• How To Imply A Seventh Chord Harmony Using Only Two Notes Your 3 Year Old Can Play

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    I’m going to show you in this lesson how you can imply a seventh chord harmony using only two notes.

    A lot of people reading this who are familiar with seventh chords know that a seventh chord has four notes. For example, the C major chord:

    …has four notes: C, E, G, and B.

    Now, instead of playing four notes, what if I told you that you can just play two notes — only two notes that your 3 year old can play — and still have a seventh chord harmony?

    Well, that’s what we’ll be covering in this lesson. But before we go any further, let’s learn about fourth intervals because they are important to this study.

    A Quick Review On Fourth Intervals

    A fourth interval is not anything difficult or hard that you can’t be able to learn and apply. In fact, if you can play the first and fourth tones of the major scale, that’s a fourth interval.

    For example, in the key of C major:

    …if you can play the first and fourth tones:

    First tone:

    Fourth tone:

    …together, and that’s C and F:

    …that is a fourth interval.

    Perfect fourth vs Augmented Fourth Intervals

    Before we go any further, it i s important to know that all fourth intervals are not equal.

    The fourth interval formed by the first and fourth tones of the major scale are known as perfect fourth intervals and that’s where intervals like C-F:

    …belong to.

    There are also fourth intervals that are larger than the first and fourth tones of the scale and they are called augmented fourth intervals.

    For example, if C and F# are played together:

    …that is an augmented fourth interval and this is because it is larger than a perfect fourth interval (C-F):

    …by a half-step.

    so, while C-F and C-F# are all fourth intervals, the former is said to be perfect while the latter is augmented.

    Attention: The augmented fourth interval is also known as the tritone and I’m sure you must have come across the term but if you haven’t, kindly check this lesson out.

    Examples of perfect fourths include:






    …while augmented fourth intervals include:





    …and using these notes (fourth intervals if you would), you can imply a seventh chord harmony and I’ll be showing you how this works in the next segment.

    How To Imply A Seventh Chord Harmony Using Fourth Intervals

    Playing a fourth interval on the keyboard can imply a seventh chord harmony and although there are more harmonies that can be implied, we’ll be looking at these:

    • Implied major seventh chord
    • Implied minor seventh chord
    • Implied dominant seventh chord

    Please check them out.

    Implied Major Seventh Harmony

    Going down a half-step below the root of any note on the keyboard to play a perfect fourth interval produces an implied major seventh harmony.

    For example, to imply a D major seventh chord:

    …we can go down a half-step from D:

    …to C#:

    …and play the C# perfect fourth interval.

    Now, the perfect fourth interval from C# consists of the first and fourth tones of the C# major scale:

    …and that’s C# and F#:

    …and when played over D on the bass:

    …that produces an implied D major seventh chord:

    “Let’s Take Another Example…”

    If the root of the major seventh harmony we want to play is C:

    …we can go down by a half-step to B:

    …and then play the B perfect fourth interval (B-E):

    …over C on the bass:

    …and that’s the implied C major seventh harmony:

    Following the same procedures, you can form any implied major seventh harmony you want.

    Implied Minor Seventh Harmony

    The process of playing an implied minor seventh chord is very simple and not very different from what we did for the major seventh chord.

    What we’re doing differently is that we’re playing the perfect fourth interval a whole-step below the root of the note we want to form the minor seventh chord on.

    For example, to imply the D minor seventh chord harmony:

    …we can go a whole-step below D:

    …which is C:

    …and play a perfect fourth interval (C-F):

    …over D on the bass:

    …to form an implied D minor seventh harmony:

    “Here’s One More Example…”

    To imply the F# minor seventh chord:

    …all we need to do is to go down a whole-step below F#:

    …and that’s to E:

    …and then we play the E perfect fourth interval (E-A):

    …and that produces the implied F# minor seventh harmony:

    Following the same procedure, you can imply any other minor seventh chord on the keyboard.

    Final Words

    Using just two notes, you can imply a seventh chord harmony and this makes it easier to play seventh chords and it doesn’t even get any easier than this.

    All you just have to do is to plunk down two notes that even a three year old can play and you have your seventh chord played; which is even less than the number of notes in a triad.

    Special appreciation to my mentor and role-model, Jermaine A. Griggs, for the opportunity to share this concept with you and I do hope that you’ve learned something.

    See you in the next lesson.

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku 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.

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