How to Use Seventh Chords

Add seventh chords to your repertoire for added color and functionality in your progressions, but before diving in it’s essential to review fundamental major and minor chords as well as intervals first.

Through these techniques, it becomes clear how seventh chords are constructed by stacking thirds atop of a root note and placing sevenths over it. The type of seventh you use determines what kind of seventh chord will result.


Integrating seventh intervals into a regular scale creates chords with distinct feelings and functionality from those created using triads alone. These chords, known as seventh chords, range from major to minor to diminished. We will first examine major seventh chords.

To play a major seventh chord, begin with one of the four triads and add an eighth note that’s seventieth above its root note. When drawn on a staff, this form resembles an extra-long snowman with top, middle, and two bottom halves.

Major seventh chords can be found across many musical genres, from rock and R & B to jazz. Their unique qualities give music an emotional and complex soundscape; these chords also help add drama and tension – think scary movie villains or romantic ballads!


Chords are groups of scale notes played together. A major or minor triad contains the first, third, fifth, and seventh notes in any scale; adding in an eighth note adds even more color and function to this chord, providing it with additional functions and colors that bridge it to whatever chord comes after it.

This chord exudes melancholy and is composed of a diminished triad with a minor seventh stacked on top. Also referred to as min75 or shorthand m75 due to its flatted fifth interval in its construction.

This chord is seldom heard in contemporary pop or singer/songwriter music, but is an integral component of jazz, particularly funk. It is slightly beefier than its major seventh counterpart and offers great harmonic support through triad-like harmonic progressions; additionally it’s ideal for building tension before transitioning into dominant or half diminished seventh chords; for instance in funk tunes this could involve starting on an Ebmaj7, moving into an Fmaj7 before concluding with a Cmaj7 chord as part of a typical progression – just look out for Cmaj7 chord!


Dominant seventh chords bring plenty of flavor and tension to any song, whether you prefer rock, blues or pop. Constructed using major triads with an altered flattened seventh note half step below full seven of scale; typically known as I7, major 7 or D7 chords in sheet music or lead sheets.

Dominant seventh chords can add tension to a progression before returning back to its tonic, due to their seventh tone acting as a leading tone and wanting to resolve up toward it.

You might come across dominant seventh chords with an 11 interval on top (such as C7b13), also known as 7(b13) or 7alt chords. These chords function just like regular dominant 7th chords but may seem more complicated!


Seventh chords add depth, emotion and complexity to any triad, making them popular choices in jazz, R&B, blues and many pop chord progressions.

7th chords differ from regular major and minor triads in that they contain an interval a seventh above their root note. This can produce dissonance and tension within music; therefore it is vitally important that musicians understand how these chords work and how best to resolve them when performing live or recording music.

Diminished sevenths are an exciting form of seventh chord. Made up of a minor third and an added diminished seventh, these can add tension and drama to a song’s melody and arrangement.

Fully diminished seventh chords are an easy and powerful way to add depth and emotion to a song, often found in rock or funk music. Composed from major triads with diminished sevenths stacked on top, you’ll often hear these chords in these genres.