• Have you learned these harmonic minor seventh chords yet?

    in Chords & Progressions

    harmonicchords-big.jpgI actually want to start where I left off on friday. If you didn’t get a chance to read my post on the triads of the harmonic minor scale, click here.

    I promised you that I’d cover the seventh chords of the harmonic minor scale next so here we go!

    First, let’s review how we came up with the triads.

    We started with our C harmonic minor scale (which is essentially the same as the natural minor scale except the 7th tone is raised a half step).

    C harmonic minor
    C D Eb F G Ab B C

    Then we took every other note of this scale and created block chords:

    1st tone: C Eb G
    2nd tone: D F Ab
    3rd tone: Eb G B
    4th tone: F Ab C
    5th tone: G B D
    6th tone: Ab C Eb
    7th tone: B D F

    Once we did that, we determined the names of these chords:

    1st tone – C minor
    2nd tone – D diminished
    3rd tone – Eb augmented
    4th tone – F minor
    5th tone – G major
    6th tone – Ab major
    7th tone – B diminished

    But I reminded you that these were just triads and that we’d played 4-toned chords in the next lesson so let’s take this concept one step further.

    Let’s do the same exact thing we did on friday. Let’s take every other note of the scale but instead of stopping at 3 notes, let’s create 4-toned chords.

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    C D Eb F G Ab B C D Eb F G Ab B C

    Now let’s determine the names of these chords:

    C minor-major 7
    D half-diminished 7
    Eb augmented major 7
    F minor 7
    G dominant 7
    Ab major 7
    B diminished 7

    Now let’s compare the triads of the harmonic minor scale to their seventh chord counterparts:

    1st tone – minor (triad) >>> minor-major 7
    2nd tone – diminished (triad) >>> half-diminished 7
    3rd tone – augmented (triad) >>> augmented major 7
    4th tone – minor (triad) >>> minor 7
    5th tone – major (triad) >>> dominant 7
    6th tone – major (triad) >>> major 7
    7th tone – diminished (triad) >>> diminished 7

    One common misconception is that major triads automatically create major sevenths when you add that extra tone to the chord. That is not always true.

    Notice both the 5th and 6th triads were major, yet when you changed the chords to sevenths, the 5th tone turned into a dominant seventh chord and the 6th tone expanded to a major seventh chord.

    So because the major 7 and dominant 7 chords share the same basic triad, that seventh tone makes all the difference up top.

    The same applies to the diminished triad chords. Notice the 2nd and 7th tones were diminished. However, when we expanded our chords, the 2nd chord turned into a half-diminished seventh chord while the 7th tone expanded to a diminished seventh chord.

    Lastly, the 1st tone. It was a basic minor chord but when you added the 7th degree, it turned into a minor-major 7 chord.

    Whoaa! A “minor-major” seventh chord? You’ve probably never heard that one before!

    It’s when the first part of the chord is minor but the seventh is major.

    In other words, you may have a C+Eb+G (C minor) on the bottom but a “B” natural up top.

    That chord is introduced to us through the harmonic minor scale, among others.

    So there you have it! The seventh chords of the harmonic minor scale!

    Exercise: Can you help me write out the triads *and* sevenths of all 12 major keys? I’ll start off with “C” below. Let’s try to get this done as a team!

    Oh yes, I almost forgot. If you really like these minor chords and what we’ve been doing for the last week or so, then you’ll love what Jeff teaches in our new salsa course. Click here for details.

    Until next time!

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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


    { 12 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jermaine

    Key of C (triads)

    C minor
    d dim
    Eb augmented
    F minor
    G major
    Ab major
    B dim


    C minor major 7
    D half dim 7
    Eb aumented major 7
    F minor 7
    G dominant 7
    Ab major 7
    B dim 7


    2 chawk

    Key of E (Triads)

    E minor
    F# dim
    G aug
    A minor
    B major
    C major
    D# dim


    E minor major7
    F# half dim7
    G aug major 7
    A minor 7
    B dom 7
    C major 7
    D dim 7


    3 rayjohnson83

    Key of F (Triads)

    F minor
    G dim
    A aug
    Bb minor
    C major
    D major
    E dim


    F minor major7
    G half dim7
    A aug major 7
    Bb minor 7
    C dom 7
    D major 7
    E dim 7


    4 Jermaine

    @chawk: Your triads look good! In your sevenths, I think you forgot the D#. Other than that, it was great! Awesome.


    5 Jermaine

    @ray johnson: Those chords need to be applied to the F harmonic minor scale. You used the regular major scale.

    Step 1: Find out what the F natural minor scale is by using its relative major (Ab major) and playing from the 6th tone to the 6th tone (which is basically playing the Ab major scale from F to F).

    Step 2: To change this scale from a natural minor scale to a harmonic minor scale, raise the 7th tone.

    F natural minor:
    F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F

    F harmonic minor (just raise the 7th tone a half step… make sure never to change the alphabet letter):

    F G Ab Bb C Db E F

    (Now apply the chords above to these notes).



    6 rayjohnson83

    @JG, I dont know what I was thinking. but thanks for pointing that out. lol


    7 Eresmas

    Hey JG, I would like to try

    Key of D Triads
    D min
    E dim
    F aug
    G min
    A maj
    Bb maj
    C# dim

    D min maj7
    E half dim7
    F aug maj7
    G min7
    A dom7
    Bb maj7
    C# dim7

    Whew! i hope i got it man.


    8 Jermaine

    @Eresmas! You are on fire! Awesome!


    9 robert skyers

    key of Bb (Trids)


    10 robert skyers

    key of Bb (Triads)

    Bb min
    C dim
    Db aug
    Eb min
    F maj
    Gb maj
    A dim


    Bb min-maj7
    C half dim7
    Db aug maj7
    Eb minor7
    F dominant7
    Gb major7
    A diminished7


    11 Micah

    My turn! Db harmonic minor with funny symbols

    A Δ
    B º

    E +Δ7
    A Δ7
    B º7


    12 Shimfe

    Pls sir what are the major combinations u can apply to every key starting with key of c


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