Basic Chord Theory II

Today, we are going to look at four types of seventh chords. Also, I will BLOW... YOUR... MIND!

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Intro: Hello, and welcome to part to of the series Basic Chord Theory. Today, we are going to look at four types of seventh chords, being the standard seventh chord, the major seventh chord, the minor seventh chord, and the minor major seventh chord. It is recommended that you read the first part of this series prior to this one, as some of the topics discussed in that lesson are used here. You can read it here. Enjoy! The Seventh Chord: The seventh chord, sometime called a dominant seventh chord, is an important chord to learn, especially in styles of music such as Jazz. The seventh chord goes like this: 1 3 5 b7 So, lets start off by making a C7 chord, starting with the root note, C:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||-------||
E||--8----||
From there, we would add the 3, being the third note of the C major scale, or E:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
Next, we would add the fifth note of the C major scale, being G:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
Finally, the seventh note of the C major scale is B. But, the seventh chord has a flat or minor seventh, making the final note of this chord Bb:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
Now, what I'm about to say is something REALLY IMPORTANT!, which I forgot about in the first lesson, and for that I apologise. This chord is quite the stretch, going from the third fret to the eighth. But, the thing is, there are other ways to play this chord (duh!). The great thing is, you can rearrange the order of the notes! The only stipulation is that the root note stays the same. The theory behind the C7 chord says it's played C E G Bb, but, technically if you ordered the notes, lets say C G Bb E, it would still technically be the same chord, a C7 chord! But, a chord like E C G Bb would not be, as the root note is note C. It would still be chord, just not a C7 chord. So, the standard way of playing this chord is infact C G Bb E, and is played like this:
E||-------||
B||--5----||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Pretty cool, eh? I bet you never thought that if you couldn't play a chord, you could just rearrange the notes, did you? Once again, I apologize for forgetting that in the first lesson. One last thing you should notice is that the C7 chord is really just a major triad with a b7 added. The Major Seventh Chord: The next chord we will quickly look at is the major seventh chord. It is slightly different that the (dominant) seventh chord, and goes like this: 1 3 5 7 So, lets now construct a C7M chord, starting with C: E
||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||-------||
E||--8----||
Than add an E:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
And then a G:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
And than finally, the seventh note of the C major scale, a B:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--4----||
D||--5----||
A||--7----||
E||--8----||
A bit too much of a stretch? Well, I usually play my C7M chord in the order C G B E, in which case it looks like this:
E||-------||
B||--5----||
G||--4----||
D||--5----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Much like the seventh chord, the major seventh chord is just a major triad, except instead of adding a minor seventh, we're adding a major seventh. The Minor Seventh Chord: The next chord, the minor seventh chord, is also a slight variation on the dominant seventh chord. It is played like this: 1 b3 5 b7 So, lets use this sequence to construct a Cm7 chord (yes, in a major seventh, the M comes after the 7, while in a minor seventh, it comes before. That is not a typo, it's just the way it is) starting with C:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||-------||
E||--8----||
Now, the third note of the C major scale is E, meaning a b3 would be Eb:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--6----||
E||--8----||
Next, we would add a G:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--5----||
A||--6----||
E||--8----||
And finally, we would add a b7, or a Bb:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--6----||
E||--8----||
Yuck, another 3 to 8 stretch! Well, what if you played the Cm7 chord C G Bb Eb:
E||-------||
B||--4----||
G||--3----||
D||--5----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Much easier, isn't it! One last thing is that the minor seventh chord is just a minor triad with a flat seventh added on. The Minor Major Seventh Chord: What!? A chord that's both minor AND major!? Yesit's true. This chord has it's name because it has both minor and major intervals, and is basically just a blend between the minor seventh and major seventh chords. It is played like this: 1 b3 5 7 So, you will notice it has the flattened third, like the minor seventh chord, as well as the natural seventh, like the major seventh chord. So, lets construct a Cm7M chord, starting with C:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Next, we will add the flattened third ,or an Eb:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||--1----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Now, we add the fifth note of the C major scale, G:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||--0----||
D||--1----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
And then we top it off with a B:
E||-------||
B||--0----||
G||--0----||
D||--1----||
A||--3----||
E||-------||
Hooray, a chord we don't have to rearrange! But hey, if you really want toI won't tell. Anyway, we know how it got its name already, soI guess that's it! Review: Now, lets review all the chords we've learned so far. This will also give us an opportunity to compare chords for similarities. M = 1 3 5 m = 1 b3 5 Aug = 1 3 #5 Dim = 1 b3 b5 7 = 1 3 5 b7 7M = 1 3 5 7 m7 = 1 b3 5 b7 m7M = 1 b3 5 7 Wow, that a lot of chords. Your probably saying how can I remember all that! Well, really, a lot of these chords can be based off the major and minor triads! In fact, now that I have known chord theory for a while, chord names have become self explanatory to me. And it's true! And augmented chord is a major chord with a sharpened fifth, a diminished chord is a minor chord with a flattened fifth (those two aren't really self explanatory, you kind of need to memorize that), a seventh chord is a major chord with a flat seventh, a major seventh is a major chord with a seventh, a minor seventh is a minor chord with a flat seventh and a minor major seventh is a minor chord with an added seventh. In fact, you can even go on to say a minor chord is just a major chord with a flattened third! Really, you can make those eight chords out of just one! Oh, the joys of chord theory! Outro: So, that's all for today's lesson. Hopefully I blew your mind with my one chord turns into eight chords speech above. And if you thought that was crazy, just wait until we get to part 3... Did You Like This Lesson? Check Out All My Lessons Here. More Lessons Coming Soon!

