Diatonic Seventh Chords (Music Theory Lesson)



Diatonic Seventh Chords (Music Theory Lesson)

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In addition to diatonic triads, every major and minor scale has seven diatonic seventh chords.

Let's examine the diatonic seventh chords of the C major scale.




First, construct the scale.




Next, stack three generic thirds on top of each note.




Finally, analyze the resulting seventh chords.




The first chord is C--E--G--B, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.




The second chord is D--F--A--C, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a minor seventh chord.




The third chord is E--G--B--D, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is also a minor seventh chord.




The fourth chord is F--A--C--E, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.




The fifth chord is G--B--D--F, a major triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a dominant seventh chord.




The sixth chord is A--C--E--G, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a minor seventh chord.




The seventh chord is B--D--F--A, a diminished triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a half-diminished seventh chord.




The eighth chord is a repetition of the first (C--E--G--B), making it a major seventh chord.The first seventh chord of a major scale will always be a major seventh, the second and third seventh chords will always be minor sevenths, etc.




Next, we will uncover the diatonic seventh chords of the C Natural Minor scale.




The first chord is C--Eb--G--Bb, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a minor seventh chord.




The second chord is D--F--Ab--C, a diminished triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a half-diminished seventh chord.




The third chord is Eb--G--Bb--D, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.




The fourth chord is F--Ab--C--Eb, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is minor seventh chord.




The fifth chord is G--Bb--D--F, a minor triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is also a minor seventh chord.




The sixth chord is Ab--C--Eb--G, a major triad and a major seventh. Therefore, it is a major seventh chord.




The seventh chord is Bb--D--F--Ab, a major triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a dominant seventh chord.




The eighth chord is a repetition of the first (C--Eb--G--Bb), making it a minor seventh chord.




Next, we will discuss the diatonic seventh chords of harmonic minor.




To convert natural minor to harmonic minor, the seventh tone is raised a half step. Therefore, each Bb (the seventh tone of C minor) is raised to a B.




Each chord which contained a Bb needs to be reanalyzed. The first chord is now C--Eb--G--B, a minor triad and an major seventh. Therefore, it is minor-major seventh chord.




The third chord is now Eb--G--B--D, an augmented triad and an major seventh. Therefore, it is augmented-major seventh chord.




The fifth chord is now G--B--D--F, a major triad and a minor seventh. Therefore, it is a dominant seventh chord.




The seventh chord is now B--D--F--Ab, a diminished triad and a diminished seventh. Therefore, it is a fully-diminished seventh chord.




The eighth chord is a repetition of the first (C--Eb--G--Bb), making it a minor-major seventh chord.




We will now discuss the analysis symbols for diatonic seventh chords.Recall the symbols for the harmonic minor diatonic triads.




We simply add a small seven to the top right corner of each roman numeral.




If the seventh chord is half diminished, a slash is placed through the circle.




Use this chart to reference the diatonic seventh chords in each scale.












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