Ten Chords every Pianist must know and how to build them – Lesson 2
Ten Chords you must know and how to build them
Hey, guys. Welcome to PlayThePianos. This time we will be having a bit of summary, though the resources might be enough to keep you moving. I will try to keep it easy and understandable.
Here, we would be talking about chords; we will talk about ten different types of chords that should be known and they also help in forming the foundation and also, having the knowledge of these chords, can make you confidently play in public. And note, this is the second and last part of the lesson.
This post will just be a ‘detailed summary’, but ensure to go back to the main post and read more about the chords individually. This would give you a fuller value of these chords. So, without wasting any time, let of dive in…
As mentioned earlier, this is the second section and also the last section of this topic. In the first section, we were able to learn intensely about the following chords:
- Major chords
- Minor chords
- Diminished chords
- Augmented chords
- Sus2 chords
- Sus4 chords
Altogether, we’ve successfully covered the six most basic types of chords that keyboardists or pianists MUST first of all learn.
Also, in the previous lesson, we brushed through the concept of chords. By saying the word ‘Chord’, we mean three or more notes played in harmony; and from there we also learnt that there are many types of chords in music, but the most basic types are the major and minor chords. Fortunately, we covered four other types of chords together with the Major and Minor chords. That brings us to today’s topic, because the topic says ten, not six. I would try all I can to make this post interesting. So, let us continue.
Now, we are moving into special types of chords called the Seventh Chords. At this moment, you must be curious to know all about this; but don’t worry, you would get all you need to know. Just read this patiently and share. These are ten chords every pianist must know – part 2.
The Concept of Seventh Chords
What does a seventh chord mean? What is so special about this chord and the name? Why is it a seventh chord? Well, today is only going to be about the seventh chords. Fortunately for you, most of your questions would be answered. Be sure to check each type in full.
Don’t forget that in Music, we can name notes and chords with the Alphabets, Tonic Solfas and Numbers. Many people prefer using the number method because it is easy to understand. For example, using the three methods, we can name the notes in-between C and B thus:
Using the Alphabet System
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
Using the Tonic Solfa System
do di re ri mi fa fi so si la li ti do (In Ascending order), and
do ti te la le so se fa fe mi me re ra do(In descending order)
Using the Number System
1 #1(b2) 2 #2(b3) 3 4 #4(b5) 5 #5(b6) 6 #6(b7) 7.
Note: The numbers in the brackets are the same with those that are not in the bracket, but are close to them. What I mean is, ‘b2’ in the bracket can also be called #1 and vice versa . Also, #6 can also be called b7 and vice versa. The same applies to other notes in the brackets and their corresponding ‘outsiders’.
Also, it is expedient to note that the sign, #, means Sharp, and it means to raise a note by a semitone(a note higher), while the ‘b‘ before the numbers means flat is a decrease a note by a semitone(a note lower). To sharpen a note(e.g C) means that we would raise C by a half step to give us C#(C sharp), while to flatten a note(e.g D) means to reduce it by a half step to give Db(D flat).
Therefore, by using the number system to name our notes, we can easily name notes and chords. Back to the seventh chords….
A seventh chord is any chord that has the seventh note of the scale in the key as its last note. That is the simplest definition of a seventh chord. So basically, a seventh chord is made by the addition of the seventh note of the major or minor scale to a basic major or minor triad.
From our past lessons, we could discover that the basic three-note chords known as Triads, contain three notes as the name implies, but moving a little bit longer and extending this three notes to the seventh degree, we would get a Seventh chord. Seventh chords are used a lot in jazz and many other genres. This brings us the the first type of seventh chords particularly, and the seventh type of chord generally.
7. Major Seventh Chord
As the name implies, the major seventh chords is a chord gotten from the major chords. Therefore, they are an extension of the major seventh chords. Since we know that the formula for constructing a major chord is 1 3 5, therefore the formula for constructing a major seventh chord is 1 3 5 7. Don’t forget this! The added note is gotten from the seventh degree of the major scale, since it is a major chord, and the note in solfa is ‘Ti’. Some people call the chord, d m s t.