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Zeppelin Addict
    great job, including the table at the end with your 8 chords was a great idea as well.. you left yourself in great shape to write another lesson involving extended harmonies (9's, 11's, 13's even) if you wanted to as they all progress from the original triads like your 7ths
    CPDmusic
    Zeppelin Addict wrote: you left yourself in great shape to write another lesson involving extended harmonies (9's, 11's, 13's even)
    You read my mind good sir! I actually already have it started
    duck1992
    But, a chord like E C G Bb would not be, as the root note is note C. It would still be chord, just not a C7 chord.
    That's still a C7 chord, just in first inversion. Analyzing that chord with E as the root would get kind of jazzy... lol. As in Edim(b13). It would be much easier to analyze it as a C7 chord in an inversion, especially because it still sounds like a C7. I dont mean to be a theory freak but there's bound to be some less experienced guy who comes in here and sees that, and then sees a C7 in first inversion and has no idea what to do with it... Otherwise, great lesson!
    Ultima2876
    We all know by now how to build the chords, there's a lot of info on that. I want to know where to use them! I want to know how to build interesting chord progressions!
    L2112Lif
    You're wrong about needing the root to be the name of the chord... Its called chord inversion, and is used extensively in classical music to achieve proper voice leading in pieces. Similar to standard inversions, sevenths with inversions can have a deeper, fuller sound, because throwing that chord tone on a string you're not playing makes it have a deeper, fuller sound. Take a C Major chord; its only played on the first five frets in the open position. Now, take G (Which is a chord tone of C) and throw it on the sixth string, third fret. Deeper sounding C chord, because you're adding that extra string and extra tone!
    vIsIbleNoIsE
    L2112Lif wrote: You're wrong about needing the root to be the name of the chord... Its called chord inversion, and is used extensively in classical music to achieve proper voice leading in pieces. Similar to standard inversions, sevenths with inversions can have a deeper, fuller sound, because throwing that chord tone on a string you're not playing makes it have a deeper, fuller sound. Take a C Major chord; its only played on the first five frets in the open position. Now, take G (Which is a chord tone of C) and throw it on the sixth string, third fret. Deeper sounding C chord, because you're adding that extra string and extra tone!
    root refers to the lowest note of the uninverted form of the chord in question, so it will always be the name for the chord. but this is just semantics.
    limegut
    I highly suggest explaining the adding of thirds (to get to 5, 7, 9, etc.), generic thirds (key sig relations), diatonics, inversions, half-dim 7s, suspensions, and adding intervals. You really are doing great on these lessons and I hope to see many more.
    SilverSpurs616
    limegut wrote: I highly suggest explaining the adding of thirds (to get to 5, 7, 9, etc.), generic thirds (key sig relations), diatonics, inversions, half-dim 7s, suspensions, and adding intervals. You really are doing great on these lessons and I hope to see many more.
    I think he's doing well by not flooding us with too much information at once. But I'd like to see this stuff too ^_^
    CPDmusic
    The next of this series is going to be on chords with compound intervals (ninth, eleventh, etc.) as well as the difference between chords like C9 and Cadd9, which will explain the adding of thirds that limegut wants, if I understood him correctly.
    SilverSpurs616
    CPDmusic wrote: The next of this series is going to be on chords with compound intervals (ninth, eleventh, etc.) as well as the difference between chords like C9 and Cadd9, which will explain the adding of thirds that limegut wants, if I understood him correctly.
    Yeah! I've been confused about the differences between a 9 and an Add9 for a long while :s looking foreward to the next article
    loaded_
    I'm finally getting this stuff. My old guitar teacher just told me to memorise chords (well that didn't work), but now I understand how you can construct chords. It all makes sense now..
    Rasel
    The Minor Major Seventh Chord: This is actually called the minor delta chord.
    slowlybilly
    He's right about the root note, and the only thing you might have added is that these can be played as moveable barre chords...there are some easy shapes you can learn, like that c7 you mentioned for a major seventh, and a minor seventh, as long as you keep your root on the top two strings....I use the barre sevent chords all the time, as I love the blues! But great info on the lesson, and good presentation...don't pay attention to the haters.