• Chord Analysis: The Ab Dominant Seventh Chord

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

    Post image for Chord Analysis: The Ab Dominant Seventh Chord

    We featured the Ab dominant seventh chord as the Chord of the Day on our Facebook page:

    The Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …consists of Ab, C, Eb, and Gb. If you take a look at the Chord of the Day photo we posted, you’ll notice that the notes of the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …were rearranged in a different order on the right hand (where you have “Gb-Ab-C-Eb”):

    …and C on the bass:

    Well, that’s the idea! The Chord of the Day doesn’t have to be very easy to recognize; sometimes, you have to gradually think through all the note combinations and then figure out what the overall chord has to be.

    Trust me, if you want to use the lowest-sounding note of a chord in determining what the root of a chord is, you’ll not always have the right answer.

    The Chord of the Day is a typical example of cases where the lowest-sounding note in the chord is NOT the root. So, contrary to some of the answers a few people gave on the Facebook post:

    …it’s NOT a C chord; it’s rather an Ab chord — the Ab dominant seventh chord.

    Alright! Now that we’ve established that it’s an Ab dominant seventh chord, let’s go ahead and analyze the Chord of the Day.

    A Breakdown Of The Chord of the Day — The AbDom7 Chord

    I always approach the breakdown of any given chord by explaining what every component of the chord name means. The same way my name is Onyemachi Uchenna Chuku and it can be broken down to the following:

    First name: Onyemachi
    Middle name: Uchenna
    Surname: Chuku

    That’s exactly how we’re going to breakdown the chord name into these components: Ab, dominant, seventh, and chord.

    Are you ready? Let’s go!

    The Ab

    The most important tone in the Chord of the Day:

    …is the Ab tone:

    …and this is because it is the root of the chord when it is played in root position.

    As a rule, all chords take their name from the root note in the chord and what’s the root note here? The answer is the Ab note:

    So, the Chord of the Day is associated with the Ab note because Ab is the root of the chord.

    The Dominant

    Once you hear the term dominant (in music), what should come to your mind is the number 5 or the fifth number.

    So, the use of the term to describe the Chord of the Day means that it is a 5-chord or the chord built off the fifth tone of the scale.

    Pop Quiz: What key has Ab as the fifth tone of the scale? or In what key is Ab the fifth tone of the scale?

    Ab:

    …is the fifth tone of the Db major scale:

    …and this means that the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …is the 5-chord in the key of Db major:

    …and that’s exactly what it is.

    Knowing the meaning of the term dominant actually gives you an idea of how the dominant seventh chord resolves. For example, now that we’ve known that the Ab dominant seventh chord is the 5-chord in the key of Db major:

    …we can resolve it to the Db major chord:

    Are you still doubting if the Ab dominant seventh chord comes from the key of Db major? Well, all the tones of the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …are derived from the Db major scale:

    Ab is the fifth tone:

    C is the seventh tone:

    Eb is the second tone:

    Gb is the fourth tone:

    I’m sure you now have a clearer view of the dominant picture.

    The Seventh

    The Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …is described as a seventh chord because of the distance (aka – “interval”) between its lowest-sounding and highest-sounding notes when it is played in root position.

    In the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …the lowest-sounding note is the Ab note:

    …and the highest-sounding note is the Gb note:

    Pop Quiz: What is the interval between Ab and Gb?

    The interval between Ab and Gb:

    …is a “seventh” interval and encompasses about seven scale tones.

    So, the interval of a seventh between Ab and Gb:

    …in the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …is the reason why the Chord of the Day is considered as a seventh chord.

    The Chord

    The word chord comes from the old English word accord which means together.

    In the same vein, all the tones of the Ab dominant seventh chord are to be played “together” and not separately.

    “In A Nutshell…”

    It’s the Ab dominant seventh chord because:

    Its root is Ab:

    It’s the 5-chord in the key of Db major (aka – “the dominant”):

    It encompasses an interval of a seventh:

    Its notes are to be played together (in accord):

    “Why Do We Have A C On The Bass?”

    One may want to argue, “If it’s an Ab dominant seventh chord, why do we have C on the bass?”

    When a chord is played, any of its tones can be played on the bass and that’s exactly what’s going on in the case of the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …where C is played on the bass:

    …and that’s exactly why we have the Ab dominant seventh chord over C on the bass:

    “So, What’s The Chord Of The Day?”

    So, the Chord of the Day is the first inversion of the Ab dominant seventh chord (Ab7/C or Abdom7/C.)

    However, if you say it’s the Ab dominant seventh chord, you’re correct for ordinary purposes. But if you want to be strictly accurate, you have to make sure that you don’t ignore the C that’s on the bass.

    The Ab Dominant Seventh Chord Played Over Other Bass Notes

    The Ab dominant seventh chord can be played over other bass notes like D and E.

    However, you’ll permit me to use an enharmonic spelling of the Chord of the Day. So, instead of the Ab dominant seventh chord:

    …we’ll go with the G# dominant seventh chord:

    …which has exactly the same key notes but spelled differently.

    The D bass note

    Playing the G# dominant seventh chord:

    …over D on the bass:

    …produces the D altered chord:

    …which is specifically the Ddom7[b9,b5] chord.

    This Ddom7[b9,b5] chord:

    …functions as a passing chord that resolves to the G minor ninth chord:

    The E bass note

    Playing the G# dominant seventh chord:

    …over E on the bass:

    …produces the E augmented major ninth chord:

    …which can either be played as the 1-chord in the key of E major:

    …or the 4-chord in the key of B major:

    Final Words

    I’m sure you’ve learned a couple of things in today’s chord analysis.

    Special appreciation goes to our founder, Jermaine Griggs (who is also my role-model) for the opportunity to share with you today on the Ab dominant seventh chord.

    Questions, suggestions, and contributions are anticipated and I’ll keep an eye in the comment section.

    See you tomorrow!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




    songtutor600x314-5jpg

    gospelnewbanner3jpg

    { 0 comments… add one now }

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: