• Who Else Wants To Learn The Two Destinations Of Dominant Seventh Chords?

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    Dominant seventh chords have two main destinations and I’ll be showing you these destinations in this lesson.

    Having an understanding of these destinations and how they can be approached will give you insights on how dominant seventh chords are to be resolved.

    But before we go into learning about these destinations, let’s quickly review the dominant seventh chord; from its definition, to its formation.

    A Quick Review On The Dominant Seventh Chord

    There are two words that can give us an understanding of what the dominant seventh chord is, and they are as follows:

    1. Dominant
    2. Seventh

    The term dominant is a technical name that is associated with the fifth tone of the scale in the major or minor key and I’ll want you to ALWAYS associate the term dominant with the number “five” not just in this lesson, but forever.

    “So, The Dominant Chord Is Basically A 5-chord?”

    Yes, in the key of C major:

    …the chord of the 5th tone in the key (which is G):

    …is a dominant chord.

    “Now, Let’s Talk About The Seventh…”

    The term seventh is used to describe chords that encompass a seventh interval. For example, in the key of C major:

    …where the dominant chord is a G-chord (that starts from G):

    Going all the way from G to B:

    …to D:

    …then to F:

    …to form a chord that encompasses a seventh interval (“G-B-D-F”):

    …from G to F:

    …produces a dominant seventh chord.

    “What Is A Dominant Seventh Chord?”

    The dominant seventh chord is the 5-chord in the key consisting of a root, third, fifth, and seventh tone, and encompassing a seventh interval from its root.

    So, the dominant seventh chord in the key of C major:

    …is the G dominant seventh chord:

    …and the same thing is obtainable in the key of C minor:

    …where the dominant seventh chord is the G dominant seventh chord:

    So, it’s the same dominant seventh chord for the major and minor key and that’s the basis of this lesson. We’ll talk more about this in the next segment.

    The Destinations Of Dominant Seventh Chords

    The dominant seventh chord is the only chord the major and minor key share in common.

    So, there’s a dominant seventh chord for the major key and that of the minor and that’s the reason why dominant seventh chords have two destinations.

    Attention: By destination, I mean the last chord in a progression where chords are moving to. For example, in a “5-1-4” chord progression, the destination is the 4-chord and this is because both the 5-chord and 1-chord are all progressing to the 4-chord.

    Destination #1 – Major Chords

    Dominant seventh chords resolve to major chords that are either a fifth below or a half-step below and that’s more like two destinations in one.

    For example, the C dominant seventh chord:

    …can either resolve downwards by a fifth to the F major seventh chord:

    …or downwards by a half-step to the B major seventh chord:

    Consequently, for every time you come across a dominant seventh chord, chances are there that its destination is to a major chord and there are two major chord options:

    A fifth below

    A half-step below

    Always keep this in mind.

    Destination #2 – Minor Chords

    Dominant seventh chords resolve to minor chords that are either a fifth below or a half-step below and that’s more like two destinations in one.

    For example, the C dominant seventh chord:

    …can either resolve downwards by a fifth to the F minor seventh chord:

    …or downwards by a half-step to the B minor seventh chord:

    Consequently, for every time you come across a dominant seventh chord, chances are there that its destination is to a minor chord and there are two minor chord options:

    A fifth below

    A half-step below

    …and that’s how it works.

    Final Words

    All dominant chords have two destinations: to a major chord or to a minor chord. It’s also important to know, precisely, where they resolve to: downwards by a half-step or a fifth.

    In a subsequent lesson, I’ll teach you how to handle other sophisticated dominant chords like dominant ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, and altered chords.

    See you then.

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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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