Skip to main content

7th Chords in Minor

Lesson 11 from: Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2: Minor Keys and More

J. Anthony Allen

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

11. 7th Chords in Minor

Next Lesson: 9ths and 13ths

Lesson Info

7th Chords in Minor

Okay, so in this next couple of lessons, we're gonna be talking about cord extensions. Um, so in the first class, we talked about seventh chords. Now, if you remember, let's do a quick little review of what? 1/7 chord Waas so means Zoom in here. Let's make a C major chord. Uh, okay, so Route 3rd 5th C major court sounds happy. Sounds cool. Now, the seventh was taking it one step further. So we did the route The third, the fifth on then the seventh, right? This would be the six. This would be the seventh. So now remember, there we looked at two different kinds of seventh chords, the major seventh chord. Which would be where this note the seventh is just normal as it appears in the key. It has this kind of pretty sound to it. Let's hear that a little bit longer. Okay? And then we had a dominant seventh chord where we took this down 1/2 step and that gives us the seventh chord. Um, that's used in a lot. I mean, e I don't want to say it's more common, but it's equally as common. Um, to do ...

this kind of 1/7 chord where we take the seventh down 1/2 step. This is called a dominant seventh chord. Has a little bit more of a distant sound. Um, now those same seventh chords exist in a minor key. So if we were on a C minor scale, that would be taking the third down 1/2 step. So to convert a major Sorry, a minor chord. So to convert a major chord to a minor chord, all you need to do is take the third of the cord and go down. If you want to convert this scale from major to minor, you need the third, the six and the seventh, right? But if it's just the cord, the triad Ah, then you take the third and go down because we don't have the sixth or the seventh in the key. If it's just the triad, right, cause the Triad is just the route the third and fifth, Um, so now, in a minor key, the this would be my seventh chord. It would be a minor triad with this flat seven. But this this seventh tone is not flat anymore because in a minor key, this is where it it Is it because remember, the seventh is down in a minor key. So this is the naturally occurring Ah, seventh chord in a minor key based on the route. So this is a C in the key of C minor. We get a C minor seven Ah, and typically, how we would write that would be like this. It we would do a see and then lower case m seven. That's how we write these out. So that's what this is. A C minor chord with 1/7 we also see written si seven. That's what we were on before. A C major chord with a flat seven. This is kind of shorthand. The flat is implied, which means the seventh is 1/2 step lower than it should be. We don't write this flat. We just write c seven, and it's implied that that's what we're doing. The first way that we looked at it was a C major chord with a major seventh, where the seventh was a be in our case, the one that occurs naturally in the scale and that we write as C major seventh. I mean the C major with a major seventh. It's kind of weird the way we've developed this shorthand, but that's just the way it works. Sometimes in like older music, it's not used as much anymore. But sometimes you'll see this symbol, a triangle that means seem major. Seven. This triangle just kind of developed for a while as a shorthand way of saying Major Seventh to use this triangle. But you don't see very much anymore. Um, okay, so in a minor key, we have ah C minor seven is what we're looking at here. So a C minor chord with 1/7 and this is the seventh that occurs naturally in the key. It happens to be minor seventh. Ah, let's hear. What of C minor chord with the seventh? Sounds like this is a C minor seven. It It's got kind of a pretty sound to it. It's it's used, I don't know. It's used all over the place for all kinds of different stuff. Um, and you will encounter these in, um, dance music songs. It's not uncommon to throw the seventh in to A to a court. Now the more of these extensions, the extensions air like the numbers after the more of them. You throw in and you can throw in more and more and more. You can go up higher. Go 7th 9th 13th and we'll look at those in the next lesson. But the more of those you add, the more kind of, and this is like a really, really general term. But the more kind of jazz it sounds. So if you want to sound really jazzy, you want to go up to, like the 13th. Have 1/13 in there That gets to sound like kind of jazz. Seventh is pretty common. We kind of expect that in a lot of stuff. And we'll look at some tunes with the seventh in, um, in the next analysis that we do. So this is a C minor seventh chord. Okay, so now that we've looked at the C minor seventh, let's just let's build another minor seventh chords. Just Teoh kind of reinforce this. Let's get rid of that. Let's say we're in the key of I don't know what's something we haven't worked in much yet about e minor. Okay, so I'm gonna make a e. I'll put that right there, cause first, I'm just gonna draw out the e minor scale. So remember our pattern. You're so sick of hearing me say this pattern at this point, but I'm going to keep saying it because you need to remember it. It's super crucially important. So it's half step. Whole step. Whole step half step. Oops, Whole step. I hope so. There is our e minor scale. Okay, All the notes of the E minor, the key of e minor. So now to build a chord on E minor, since it is the key of E minor, I'm gonna need the route. There's a second. There's the third. There's the fourth. There's the fifth. I need the root third and fifth. Now, if I want to go on step higher and add the seventh, this'll be the six. There's the seventh. So that is the e minor seventh chords. Now, what if I want to go through my diatonic chord progressions? Right? We know those so I could build a chord based on D our Sorry. Ah, the next note up the second scale degree of the court and F Sharp s. So let's put this over here. That's our one chord. So if I built a chord on f sharp. It's gonna be f sharp A c and then the seventh would be There's the six. There's the seventh, so it all works the same. Put that over there. Extend out a little bit. Now what kind of a core do we have here? We have f sharp A C. And if you remember the pattern of diatonic chord progressions, this is our diminished court. So this is the weird one that we don't really like. Um, so here we have a diminished seventh chord, which is even stranger than what we've looked at. This is going to sound really kind of. It's gonna have a fair amount of distance to it. Let's let that ring out a little bit