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Seventh Chords

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
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If you take a basic triad and add a note that is a seventh above the root, you have a seventh chord. There are several different types of seventh chords, distinguished by both the type of triad and the type of seventh used. Here are the most common.

Seventh Chords

  • Seventh (or "dominant seventh") chord = major triad + minor seventh
  • Major Seventh chord = major triad + major seventh
  • Minor Seventh chord = minor triad + minor seventh
  • Diminished Seventh chord = diminished triad + diminished seventh (half step lower than a minor seventh)
  • Half-diminished Seventh chord = diminished triad + minor seventh

An easy way to remember where each seventh is:

  • The major seventh is one half step below the octave.
  • The minor seventh is one half step below the major seventh.
  • The diminished seventh is one half step below the minor seventh.
Figure 5.23 Common Seventh Chords

Listen to the differences between the C seventh30, C major seventh31, C minor seventh, C diminished seventh33, and C half-diminished seventh34.

Exercise 5.8:

Write the following seventh chords. If you need staff paper, you can print this PDF file

  1. G minor seventh
  2. E (dominant) seventh
  3. B flat major seventh
  4. D diminished seventh
  5. F (dominant) seventh
  6. F sharp minor seventh
  7. G major seventh
  8. B half-diminished seventh

Exercise 5.9

Write a Ddim7, Fdim7, G#dim7, and Bdim7. Look closely at the chords you have written and see if you can notice something surprising about them. (Hint: try rewriting the chords enharmonically so that all the notes are either natural or (single) flat.