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7th chord construction – Major7, Minor7 and Dominant 7

05 Jun

Hi There,

In previous blogs I’ve stated how major, minor and suspended (sus2 + sus4) chords are constructed.

Now we’ll look at the 3 main types of 7th chords that tend to be used the most. (There are others but these tend to be the most used)

Major7 chords

Are built up of a Root (1,) Major Third (3) Perfect 5th (5) and Major 7 (7)

Major 3rd is 2 tones from the root

Perfect 5th is 3 1/2 tones from the root

Major 7 is 5 1/2 tones from the root (or a semitone back from the root as a shortcut)

So a few examples would be:

A major7 (A,C#,E and G#) and Cmajor 7 (C,E,G and B)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor 7 chords

Are built up of a root (1) Minor 3rd (b3), Perfect 5th (5) and Minor 7 (b7)

Minor 3rd is 1 1/2 tones from the root

Perfect 5th is 3 1/2 tones from the root

Minor 7 is 5 tones from the root (or back a tone from the root as a shortcut)

So a few examples would be:

Gm7 (G, Bb, D and F) and Bm7 (B,D,F# and A)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominant 7 chords:

Are built up of a Root (1), Major 3rd (3), Perfect 5th and Minor 7th)

Major 3rd is 2 tones from the root

Perfect 5th is 3 1/2 tones from the root

Minor 7 is 5 tones from the root (or a tone back from the root as a shortcut)

Some examples would be E7 (E, G#, B and D) and D7 (D, F#, A and C)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the formulas there’s very slight differences between the make up of the chords but these differences produce completely different sounding chords

Understanding when to use each type of chord depends on what key your in and the:

MAJ7, MIN7, MIN7, MAJ7, DOMINANT7, MIN7, MIN7B5 rule

It can also have many other benefits:

  • Knowledge of these are essential for thorough learning of arpeggios as you are using the individual intervals within the chord to highlight all the aspects of a particular chord
  • In terms of fretboard knowledge it’s very useful to know where all these different intervals are that make up the chords so you fully understand what you’re playing
  • If you’re in a band or want to play an instrument like a piano, learning this sort of stuff will give you massive head starts
 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Music Theory

 

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