more so we can really hear it. Uh, so it's ah less useful to us in any kind of dance music. But ah, it still has its place. Let's do one more. Let's do the third. So if I build Accord based on the third scale degree in E minor is gonna be G, there's a second. There's the third, the fourth. There's the fifth G b D. That makes a major chord because remember, from our pattern, it goes minor, diminished, major, etcetera. So this is gonna be a G major chord. Now, if I want to add the seventh, here's the sixth, and then I have to circle around again. So e is e f sharp is the next note. So I have to go up the f sharp. That's going to be the seventh. And now I have a major chord. Oops. I don't want that in there right now. I have a major chord with 1/7 on it. So this ends up being a major seventh. The the natural, um, seventh that occurs, the kind of really pretty one. Oops. We always use the word pretty to describe this court. So, um, that's the one that occurs naturally in, um, the minor scale on the third scale degree. Okay, so ah, seventh chords still apply in the same way as they did when we talked about seventh chords a while ago. We just go up one more step and we get to seven chord and you'll end up with minor seventh chords are Sometimes you'll end up with major seventh chords. Um, which is the same actually, is how it worked when we looked at seventh chords. Initially, there are a couple of minor seventh chords, a couple of major seven chords. And there's that one dominant seventh chord. That's the one with the flatted seventh that occurs naturally in the key. Um, more on that soon. Ah, Next we're gonna talk about some more extensions if you want to add more notes to the cord in the next lesson. Hey, guys, just another little add on to that last lesson. Um, after reviewing it, I thought I knew I shouldn't. I should explain this one little thing a little bit better. Um, So what I want to explain is that just like we have the diatonic chord progression that in a major key or well in in a major or a minor key alternates between major chords and minor chords. Um, for what naturally occurs in the key the seventh quarter through the same thing. Whether or not we get that major seventh or that minor seventh, those are just kind of dependent on the key. Which one we get, Right. So let me demonstrate that really quick. Um, here I have the diatonic chord progression in e minor. So all the cords, any minor and the pattern is minor, diminished major, minor, minor, major, major and then minor. I put in parentheses here because it's a e again. So these two chords are the same. They're both in e minor chord. I just repeated it again at the end. So, um, this is just our normal core progression. Built out of thirds in the key of e minor when we get the pattern totally what we would expect. Let's hear that really quick just to get it in our heads. Uh, Oops. OK, now let's look at the seventh, Okay? Now we're looking at all of the cords. Diatonic chord progression just as normal. But I've added the seventh for each chord. And so what we get is the first chord ends up being a minor seventh chords. So that was the normal. What we would expect. So this is a C minor seven. I'm gonna tell you in a minute. By the end of this section of it, I'm going to show you why I care about how we write these because I want you to be able to spot them. If you're doing a project when someone hands you a sheet of courts, which is more common than you would think, especially for remixes. Um, okay, so our 2nd 1 is a diminished seventh. So that's our diminished chord with the seventh. Our 3rd 1 is a major seventh. That's the pretty one that happens here on our third chord. The 4th 1 is a minor seventh again like the 1st Our fifth court is a minor seventh again like the 1st 1 Our sixth is a major seventh again, the pretty one. Our seventh is the weird one that is gonna be that dominant seventh. So it's a major chord with a minor seven. So it's got that flatted seventh. But it's not flatted technically, because in key, it is already flatted in this key. If we build a court on the seventh scale degree, it gives us this, uh, it gives us essentially a D seven chord, which members a shorthand of saying it's got It's not that major pretty sound. It's got that slight dissonance to it, and then we start over again. Here we have a minor seventh on E again. So let's hear this one and then we'll hear him back to back. Okay, Now, let's hear. Let's hear these back to back. So I'm gonna drag all these over. So listen, for the way these chords sound just the triads as different from from the Triads with the seventh in them. So these will sound. They'll still sound all in key. Nothing will strike you as like, Wow, that sounds totally out of key. But, um, the cords are a little bit thicker, right? Cause they've got four notes as opposed to three to hear the triads and then the seventh, the seventh. So sometimes we use the word color, and we say that these cords have a little bit more color to them. Because of the seventh note, it gives them a little more. You know, it gives them this extra kind of like prettiness in the major seventh chords. Because, um, it's a little bit darker tinge on the minor seventh chords. Just the seventh in these cases. Just kind of emphasized authority there. So the major chords are even more major. They have this like, super like prettiness to them. I guess I got stuff thing pretty. Um, the minor chords are a little bit darker yet. So So the pattern of major and minor seventh alternates in the same way that the cord alternates. Ah, you don't need to remember the pattern. I wouldn't say the way I'm like forcing the alternation of major and minor chords in the diatonic chord progressions enforcing to remember that by saying it over and over. Um, I wouldn't worry about memorizing the seventh chords because they just sort of happened, and you know how to figure them out. So don't clutter your brain with memorizing yet another pattern. Uhm but just know how to find them when you need a that's all.

Ratings and Reviews


Well, I slobbered all over you after your first class and this one is as good or better. I realize people don't go to college for 12 years and learn what you shared in a few hours and you didn't earn your doctorate with just this stuff. I mean Julliard must offer a lot more, but you have advanced my knowledge by miles and I've got to say thank you. Make some more of these simple, common talk courses - I'll buy them all.

Ben Küstner

Real Great Course. I learned a lot about Music Theory and now am jamming better than ever on my keyboard. Thanks Allen

Nick van Lochem

This course its so good he makes it al sound so easy. that ists easy to remember and use in your creations.

Student Work