Sixth chord

6th Chords with 4 notes, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversions

This page shows an overview of the structure of a 6th chord, including the note intervals used to define it.

6th chord definition and construction

Sixth chords contain 4 notes played together, or overlapping.

Like triad chords shown in Triad chord, sixth chords have different qualities, with the most common shown in the last column of the table below.

Sixth chords are built on triad chord qualities, but with an extra note, whose name is based on the 6th note of the major scale.

sixth chord note interval qualities
Based on triad quality2nd note quality3rd note quality4th note quality6th chord quality
minorminor (m3)perfect (P5)major (M6)minor
majormajor (M3)perfect (P5)major (M6)major

E-flat major 6th chord intervals

The piano diagram above shows the Eb major 6th chord which is the same as the Eb major chord, except that it has one extra note, defined using the Eb-maj-6th note interval as shown in the second row of the table above.

6th chord inversions

6th chord inversions work in the same way as triad inversions explained in Triad chord, except since there is one more note in the chord, there is one extra inversion that can be done.

Using the 6th chord above, the root position 6th chord has Eb as the first note.

For the 1st inversion, this note is moved to the end leaving note G as the first note.

For the 2nd inversion, G from the 1st inversion is moved to the end leaving note Bb as the first note.

For the 3rd inversion, Bb from the 2nd inversion is moved to the end leaving note C as the first note.

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