Music Theory – Piano Chords #2

C Diminished 7th

Last time we learned about Building Chords.  The chords we learned were: Major, Minor, Augmented, & Diminished.  Hopefully you’ve been practicing these and have them down well now because the chords we’re going to learn today are the same chords, there’s just an extra note tacked onto the end of them. The extension note to these chords are called a 7th.  There are 5 common types of seventh chords: Major 7th, Minor 7th, Dominant 7th, Diminished 7th, & Half-Diminished 7th.  Seventh chords make any chord sound jazzy and sophisticated.  A seventh is exactly what it is called in a chord.  You have your Root, your 3rd, your 5th, and now tacked on after, your 7th.

 

So where does this extra note go in said chord?  Well that depends what kind of chord your playing.  Usually when playing a 7th, you don’t play the 5th.  That’s because it makes it sound a little muddy and you don’t get as rich of a sound.  To get around that, you spread the chord out across the piano but for today’s purposes we’re going to just remove the 5th for now.  In a later lesson, I’ll explain how to spread chords out.

 

Music Theory Lessons

Building a 7th Chord

 

Piano Chord BuildThe five most common seventh chords are:

 

  • R  4  7  10  –  Dominant 7th
  • R  4  7  11  –  Major 7th
  • R  3  7  10  –  Minor 7th
  • R  3  6  10  –  Half-Diminished 7th
  • R  3  6   9   –  Diminished 7th

 

Dominant 7th

C Dominant 7th Chorddominant seventh chord, or major-minor seventh chord, can often be seen labeled as: C7.  This is your regular 7th Chord and will turn any chord into a jazzy sounding chord.  It’s foundation is a Major chord build with a Minor on top.  Whenever you play this chord, it makes the song want to move up a forth.  (e.g. If your on C, you move to F; If your on A, you move to D.)  If the chord sounds a little muddy, remove it’s 5th and play:  R 4 10

 

 

Major 7th

C Major 7thmajor seventh chord, or major-major seventh chord, can often be seen labeled as: CM7, CMaj7.  This seventh chord has a very mellow sound and feel to it.  It’s foundation is a Major chord build with a Major on top.  If the chord sounds a little muddy, remove it’s 5th and play:  R 4 11

 

 

Minor 7th

C Minor 7thminor seventh chord, or minor-minor seventh chord, can often be seen labeled as: Cm7.  This seventh chord has a calming and nostalgic sound.  It’s foundation is a Minor chord build with a Minor on top.  If the chord sounds a little muddy, remove it’s 5th and play:  R 3 10

 

 

Half-Diminished 7th

C Half-Diminished 7thhalf-diminished seventh chord, or diminshed-minor seventh chord, or minor seventh flat five, can often be seen labeled as: Cø7, Cm7(♭5).  It’s foundation is a Diminished chord build with a Minor on top.  This chord is found quite often in Jazz music.  My knowledge on its uses in jazz and in general, needs more research before I post more.  I will update this post as soon as I gather enough.

 

 

Diminished 7th

C Diminished 7thdiminished seventh chord, or diminshed-diminshed seventh chord, can often be seen labeled as: C°7, Cdim7.  It’s foundation is a Diminished chord build with a Diminished on top.  This chord is found quite often in Jazz music.  My knowledge on its uses in jazz and in general, needs more research before I post more.  I will update this post as soon as I gather enough.

 
 

Remember to always practice. Experiment and see what you can find. See ya next week!

One thought on “Music Theory – Piano Chords #2

  1. Hi Marc,

    I just came across your site. It is really great that you are making lessons on chord building. However, I have to ask you for a tiny correction: a C7 chord is not CEGA# but CEGBb, similarly the cm7 is not CD#GA# but CEbGBb and so on. Might sound captious but it isnt. On the one hand the correct notation represents the logic of building the chords of notes which are two steps above the previous one, on the other hand the chord would look jammed and difficult to read in a score if noted CD#GA# but it is very easy to read and interpret once it is written like CEbGBb.
    Great job anyways. All the best

    Szilard

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