• # Choral Perspectives To The A&B Voicings Of Major Seventh And Minor Seventh Chords

In today’s lesson, we’ll be going deeper in our study of the A&B voicings of major seventh and minor seventh chords.

Major seventh and minor seventh chords account for five out of the seven scale degree chords in the major key. If you do the math, that’s 71% of the scale degree chords in the major key.

In addition to that, statistics has it that 40% of the seventh chords that are commonly played in gospel and jazz styles are major and minor seventh chords.

It’s because of the importance of major seventh and minor seventh chords in harmony that we’re dedicating this lesson to showing you another perspective on how they can be voiced using the A&B voicing technique.

## A Quick Review On Seventh Chords

Any chord that encompasses seven degrees of a given scale can be classified as a seventh chord. In this segment, we’ll be reviewing two important seventh chords:

### The Major Seventh Chord

The major seventh chord is a product of the relationship between the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones of the natural major scale. Using the D natural major scale:

…the D major seventh chord can be formed by playing the first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the D natural major scale, which are D, F#, A and C#:

“Check Out The Major Seventh Chord In All Twelve Keys…”

C major seventh chord:

Db major seventh chord:

D major seventh chord:

Eb major seventh chord:

E major seventh chord:

F major seventh chord:

Gb major seventh chord:

G major seventh chord:

Ab major seventh chord:

A major seventh chord:

Bb major seventh chord:

B major seventh chord:

### The Minor Seventh Chord

Playing the first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the natural minor scale produces the minor seventh chord. The first, third, fifth and seventh tones of the E natural minor scale:

…which are E, G, B and D:

…when played or heard together, are considered as the E minor seventh chord.

“Here Are Minor Seventh Chord In All Twelve Keys…”

C minor seventh chord:

C# minor seventh chord:

D minor seventh chord:

Eb minor seventh chord:

E minor seventh chord:

F minor seventh chord:

F# minor seventh chord:

G minor seventh chord:

G# minor seventh chord:

A minor seventh chord:

Bb minor seventh chord:

B minor seventh chord:

## A Note On The A&B Voicing Technique

Voicing is the consideration of the notes of a chord as voices or voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

This consideration leads to the rearrangement of the notes of a chord using voicing techniques which include but is not limited to:

• The “part-over-root” voicing technique
• The rootless voicing technique
• The upper-structure voicing technique
• The polychord voicing technique

In today’s lesson, we’re focusing on the A&B voicing technique for major seventh and minor seventh chords.

In this voicing technique, the focus is on the order of the third and seventh tones. The A voicing of a chord is produced when the third tone is placed before the seventh tone in a chord, while the B voicing of a chord is produced when the seventh tone is placed before the third tone in a chord.

### The “A Voicing” Concept

Then most important tones in a chord are its third and seventh tones (aka – “skeleton”). In the A voicing concept, the third is placed before the seventh tone. Consequently, all root position seventh chords can be said to be played in A voicing.

In the C major seventh chord:

…the third (E):

…is placed before the seventh tones (B):

Therefore, this voicing of the C major seventh chord:

…played in such a way that the third is placed before the seventh is an A voicing.

### The “B Voicing” Concept

In the B voicing concept, the seventh tone is placed before the third tone in the chord. For example, the C major seventh chord:

…can be rearranged in such a way that the seventh tone (B):

…is placed before the third tone (E):

“Check It Out…”

In the B voicing of the C major seventh chord:

…B (the seventh tone):

…is placed before the E (the third tone):

Let’s end this lesson by exploring the A&B voicing technique from a choral perspective.

## Choral Perspectives To The A&B Voicing Technique

There are four known voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.

Soprano is the first voice

Alto is the second voice

Tenor is the third voice

Bass is the fourth voice

The soprano and alto voice parts are usually sung by female singers while the tenor and bass voices are usually sung by male singers.

The notes of a seventh chord can be considered as four voice parts. For example, the notes of the C major seventh chord:

…can be considered as voice parts.

B:

…is the soprano voice.

G:

…is the alto voice.

E:

…is the tenor voice.

C:

…is the bass voice.

The same thing is applicable to minor seventh chords. The notes of the E minor seventh chord:

…can also be consider as voice parts.

D:

…is the soprano voice.

B:

…is the alto voice.

G:

…is the tenor voice.

E:

…is the bass voice.

### How To Derive The B Voicing Of A Seventh Chord

Given the A voicing of a seventh chord, its B voicing can be derived in two easy steps

Step 1 – The determination of the bass and tenor voices.

Step 2 – The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices .

“Check It Out…”

### The A&B Voicings Of The Major Seventh Chord

Let’s derive the B voicing of major seventh chords in a few keys.

#### Exercise #1 – B Voicing Of The C Major Seventh Chord

The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the C major seventh chord:

…(which are C and E):

…to C-E:

…produces the B voicing of the C major seventh chord:

#### Exercise #2 – B Voicing Of The Eb Major Seventh Chord

The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the Eb major seventh chord:

…(which are Eb and G):

…to Eb-G:

…produces the B voicing of the Eb major seventh chord:

#### Exercise #3 – B Voicing Of The Gb Major Seventh Chord

The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the Gb major seventh chord:

…(which are Gb and Bb):

…to Gb-Bb:

…produces the B voicing of the Gb major seventh chord:

Following the same procedure, anyone can derive the B voicing of major seventh chords in all twelve notes.

### The A&B Voicings Of The Minor Seventh Chord

Let’s also derive the B voicing of minor seventh chords.

#### Exercise #4 – B Voicing Of The G# Minor Seventh Chord

The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the G# minor seventh chord:

…(which are G# and B):

…to G#-B:

…produces the B voicing of the G# minor seventh chord:

#### Exercise #5 – B Voicing Of The D Minor Seventh Chord

The octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices in the D minor seventh chord:

…(which are D and F):

…to D-F:

…produces the B voicing of the D minor seventh chord:

## Final Words

Congratulations! You’ve just learned another exciting perspective to the A&B voicing of major seventh and minor seventh chords.

It’s important for you to go beyond the five examples we just covered, and learn how to derive the B voicing of major and minor seventh chords by the octave transposition of the bass and tenor voices.

Thanks for your time and I’ll see you in another lesson!

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#### Chuku Onyemachi

Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group
Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

#### Latest posts by Chuku Onyemachi (see all)

1 Joe

Great lesson Dr. but I’m confused by the G flat minor 7th example. Will you clarify it please?