• Here Are Seventh Chord Types Most Top Players Cannot Do Without

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    In today’s lesson, we will be looking at the family of the seventh chord

    Knowing and using only the triads is okay, but one thing is that you will sound really basic and nobody wants to remain a “baby“ player for a long time. That’s why I came up with this lesson on the different qualities of seventh chord that you can play to add color to your playing.
    Before we any further, let’s review the concept of seventh chords.

    “What Is A Seventh Chord?”

    The term seventh describes the size of a chord or interval that encompasses seven scale degrees.

    There are different qualities of the seventh interval:

    Major seventh

    Minor seventh

    Diminished seventh

    Augmented seventh

    A Short Note On Seventh Chords

    A seventh chord consists of four notes that are played together in third intervals, encompassing the distance of a seventh between the root and the seventh chord tone.

    For example, using the C major scale:

    …a seventh chord can be formed on C:

    …by adding other chord tones in third intervals. A third interval from C:

    …is E:

    Another third interval from C-E:

    …is G:

    Altogether, C-E-G:

    …encompasses a fifth.

    Another third interval from C-E-G:

    …is B:

    Altogether, C-E-G-B:

    …encompasses a seventh. Consequently, it’s described as a seventh chord.

    Seventh Chord Qualities

    Although there are various seventh chord types, we’ll be focusing on eighth seventh chord types:

    Major seventh

    Minor seventh

    Minor-major seventh

    Dominant seventh

    Diminished seventh

    Half-diminished seventh

    Augmented seventh

    Augmented-major seventh

    All seventh chords have this in common:

    The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th chord tones

    We’ll be using the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the major scale as a template in the formation of these seventh chord types.

    We’ll derive other chord types by the modification of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the major scale.

    Alright!

    Let’s take a look at the different chord qualities gospel and jazz musicians incorporate in their playing.

    The Major Seventh Chord

    The major seventh chord is a major triad with an added major third interval above its fifth tone.

    The components of the C major seventh chord are the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones of the C major scale. Using the voicing formula below:

    1, 3, 5, 7

    …the major seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the C major scale are C, E, G, and B:

    The Minor Seventh Chord

    The minor seventh chord is a minor triad with an added minor third interval above its fifth tone.

    The components of the C minor seventh chord are the first, flat third, fifth, and flat seventh tones of the C major scale. Using the voicing formula below:

    1, b3, 5, b7

    …the minor seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, flat 3rd, 5th, and flat 7th tones of the C major scale are C, Eb, G, and Bb:

    The Minor-Major Seventh Chord

    The minor-major seventh chord is a minor triad with an added major third interval above its fifth tone.

    The components of the C minor-major seventh chord are the first, flat third, fifth, and seventh tones of the C major scale. Using the voicing formula below:

    1, b3, 5, 7

    …the minor-major seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, flat 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the C major scale are C, Eb, G, and B:

    The Diminished Seventh Chord


    The  diminished seventh chord is a four note chord with the minor third interval between successive tones.

    The diminished seventh chord can be formed on C:

    …by adding Eb (a minor third above C):

    …and Gb (a minor third above Eb):

    …and Bbb/A (a minor third above Gb):

    …to form the C diminished seventh chord:

    Using the voicing formula below:

    1, b3, 5b, bb7

    …the diminished seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, flat 3rd, flat 5th, and double-flat 7th tones of the C major scale are C, Eb, Gb, and Bbb/A:

    The Half-Diminished Seventh Chord

    The half-diminished seventh chord is a diminished triad with an added minor third interval above its fifth tone.

    The components of the C half-diminished seventh chord are the first, flat third, flat fifth, and flat seventh tones of the C major scale. Using the voicing formula below:

    1, b3, b5, b7

    …the half-diminished seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, flat 3rd, flat 5th, and flat 7th tones of the C major scale are C, Eb, Gb, and Bb:

    The Augmented Seventh Chord

    The augmented seventh chord is a dominant seventh chord with a raised fifth tone.

    Using the C dominant seventh chord:

    …the augmented seventh chord can be formed by raising the fifth tone, which is G:

    …by a half-step (to G#):

    The result is the C augmented seventh chord :

    Using the voicing formula below:

    1, b3, b5, b7

    …the augmented seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, 3rd, sharp 5th, and flat 7th tones of the C major scale are C, E, G#, and Bb:

    The Augmented-Major Seventh Chord

    The augmented-major seventh chord is a major seventh chord with a raised fifth tone.

    Using the C major seventh chord:

    …the augmented-major seventh chord can be formed by raising the fifth tone, which is G:

    …by a half-step (to G#):

    The result is the C augmented-major seventh chord :

    Using the voicing formula below:

    1, 3, #5, 7

    …the augmented-major seventh chord can be formed in any key.

    The 1st, 3rd, sharp 5th, and 7th tones of the C major scale are C, E, G#, and B:

    Final Words

    In conclusion, seventh chords are very important for all musicians to know and add to their arsenal as they will skyrocket your playing from the beginner’s level to the intermediate.

    Do you well to practice these chords on all the keys and also learn their inversions.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Joe

    How do you use the augmented dominate 7th chord? It sounds horrible.

    Reply

    2 Chuku Onyemachi

    Lol!

    Joe, the augmented seventh chord doesn’t sound horrible when it’s properly applied. The C augmented seventh chord bodes well as a passing chord in the key of Ab major.

    Try plunking down the C augmented seventh chord and then you resolve to the F minor ninth (or eleventh chord.)

    Reply

    3 Paul ifeanyi

    Learning this in all keys turns me to an intermediate only?

    Reply

    4 Zimbe Albert

    hey
    can u pliz help me to kniw what i can do to get to intermediate level. Are there any drills, new stuff and da rest? Man, I am a church pianist, i am really tired of this monotony

    Reply

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