Harmonised Major Scale Seventh Chords

This section deals with four note chords derived from the major scale.  

With the triads, we took three alternate notes.  With seventh chords, we stack up one more third to give us a four note chord consisting of root, 3rd, 5th and 7th.

Again, using the C major scale.


To get the first seventh chord we take four alternate notes of the scale.  Again we are stacking up 3rd intervals.

I        C E G  B     Gives us a Cmajor 7.  The interval from C to E is a "major" third.  The interval from C to G is a perfect fifth.  From C to B we have a major seventh.

II       D F A C   Gives us D minor 7.  Minor 3rd and a perfect 5th with a flat 7.

III.      E G B D     E minor 7.  Minor 3rd and a perfect 5th with a flat 7.

IV       F A C E.   F major 7.  Major 3rd and a perfect 5th with a major 7.

V      G B D F     G7 (or G dominant 7) Major 3rd and a perfect 5th but with a flat 7.  The flat 7 giving a more bluesier sound than a major 7.

VI     A C E G      A minor 7.  Minor 3rd and a perfect 5th with a flat 7

VII     B D F A    B diminished.  Minor 3rd and a perfect 5th with a flat 7.  A fully diminished chord would have the 7th flattened by one more semi tone. 

Diatonic Seventh Chords

These are called diatonic seventh chords as they are all built from the major scale.

The order of diatonic triads should be memorised.

  • major 7
  • minor 7
  • minor 7
  • major 7
  • dominant 7
  • minor 7
  • minor 7 b5

The sounds of these chords should also be internalised.  The major 7 chord gives the sweetest sound then the dominant 7 is slightly darker followed by the minor 7 chord then the minor 7 b5 chord sounding the 'moodiest'.

Common chord progressions are made up of different combinations of these seventh chords.  The seventh chords are used more extensively in jazz, soul and funk music whereas pop and rock genres may tend to use more Triadic chords.

Different voicings and inversions can be found in the chord book.

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