Chord Equivalencies: Quick Reference

Colin Sapp

This page illustrates the “genetic” connection between various chord types. I’ve used the key of C as the reference point in all of these examples to keep the information relatively concise. Memorize these equivalencies so the chords become interchangeable in your mind. Also, mentally categorize their sound so you can determine how to utilize them. Then transpose them to all keys and practice incorporating them into your compositions and improvisation.

Basic Chord Equivalencies

These are chords that share the exact same pitches, but when a different degree is designated as the root, the name of the chord changes.

E+ = G#+ = C+

D#dim7 = F#dim7 = Adim7 = Cdim7

Am7 = C6

Am7b5 = Cm6

Gsus4 = Csus2

Fsus2 = Csus4

Eb6sus4 = Cm7#5

Rootless Equivalencies

These are common chords that exist within other chord types.


Eb is a rootless Cm7

Em is a rootless Cmaj7

Edim is a rootless C7

D#dim is a rootless Cdim7

E is a rootless Cmaj7#5

Eb+ is a rootless Cm(maj7)

B is a rootless Cdim(maj7)

Seventh Chords

Ebmaj7 is a rootless Cm9

Ebmaj7b5 is a rootless Cm6/9

Ebmaj7#5 is a rootless Cm9(maj7)

Eb7 is a rootless C7b9/#9

Eb7sus4 is a rootless C7#5 b9#9

Ebm(maj7) is a rootless Cm7b5(9)

Em7 is a rootless Cmaj9

Em7b5 is a rootless C9

Emaj7b5 is a rootless C7#5#9

E7 is a rootless Cmaj9#5

E7b5 is a rootless C9#5

Edim7 (Gdim7, A#dim7, C#dim7) is a rootless C7b9

Edim(maj7) is a rootless C7#9

F#m7 is a rootless C7b5/b9/13

Gb7 is a rootless C7b5b9

Gb7#5 is a rootless C9b5

Gmaj7 is a rootless Cmaj9#11

Gm7 is a rootless C9sus4

Gm7b5 is a rootless C7b9sus4

A7 is a rootless C7b9/13

A7sus4 is a rootless C6/9

Bb7b5 is a rootless C9#5

Bbm7b5 is a rootless C7#5b9

Bbdim(maj7) is a rootless C7b9/13

Bbmaj7b5 is a rootless C9/13

Slash Chords

Chords can also be expressed as triads and seventh chords over different bass notes. These yield chord equivalencies as well when allowing for enharmonic re-spelling.

Db/C = Dbmaj7

Db+/C = Dbmaj7#5

Dbdim/C = Dbdim(maj7)

Dbmaj7/C = Dbmaj7

D/C = D7

D7/C = D7

Dm/C = Dm7

Dm7/C = Dm7

Ddim/C = Dm7b5

D+/C = D7#5

Dsus2/C = C6/9

Eb/C = Cm7

Ebmaj7/C = Cm9

Ebm/C = Cm7b5

Ebm7/C = Cm9b5

Eb+/C = Cm(maj7)

Ebdim/C = Cdim7

Ebsus2/C = Cm11

E/C = Cmaj7#5

E7/C = Cmaj9#5

Em/C = Cmaj7

Em7/C = Cmaj9

Edim/C = C7

E+/C = C+

Esus2/C = Cmaj7#11

F/C = F

Fm/C = Fm

F+/C = Dbmaj7#5

Fmaj7/C = Fmaj7

Fm7/C = Fm7

F7/C = F7

Fsus2/C = Fsus2

Gb/C = C7b5b9

Gb+/C = D7#5

F#m/C = C13b5b9

F#m7/C = C13b5b9

Gb7/C = C7b5b9

F#dim/C = F#dim

Gbsus2/C = C7b5#5b9

G/C = Cmaj9

Gmaj7/C = Cmaj9#11

Gm/C = Cm9 or C9

Gm7/C = C9sus4

Gdim/C = C7b9

G+/C = Cm(maj7)

Gsus2/C = C6/9

Ab/C = Ab

Abmaj7/C = Ab

G#m/C = Cm(maj7)#5

Ab7/C = Ab7

G#+/C = C+

Absus2/C = Cm7#5

A/C = C13b9

Amaj7/C = C7#5/b9/13

A7/C = C13b9

Am/C = Am

Am7/C = Am7

A+/C = Dbmaj7#5

Adim/C = Adim

Asus2/C = Cmaj7(13)

Bb/C = C9sus4

Bbmaj7/C = C7sus4/9/13

Bb7/C = C9sus4b13

Bbm/C = C7b9sus4

Bbm7/C = C7sus4 b9b13

Bb+/C = D7#5

Bbsus2/C = C7sus4

A#dim/C = C7b9

B/C = Cdim(maj7)

Bm/C = D13

Bm7/C = D13

B7/C = Cdim(maj7)13

B+/C = Cm(maj7)

Dbm/C = Dbm(maj7)

Dbsus2/C = C7#5/b9/#9

Tension Substitutions

When tensions are substituted for chord tones, the result sometimes yields common chord types. Many of them have already been included in categories above, but here are examples that have not been mentioned.

F#m7b5 (11 for 3)  =  Cmaj7b5

F#m7b5 (9 for 1 and 11 for 3)  = Cmaj7#5

Gm7 (11 for 5)  =  C7sus4

Advanced Chord Equivalencies

These are common chord types that can function as chords in other keys when allowing for incomplete chord spellings.

Ab7 = C7#5#9

Ab7#5 = C7b5#5

Dm7#5 = C9sus4

D7sus4 = C6/9