• How To Learn Minor And Dominant Seventh Chords By Association

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

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    In this lesson, I”ll be showing you how to learn minor and dominant seventh chords by association.

    Learning by association is one of the easiest ways to learn anything. So, how do we learn by association:

    If you have a known thing and an unknown thing, you can learn the unknown using the know if there’s a link between them.

    In this lesson, we’ll be learning how to associate the minor and dominant seventh chords with the major seventh chord that I assume that you’re already conversant with.

    It’s not safe to assume that everyone is conversant with the major seventh chord. Therefore, we’ll start out in this lesson with quick insights on the major seventh chord.

    Quick Insights On The Major Seventh Chord

    The major seventh chord is the 1-chord in the major key and that makes it easy to form or recognize. Using the major scale in any key, you can form the major scale by playing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the major scale.

    Using the D major scale (as a reference):

    …anyone can form the major seventh chord by the combination of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the D major scale (which are D, F#, A, and C#):

    Following the same procedures, the major seventh chord can be formed on any note on the keyboard.

    “Here Are All The Major Seventh Chords On The Keyboard…”

    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:

    Minor and dominant seventh chords can be learned using the major seventh chord as a link and I’ll be showing you (step-by-step) how this works in the next segment.

    How To Learn Minor And Dominant Seventh Chords

    Learning minor and dominant chords using major seventh chords as a reference will be a walk over for you if you understand the difference between the major seventh chord and the minor and dominant seventh chord.

    I’ll be showing you everything in this segment and all I need now is your undivided attention.

    How To Learn Dominant Seventh Chords By Association

    What is the difference between the major seventh and the dominant seventh chord? Check these two chords out:

    The C major seventh chord:

    The C dominant seventh chord:

    Both chords have three notes in common:C, E, and G:

    …and that means that they share 75% of their tones.

    The basic difference between both chords is their seventh tone:

    …which is B:

    …in the case of the C major seventh chord:

    …and Bb:

    …in the case of the C dominant seventh chord:

    The relationship between the C major seventh chord and the C dominant seventh chord makes it easy for the latter to be associated with the former.

    Lowering the seventh tone of the C major seventh chord:

    …(which is B)

    …by a half-step (to Bb):

    …produces the C dominant seventh chord:

    This gives us a formula to associate every other dominant seventh chord with the major seventh chord. The formula is given as b7. Lowering the seventh tone of any given major seventh chord (b7) produces the dominant seventh chord.

    “Check It Out…”

    Given the E major seventh chord:

    The E dominant seventh chord can be derived using the “b7 formula” and it can simply be applied by lowering the seventh tone of the E major seventh chord:

    …which is D#:

    …by a half-step (to D):

    …and you’ll have the E dominant seventh chord:

    Using the “b7 formula”, the dominant seventh chord can be associated with the major seventh chord.

    How To Learn Minor Seventh Chords By Association

    The minor seventh chord can also be associated with the major seventh chord using the “b3-b7 formula” and here’s how it works:

    Lowering the third and seventh tones of any given major seventh chord simultaneously (or separately) by a half-step produces the minor seventh chord.

    Using the C major seventh chord:

    …the C minor seventh chord can be derived using the “b3-b7 formula” where the 3rd tone (which is E) and the 7th tone (which is B) are lowered by a half-step.

    Given the C major seventh chord:

    Lowering “E-B” (which are the third and seventh chord tones):

    …by a half-step (to “Eb-Bb”):

    …produces the C minor seventh chord:

    “Here’s Another Example…”

    Given the A major seventh chord:

    Lowering “C#-G#” (which are the third and seventh chord tones):

    …by a half-step (to “C-G”):

    …produces the A minor seventh chord:

    Every other minor seventh chord can be associated with the major seventh chord using the “b3-b7 formula”.

    Final Words

    Keep in mind that once you’re familiar with the major seventh chord (which is a product of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th tones of the major scale in any key), you can create the link to the minor and dominant seventh chords using the formula:

    “b7 formula” (for dominant seventh chords)

    “b3-b7 formula” (for minor seventh chords)

    Great job! Let’s keep learning more and more about seventh chords, other seventh chord types, and more.

    All the best!

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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 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.




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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Carolyn

    Wow! Thanks and God bless.

    Reply

    2 Chuku Onyemachi

    God bless you too, Carolyn.

    Reply

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