The History of Seventh Chords

History of Seventh Chords: LadyDpiano
Dominant seventh chord on C: C 7 About this sound Play ( help · info ) . 7th: 1000 cents. See: flat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 It's been awhile since I've talked about seventh chords. You can read some earlier posts like, Another Seventh Chord, Most Common Variations On Seventh Chords and Play Diminished 7th and Half Diminished 7th Chords.

Here's some in-depth studies on the history of seventh chords:

Now that you know how to build a major chord, I want to introduce you to another type of chord.

Seventh Chords

Remember that a 3-toned chord is called a 'Triad.' Well, a 4-toned chord is called a 'Seventh.'

A seventh or dominant chord is built similar to a major triad. You see, a seventh chord is a major chord with an added 'minor third' interval on top. So, a major triad is a major third + perfect fifth.

A major third = 4 half steps or 2 whole steps.
A minor third = 3 half steps or 1 1/2 whole steps.

Seventh Chord = major third + perfect fifth + minor third


For example,  a C major chord is C-E-G. To create a C Seventh Chord (C7), add a minor third on top of the G note. To find it, remember...

from G to Ab is 1 half step
from G to A is 2 hal steps
from G to Bb is 3 half steps

Three half steps = Minor Third Interval.

By adding a Bb to a C major chord, you now have created a C7 chord.
C7 = C + E + G + Bb

Try playing seventh chords in all 12 keys! (C7, D7, E7, etc.)

This chord is one of the most utilized chords in jazz music. The added minor third creates the 'blues' feeling used in gospel hymns, blues, r & b, soul and more.

Secrets to playing piano by ear

This lesson is taken from the 300pg Piano By Ear Course

In the theory book, seventh chords are covered in depth. The lessons teach you how to play this chord in all 12 keys. You will learn scale degree names, major seventh chords, minor seventh chords, altered seventh chords and more.

If you're serious about playing jazz music by ear, get more information on the 300pg Piano By Ear Home Study Course

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"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

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