An altered chord is a chord containing one (or several) altered notes that don't belong to the diatonic scale. These notes are the b5 (flat fifth), #5 (sharp fifth), b9 (flat ninth), #9 (sharp ninth). In other words, altered chords are diatonic chords where the fifth and/or the ninth have been lowered or raised by one semitone.
In this guitar lesson we will see that they can be grouped into three disctinct families that are (major, minor and dominant) and also how to play them on guitar.
Altered chords are a very important part of jazz language, they are built by altering with a flat or a sharp one or more notes of a diatonic chord. They are very useful to bring a little bit of tension to any jazz chord progression.
This lesson focusses on dominant seventh flat fifth chords (7b5), that are dominant seventh chords with a lowered fifth, given the formula : root (R), third (3), flat fifth (b5) and minor seventh (b7).
This free guitar chord chart available as a PDF file contains the most important altered and extended dominant guitar chord shapes that any guitar player should know. It is totally free (or Pay What You Want) in return, don't hesitate to support this website.
What's An Altered Dominant Chord?
Altered dominant chords are used to bring tension and an outside flavor to jazz chord progressions. They generally resolved to an inside chord as the I or a substitute as iii or vi.
Altered chords have one or more notes lowered or raised by a half-step, in other words they contain one or more alterations. These alterations can be b9,#9, b5 (#11) and b13 (#5).
They are generally used by jazz musicians, composers and arrangers as substitutions for diatonic chords for adding dissonance and spicing up the harmony.