Five Types of Seventh Chords on Piano

Seventh chords can add tension and depth to piano songs. There are five popular types of seventh chords.

Diatonic chords can be composed using only notes found within one scale or key signature, making them readily adaptable for construction.

The major seventh is an integral component of many styles of music. Its distinct guitar shape can easily be moved around the fretboard to suit any key.

Major Seventh

A major seventh is a four-note chord that adds a note that’s five intervals above the root note of its triadic structure. It is widely used in jazz and Latin music and gives an impressive, dramatic sound to piano playing.

Dissonant chords can be very appealing if used appropriately; particularly jazz and Romantic-era piano pieces.

Major seventh chords are usually represented with the chord symbol “maj7”, though some musicians may use lowercase m for minor or even a triangle that makes reading it difficult. You might also encounter this chord written as a major seventh with a dot above 7. You will often encounter this chord accompanied by its inversions: Maj7(3)(5) or even inversions such as G# (viio65(G#)(7) and B (viio43(B)(7) in sheet music. Memorizing these qualities can be very helpful since their qualities don’t change between keys so memorizing can come in handy!

Dominant Seventh

A dominant seventh chord is a four-note chord consisting of both a major triad and an interval of a tritone, creating a powerful sound and tension in music. This chord can be found across many genres of piano music but is most frequently associated with blues music.

To play a dominant seventh chord, all that’s necessary to create it is adding an F note with major seventh interval above its root chord – in other words if playing C major this would mean adding F to create Cmaj7 chord.

When seeing dominant seventh chords written on sheet music or lead sheets, the number 7 will usually appear beside their chord symbol. This indicates their use in an ascending progression that resolves to a tonic chord through what’s known as common tone modulation – although the key of each chord doesn’t need to be identical with its tonic chord, as is often the case.

Minor Seventh

Minor seventh chords are four-note chords that can be divided into thirds and composed of the root, flat-3rd, flat-5th and flat-7th notes. They add depth and emotion to any song – they are particularly popular among genres such as Jazz, R & B and Blues.

A seventh chord’s quality is determined by its notes (i.e. the third, fifth and seventh intervals). This determines if it should be classified as major, minor or dominant and it is important that every key knows this information so you can memorize them quickly.

This chord has a dreamy, romantic sound often heard in love songs like Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”. Additionally, its warm sound often appears in jazz music and other contemporary styles that require it. Like most other seventh chords, its resolution typically involves falling-fifth root motion.

Half-Diminished Seventh

This chord may be less commonly employed, but still important to know how to play. A dim7(b5) chord consists of a diminished chord with a flat seventh note added – it’s sometimes known as dim7 or dim7(b5)

The diminished chord is composed of thirds, just like its major and minor triad counterparts. It consists of a minor third stacked on a diminished fifth with a dominant seventh as its top note.

Sometimes known as dm7(b5), its actual music notation is: m3 b5 m7.

Diminished seventh chords can serve both dominant and subdominant functions, in both triad and dominant scale patterns. Their most frequent application in minor keys is as the II chord: when used this way they typically resolve to a minor tonic while when used as the V chord they often lead to an dominant tonic chord progression.