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How to work out 7th chords on the piano

This tutorial is part two of: How to work our chords on the piano.

There are several types of 7th chord. The dominant 7th, often shown as C7, D7 etc. Another is the major 7th, often shown as CMaj7, DMaj7 etc. These chords are distinguished by their 'jazzy' feel. We will also cover the minor 7th chords here.

Working out a dominant 7th.

  1. Decide on the chord you want to play. In this example, we'll use C7.

  2. Play the notes of the major chord. Check the previous tutorial if you're not sure how to do this.

  3. Then count up three semitones to add the seventh note which should be Bb.

dominant-seventh


Working out a minor 7th.

This is exactly the same as the dominant 7th except you are using a minor chord.

minor-seventh


Working out a major 7th.

  1. Decide on the chord you want to play. In this example, we'll use CMaj7.

  2. Play the notes of the major chord.

  3. Then count up four semitones to add the seventh note which should be B.

major-seventh


Like with the usual major and minor chords, it is just a case of counting up 3 or 4 semitones.

  • 7th = major chord + 3.
  • Major 7th = major chord + 4.
  • Minor 7th = minor chord + 3.

Try out these patterns with other chords. You will find the work wherever you are on the keyboard.