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 (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.
Listen to the differences between the C seventh30, C major seventh31, C minor seventh, C diminished seventh33, and C half-diminished seventh34.
Write the following seventh chords. If you need staff paper, you can print this PDF file
- G minor seventh
- E (dominant) seventh
- B flat major seventh
- D diminished seventh
- F (dominant) seventh
- F sharp minor seventh
- G major seventh
- B half-diminished seventh
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.