrowed chords from different
keys and will be covered in section X. Also, 6th chords are a form of
triad inversion and the real importance behind this will also be
explained and demonstrated in the same section.