7th ChordsBack to courses
A fundamental understanding of triad chords gives us a solid base, but as we expand the chord harmony we enter into a new world of sounds, many of which define certain genres of music! In this course, we learn how minor 7th, major 7th and dominant 7th chords are constructed, as well as get a deeper understanding of chord construction in general. If you love jazz, blues and funk music then this course will help you take a massive leap in understanding those genres.
7th chords are our first step into the world of 4 note chords. Up to now, we have been dealing with 3 note chords which we have called the triads. It's important to realise at this stage that we are building the 7th chords based on the triad chords, so we're not having to remember 3 totally new chord formulas! They are very much based on either the major or minor triad chord, plus an extra note. Our first task, therefore, is to get our scale ready. We will be dealing with the A major scale in this series of videos, so here it is:
Whenever you are studying major type chords, the chord construction is pretty simple. In the case of a major 7th chord, you simply take your major triad (1st, 3rd, 5th) and add the 7th. It is the addition of the 7th that changes the vibe of the chord from a poppy, bouncy, happy sound to a more relaxed sounding chord. Here is the formula applied to A major:
To put this into practice on the guitar, in the fretboard diagrams are two common A major 7th shapes. Notice the notes you are playing and try to call each one out in theoretical terms (i.e. the 1st, 5th etc...)
For a minor 7th chord, you simply take the minor triad (1st, b3rd, 5th) and add the b7th. It is the addition of the b7th that changes the vibe of the chord from a dark, quite intense sound to a more relaxed sounding chord. The b7th comes directly from the minor scale where you flatten the 3rd, 6th and 7th (check out The Essentials course if you didn't know that!) Here is the minor 7th formula applied to A:
To put this into practice on the guitar, in the fretboard diagrams are two common A minor 7th shapes. Notice the notes you are playing and try to call each one out in theoretical terms (i.e. the 1st, 5th etc...)
Dominant 7th chords are created by taking the major triad (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the b7th from the minor scale. This combination gives the chord a unique quality that feels a little unresolved. The combination also creates a whole new family of chords (dominant family), that can then be built upon. The unresolved quality of the chord is why it is so popular in genres such as blues and jazz, as they rely upon creating and resolving musical tension. Here is the dominant 7th formula applied to A:
To put this into practice on the guitar, in the fretboard diagrams are two common A dominant 7th shapes. Notice the notes you are playing and try to call each one out in theoretical terms (i.e. the 1st, 5th etc...)
To get the most out of this video, grab a pen and paper and try to actually work out the chords Dan is asking you on the video. If you would like more of a challenge, then try the following:
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