Piano Quickie 6: 7th Chords Explained

========= Description =========
In the sixth installment of the Piano Quickie series I’ll explain how to construct all types of 7th chords on the piano. The eight types of 7th chords will be discussed are: major, minor, dominant, diminished, half-diminished, augmented, augmented-major7, minor-major7. For the full Piano Quickie playlist, click here:

To follow the current lesson properly you will need to know how to construct the major scale on any note. If you’re not sure or need a refresher, check out Piano Quickie 4, which has a brief yet lucid explanation:

You’d probably also want to review the construction of triads if you haven’t done so already. Triads are the simplest form of chords, having only three notes, and they are discussed in the previous piano quickie tutorial:

The Piano Quickie series is aimed at beginning musicians who want to get a grasp of the fundamental points of music theory: notes, intervals, chords, chord inversions, scales and so forth. Made of short but richly illustrated piano lessons and tutorials, this series is ideal for teaching the basics of piano theory and playing without becoming overwhelming on the one hand, or too slow and boring on the other.

========= What is a 7th Chords? ==========

A 7th chord is any chord that contains the 7th degree of the major scale or any variant of that degree (lower 7th, sharp 7th, doubly-lowered 7th and so forth).

========= How to construct 7th Chords? =========

Suppose you want to construct all the eight possible types of 7th chords based on G. Follow these steps:
1. Locate G on the piano.
2. Construct the G major scale: G A B C D E F# G
3. Number the noters on the scale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
4. Then:
– To construct G major 7th, play: 1, 3, 5, 7 = G B D F#
– To construct G dominant 7th, play: 1, 3, 5, 7b = G B D F
– To construct G minor 7th, play: 1, b3, 5, b7 = G Bb D F
– To construct G augmented 7th, play: 1, 3, #5, b7 = G B D# F
– To construct G diminished 7th, play: 1, b3, b5, bb7 = G Bb Db E
– To construct G half-diminished, play: 1, b3, b5, b7 = G Bb Db F
– To construct G augmented major-7th, play: 1 3 #5 7 = G B D# F#
– To construct G minor major-7th, play: 1 b3 5 7 = G Bb D F#
Note that “b3” means “flattened 3rd” or “lowered 3rd”, which means lowering the 3rd by one semitone. For the G major scale, this means playing Bb instead of B. Similarly, #5 means “sharp 5” or “raised 5”. For the G major scale, this means playing D# instead of D.
There are also “modifiers” that can appear each chord’s name. For example, the sus2 modifier means “don’t play the 3rd degree (whatever it may be – sharp, flat or regular) – play the 2nd degree instead.” The sus4 modifier means the same thing, and replaces the 3rd degree with the 4th degree. For example:
– To play G7, play: 1 3 5 7 = G B D F
– To play G7sus2, play: 1 2 5 7 = G A D F
– To play G7sus4, play: 1 4 5 7 = G C D F

========= Other Related Videos and Playlists =========

Here are other interesting playlists from my channel which group together my different piano lessons by theme/category:

Reading Sheet Music for Beginners: a 4-Part Series

Inspiring Piano Harmony, Chord and Voicing Tips and Tricks:

Exercises for Developing Piano Technique

The 2-5-1 Harmonic Progression: a 4-Part Series

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