• Who Else Is Interested In Learning The Shortcut To Playing Seventh Chords In The Major Key

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano

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    If you’re interested in knowing the shortcut to learning seventh chords in the major key this lesson is for you.

    A lot of beginners find triads boring after playing them for a while and that’s the beginning of the quest for more sophisticated chords.

    After triads are seventh chords and they  sound a lot more sophisticated than triads because of the number of voices (four voices) and the seventh interval they encompass.

    I’ll be taking you by the hand in the next segment and showing you step by step how you can shortcut your way to playing seventh chords in the major key.

    The Shortcut To Learning Seventh Chords In The Major Key

    Using the major scale of any major key as a reference, you can form seventh chords using the shortcut I’m about to show you.

    But before we go any further, suffice it to say that this shortcut is for musicians who are already familiar with the triads in the major key. So, if you’re yet to master the triads in the key, then seventh chords are definitely not for you.

    All examples will be given in the key of C major:

    …where the following triads are scale tone chords (aka – “diatonic chords”):

    C major triad (the 1-chord):

    D minor triad (the 2-chord):

    E minor triad (the 3-chord):

    F major triad (the 4-chord):

    G major triad (the 5-chord):

    A minor triad (the 6-chord):

    B diminished triad (the 7-chord):

    “Can You Play The Descending Major Scale?”

    On of the things that would help you shortcut your way from triads to seventh chords is the descending major scale in any key your in.

    In the key of C major:

    …here’s the descending C major scale:

    C:

    B:

    A:

    G:

    F:

    E:

    D:

    C:

    If you can play the descending C major scale, you can shortcut your way from triads to seventh chords. As simple as it sounds, it’s true and I’ll be showing you how this works.

    How To Form A Seventh Chord From Any Given Triad

    Given the 1-chord in the key of C major (which is the C major triad):

    …you can form a seventh chord by lowering the root of the chord by one scale step in the key.

    Attention: This is where your knowledge of the C major scale (in descending form) comes into play.

    Lowering the root of the C major triad:

    …which is C:

    …by one scale step (to B):

    …produces the second inversion of the E minor triad:

    …which produces the C major seventh chord when played over C in the bass:

    So, instead of playing the C major triad:

    …you can shortcut your way to the corresponding seventh chord by lowering the root on the right hand by one scale step from C to B:

    From C:

    …to B:

    …produces the C major seventh chord:

    “Let’s Derive The Seventh Chord For The 2-chord…”

    The root of the D minor triad:

    …is D:

    Lowering D:

    …by one scale step as if we’re playing the descending in the C major scale from D to C:

    …produces the second inversion of the F major triad:

    …and over D on the bass:

    …that’s the D minor seventh chord:

    So, instead of playing the D minor triad:

    …lowering the root on the right hand by one scale step from D to C:

    From D:

    …to C:

    …produces the D minor seventh chord (the 2-chord in the key of C major):

    “Following The Same Procedure, You Can Derive The Rest Of The Chords…”

    Instead of the E minor triad:

    …you can lower the root (which is E):

    …by one scale step (to D):

    …to form the E minor seventh chord:

    Instead of the F major triad:

    …you have the F major seventh chord:

    …by lowering the root (which is F):

    …by one scale step (to E):

    By lowering the root of each of the chords by one scale step, you can shortcut your way to all the corresponding seventh chords in the major key.

    Final Words

    Now that you’ve learned this shortcut in the key of C major, I’ll want you to derive the rest of the chords and most importantly, take the procedures to other major keys.

    If you can always lower the root of the right hand chord by a scale step (as if you’re playing the descending major scale), you can always cheat your way through to playing every seventh chord in the major key.

    See you in the next lesson.

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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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Carolyn Clark

    Thanks. This is very helpful. It
    help me a lot when I write it out
    and can see exactly how everything is formed and comes together. Thanks for your time and effort in breaking everything down in simplest form. God bless you.

    Reply

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