Seventh chords can add depth and emotion to any chord progression, and are frequently found in jazz, R & B and blues music as well as pop songs.
Beginners might find them intimidating, but creating them is actually quite straightforward! Simply take a major triad and add a major seventh interval above it.
Major seventh chords are composed of three triads with the addition of the interval of a seventh above their roots, creating an extra wide soundscape. They can be found in many genres such as jazz, R&B and blues music and bring emotion and complexity to triads.
Building a major seventh chord requires two basic techniques. The first method involves stacking all of the thirds from a triad to form one giant major chord; while for an alternative method use building the major triad and then adding an extra major seventh note on top.
As it’s faster and less prone to error, I suggest learning the second method as it’s quicker and less likely to lead to mistakes. It uses techniques of matching fifths, using white key thirds as measuring devices, and measuring sevenths with seconds in order to build chords quickly and accurately. Once you master these techniques you will be able to construct any seventh chord you learn – as well as many of them that follow!
However, seventh intervals are inherently dissonant, creating tension-filled chords found across most styles of music. If you learn the technique of stacking triads on top of each other and matching fifths with seconds as measurers for thirds measurement then any seventh interval can be created quickly and effortlessly.
Minor 7th chords can be formed using two methods; either stacking minor triads and adding the seventh, or by lowering the third of a major 7th chord to create what is commonly referred to as minor 7 flat 5 chords.
Minor 7th flat 5 chords are essential to expanding the harmonic palette on piano, providing mood and texture in music of all genres. Their notation may appear complex, but actually it’s very straightforward – take any minor 7th chord and flatten its fifth note for instantaneous minor 7th flat 5. Using this same formula you can also produce other diminished seventh chords!
Seventh chords can be divided into two distinct categories based on their interval content: major seventh chords are comprised of a major triad with an extra major 7th interval above its root note, whereas dominant seventh chords differ and can often be found in dominant key songs like jazz standards such as “Autumn Leaves.”
To construct this chord, start with a major triad and add a minor seventh above its root note. Next, adjust its third and fifth notes depending on your key signature.
Flatted seventh chords are another popular variation on the dominant seventh. To create this chord, take an ordinary dominant 7th and lower the fifth by one half-step – this creates a darker sounding chord which works similarly to major seventh chords; Thelonius Monk was known to use them frequently when adding depth and dimension to his music.
This chord might appear complicated at first glance in music theory notation, but its construction is actually quite straightforward. To create it you simply take a minor 7th chord and flatten its fifth note (by one half step). Additionally it is known as “minor seven flat five”. Use this chord to add tension or dissonance to your progressions or as seen by Thelonius Monk himself when writing compositions!
Now you have an improved grasp on how seventh chords are constructed. Modifying the interval relationships among root, third, and seventh notes can alter their quality and create some fascinating musical situations – check out this Skoove tutorial of Wayne Shorter’s Fall to hear this process at work and then practice building these types of seventh chords into your own music; you won’t regret it! This is just scratching the surface when it comes to how seventh chords can enhance songs!