30: 7th Chords
Get New Lessons
Lesson 30: 7th ChordsThis lesson teaches 7th chords, an important set of chord types used in many songs.
Before taking this lesson, you should know:
You already know that a triad is a 3-note chord; the 3 notes in a triad are called the root, the 3rd, and the 5th. 7th chords have an additional note, called the "7th". So, the notes in a 7th chord are called:
Root 3rd 5th 7th
The 3rd, 5th, and/or 7th can all be raised or lowered by a half-step or two to make many different types of 7th chords. In this lesson, we'll just learn the 3 most common 7th-chord types:
Let's start with the major-7th chord; it's not the most common 7th chord, but it's the easiest one to explain first. The major-7th chord consists of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of a major scale. Symbolically, its formula is:
Major 7th chord: 1 3 5 7 (degrees of a major scale)
Next, we have the dominant-7th chord, which is actually the most common 7th chord. The dominant-7th chord is just like the major-7th chord, except you lower the 7th a half-step. Thus, its formula is:
Dominant 7th chord: 1 3 5 ♭7
Finally, the formula for the minor-7th chord is:
Minor 7th chord: 1 ♭3 5 ♭7
Putting it all together, the formulas for these 3 chord types are:
Here are reference tables for the notes in these chords:
When you understand how to construct these 7th chords, go on to Lesson 31: 7ths Games to practice and test yourself.