It is called a major seventh chord because the interval between the root and third note is a major third ,and also, the interval between the fifth and the seventh is also a major third. Also, the major seventh chord is denoted with M7; M in capital letter. In full, you should put the name of the key in front, eg, FM7, CM7, AM7(A major 7). If it looks confusing you could write it in full. For example: FMajor7. Examples of this chord is some keys are:C – C E G B (CM7)F – F A C E (FM7)C# – C# E# G# C (C#M7) Striking this chord gives a warmer feel than a basic major triad. Give it a shot! 😉
8. Minor Seventh Chord
The second type of seventh chord on the list is called the Minor chord. It is called a minor chord because the interval between the root and third is a minor third(as in a minor scale) and the interval between the fifth and the seventh is also a minor third.
This chord has some of its notes gotten from the minor scale. Therefore, the formula for constructing a minor seventh chords is: 1 b3 5 b7. By dividing a minor chord into two portions, we would have a minor chord on the left hand side and a major chord on the right hand side. Example: The minor chord of D is D F A C; by dividing this chord, we have: D F A and F A C. On the left hand is a minor chord(D minor) , while on the right hand is a Major Chord(F major). This is a good way to voice chords.
Also, this chord is denoted with m7. This time, the m would be a small letter, with the 7 at its back and the key at its front. Example, Fm7, C#m7, Gm7, Em7 etc
Examples of this chord on different keys are:
G – G Bb D F
A – A C E G
C – C Eb G Bb
Gb – Gb Bbb Db Fb
9. The Dominant 7th
Another distinct type of seventh chord is the dominant seventh chord. The dominant seventh chord is a very tense chord. It has a very strong tension that always wants to resolve to the root chord, and that is because it comprises of notes that strongly want to resolve(7 2 4). So, be careful anytime you want to use this chord! 🙂
On every major scale, the dominant seventh is found on the fifth degree(sol). Splitting a dominant seventh chords would give you: a major triad + a diminished triad. This chord is denoted with dom7 or ordinarily A7. Examples are: Adom7 or A7, Bdom7 or B7, Cdom7 or C7. In the fifth degree of the scale, it is represented by V7.
The formula for constructing the Dominant seventh chord is 1 3 5 b7. It means, this chord is formed from a major triad with the flat seven(Minor seventh) of the key.
Examples of this chord in some keys are:
G – G B D F
C – C E G Bb
Bb – Bb D F Ab
10. Diminished Seventh Chords
This is the last type of chord under this topic. Before I move on, I would like to say a very big thank you to you for being patient and sticking to this blog. 🙏
The diminished chord is divided into two: Half-diminished chord and Fully diminished chords. As the name implies, the diminished seventh chord is gotten from a triad with an added sixth. Diminished chords are unstable chords and always want to resolve like their triads.
Half Diminished chords
The half diminished chords are the partially diminished chords. They are not fully reduced.
The formula of constructing the half diminished chord is 1 b3 b5 b7. Some other people prefer it as Minor 7th flat five(m7b5).
Examples of this chord on some keys are:
B – B D F A
C# – C# E G B
D# – D# F# A C#
Fully Diminished chords
The fully diminished chords are identical to the half diminished chords: it is also derived from a basic diminished chord. Dividing this chord would give two diminished chords on both hands. It is for this reason that it is called a FULLY diminished chord. Copy?
To construct your fully diminished chord, follow this formula: 1 b3 b5 bb7. It is also known as diminished 7th flat 5(dim7thb5).
Surprisingly, we have only three diminished chords in Music; others are derived by simply inverting the three. 😉
Examples of this chord on some keys are:
C – C Eb Gb A
Db – Db Fb Abb Cbb
D – D F Ab Cb
So, that does it, guys. Thank you for your support. Don’t forget to check out the main posts. Don’t also forget to subscribe to stay updated with the latest posts and share this post with your friends. Cheers!!!