# Minor 6 question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jordan2, Feb 12, 2013.

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1. ### jordan2

Apr 2, 2011
Hey guys, I was talking with a friend today about music theory and different chord construction and a question came up that neither of us had a good answer for. Here is what we were wondering.

We both understood a minor 6 chord to be root, minor third 5 and major 6.

So then what is a chord that has a minor third and a minor 6?
We kind of thought of a minor augmented chord but weren't sure if that was a thing. Is it even possible to have an augmented chord with a minor third? What if it also had a perfect 5th (not that that would necessarily sound the best)

Or is this chord usually thought of as an inversion of a different chord? Or is there a totally different answer to this?

Sorry for the rambling this question was really bugging me. If anyone knows the answer to this I would really appreciate it.

2. ### jordan2

Apr 2, 2011
Okay cool, so then what would be the chord that has a minor third and major 6th?

3. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
No, I think OP is correct. A minor 6th chord is a minor chord with a major 6th. This is according to the symbols listed in "The New Real Book", which cites "Standard Chord Symbol Notation" by Carl Brandt and Clinton Roemer as its source.

But I agree that a C minor triad with a minor 6th added could be viewed as an inversion of an Abmaj7 chord. (One could notate it as Abmaj7/C).

I've also seen "add b13" on some charts in that book. Since a 13th is the same as a 6th, using that nomenclature we could call it Cm add b13.

I don't think you can call it a minor augmented chord, though. If there's already a perfect fifth, you wouldn't analyze the Ab as a #5. I don't know if there's a such thing as a minor augmented chord. In C, it would be spelled C, Eb, G#. Much better to call that G# an Ab and analyze the chord as Ab/C, IMO.

4. ### jordan2

Apr 2, 2011
Thanks for the response. We were doubtful that it would be anything augmented because the note is functioning as a flat 6th not a raised 5th but just were running out of ideas. your explanation helps a lot though in a practical sense.

5. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
Also just found this on Wikipedia (for whatever wikipedia might be worth):

"The major sixth chord (also called, sixth or added sixth with the chord notation 6, e.g., "C6") is by far the most common type of sixth chord of the first group. It comprises a major triad with the added major sixth above the root, common in popular music.[7] For example, the chord C6 contains the notes C-E-G-A. The minor sixth chord (min6 or m6, e.g., "Cm6") is a minor triad with the same added note. For example, the chord Cmin6 contains the notes C-E&#9837;-G-A. In chord notation, the sixth of either chord is always assumed to be a major sixth rather than a minor sixth, however a minor sixth interval may be indicated in the notation as, for example, "Cm(m6)", or Cmm6"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(music)

6. ### Groove Master

Apr 22, 2011
Montreal
Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
^^^^

that is correct.

The reason for avoiding a Cmin6 with a minor sixth is the fact that in root position (C-Eb-G-Ab) this is not a pleasant sound because of the cluster (G-Ab) it creates at the top.

That is the reason also that a Major 7 chord is not a practical or pleasant sound in its first inversion which is the third in the bottom like the AbMaj7/C.

One thing to notate is that the scale that fits the best the real C min6 is the C minor melodic scale in its Jazz form ( ascending and descending the same way).

7. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
Why not Dorian? Does the minor 7th clash too hard with the major 6th?

8. ### Stick_PlayerBanned

Nov 13, 2009
Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
Answer: a Major Seventh Chord in First Inversion.

I'm guessing that you have NOT seen a Cm add b13 - but anything is possible. You most likely saw C7(b13). This "shorthand" presumes that there is ALSO a Minor Seventh - Bb, in this chord. The chord would be spelled: C, E, G, Bb, Ab.

Often, along with the b13 is also the b9 - C7(b9b13), spelled: C, E, G, Bb, Db, Ab - most likely the Dominant Seventh (with extensions) in F Minor.

This chord - X7(b9b13) - is used because the Perfect Fifth is in the chord, distinguished from what is commonly called an "Altered Chord", such as C7 Alt, spelled: C, E, G#, Bb, Db/D#. It's usually harmonically supporting notes from the Seventh Mode of the Melodic Minor Scale. In the case of "C Alt", it supports the notes form the Db Melodic Minor Scale, starting on C: C, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, C.

So-called "Add Note" chords generally add the Major Second, Major Sixth, or Major Ninth, or both the Major Sixth and Ninth to a Major or Minor Triad. These chords do NOT include the Seventh. The idea is to avoid a "Dominant" sound.

9. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
Oops.

You are correct, I did not see Cm add b13. I saw a C add b13/add 9. Which would, of course, have a major third, not minor. My bad.

10. ### joebar

Jan 10, 2010
i stand corrected
i was mistaken
i love this place...

11. ### joebar

Jan 10, 2010
just going over the new and improved Cm6 chord and i realized that i use it all the time in chordal jazz work. i see the immediate tritone and dominant chord connection.
i use that chord as a substitute for a dominant chord (second position) for smoother voice leading.

12. ### phmike

Oct 25, 2006
Nashville, TN
Isn't that supposed to be R b3 5 6 (6 not b6) ?

13. ### Groove Master

Apr 22, 2011
Montreal
Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
Yeah, minor melodic will sound best over it because of the interval of a whole-tone between the next note. It is also possible to replace the 6th with major 7th with the same scale and make it a minMaj7. The other thing is that the min6 will function mostly as a I min unless it is used as a IVmin6 in classical music and became in Jazz harmony the bVII7.

Hope it is not too confusing ;-)

14. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
You just blew my mind! Now I know where that bVII7 comes from. In other words, the b3 and 6 of the IVmin6 becomes the b7 and 3 of the bVII7. It took me a minute to puzzle through it.

Learning all kinds of stuff tonight!

15. ### Groove Master

Apr 22, 2011
Montreal
Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101

Also the bVII7 is a hidden bVII 13(#11) which contains all the notes of the melodic minor scale!

16. ### Russell L

Mar 5, 2011
Cayce, SC
+1. Get on a keyboard and play this progression with your right hand while holding a pedal C with your left hand: Cm Bb Ab, and notice that the third chord is noticeably a first inversion chord, by the way it sounds. Just makes sense.

17. ### Bassist4ErisFrat-Pack Sympathizer

Aug 11, 2012
Upstate NY, USA
I must admit, I'm not following this. It's getting near my bedtime, though, so maybe it'll make more sense tomorrow. In the meantime, though, I've got another question for you. You talk about the IVm6, which makes sense to me in terms of a minor key, because it would be enharmonic. From there, we get to a bVII7. So, it follows (in my mind) that a bVII7 would work best in a minor key. So why in a chart like "Lady Bird" do I see Bb7 resolving to Cmaj7?

18. ### Stick_PlayerBanned

Nov 13, 2009
Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
Groove likes to turn every chord into some kind of 13th chord and assign a scale or mode to it. I don't subscribe to that method, but if it works for him, it may work for others.

Called the "Backdoor Progression".

When, in the key of C Major, one can use a Bb7 (the Backdoor, a Dominant-sounding chord), it is a substitution for G7 (the Frontdoor, the Dominant Seventh chord).

Bb7 naturally exists in the parallel Key of C Minor (it's borrowed from C Minor).

19. ### Groove Master

Apr 22, 2011
Montreal
Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
No IV minor is NOT exclusive to the minor. It is actually very common in classical and today, every pop ballads has that chord in it. Check this out in the key of G Major:

G- C - C min6- G

Now put a F bass to the Cmin6 and you'll get a F9 (bVII9) that resolves nicely to the G Major.

As for the bVII13 (#11), I said that the scale that fits the xmin6 chord is the melodic minor. So on the F9 functioning as bVII7 spell out the chord and its extensions: F- A -C -Eb- G - B- D. You'll notice that the upper structure of the chord is the same as the chord it resolves to. And plus it fits the whole C minor melodic scale place in thirds.

As for the Bb7 in Lady Bird, you can play it in 2 ways:
1) as a V7 in the key of Eb because of its iim7 just before that form a strong Eb Major chords sequence or

2) Bring that lydian dominant sound (bVII 13(#11) by playing
F melodic minor.

Notice the scales here in bar 3 and 4 if you use the dominant lydian:
F Dorian and then F minor melodic. There is only one note that changes: Eb to E. That's all! Any common tones between the 2 scales are great notes to play over those 2 bars.

So don't do like some people here and try it out instead of doubting this info ;-)

20. ### MarkMgibson

Oct 24, 2012
Brisbane, Australia
A m6 chord is simply a minor chord with an added 6th. - 1 b3 5 6

So a Cm6 chord is C, Eb, G, A

The terms "minor"(m) and Major (M) in reference to chords always refers to the 3rd in modern music notation if used alone. If both terms are used (example Cmin/maj7), the first reference always applies to the 3rd of the chord.