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Seventh chord

7th chords with 4 notes, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversions

This page shows an overview of the structure of a 7th chord, including the note intervals used to define it.

7th chord definition and construction

Seventh chords contain 4 notes played together, or overlapping.

Like triad chords shown in Triad chord, seventh chords have different qualities as shown in the last column of the table below.

Seventh chords are built on triad chord qualities, but with an extra note, whose name is based on the 7th note of the major scale.

Seventh chord note interval qualities
Based on triad..2nd note quality3rd note quality4th note quality7th chord quality
diminishedminor (m3)diminished (d5)diminished (d7)diminished o
diminishedminor (m3)diminished (d5)minor (m7)½-diminished ø
minorminor (m3)perfect (P5)minor (m7)minor
minorminor (m3)perfect (P5)major (M7)minor-major
majormajor (M3)perfect (P5)minor (m7)dominant
majormajor (M3)perfect (P5)major (M7)major
augmentedmajor (M3)augmented (A5)minor (m7)augmented +
augmentedmajor (M3)augmented (A5)major (M7)aug-major +
suspended 2ndmajor (M2)perfect (P5)major (M7)major susp. 2nd
suspended 4thperfect (P4)perfect (P5)minor (m7)dominant susp. 4th
suspended 4thperfect (P4)perfect (P5)major (M7)major susp. 4th

> An augmented chord is usually shown with a plus symbol:   +

>A diminished chord is usually shown with a circle symbol without a line through it:    o

>A half-diminished chord is usually shown with a circle symbol with a line through it:    ø

E-flat diminished 7th chord intervals

The piano diagram above shows the Eb dim 7 chord which is the same as the triad chord shown in the triad section above, except that it has one extra note, defined using the Eb-dim-7th note interval as shown in the first row of the table above.

7th chord inversions

7th chord inversions work in the same way as triad inversions explained in Triad chord, except since there is one more note in the chord, there is one extra inversion that can be done.

Using the 7th chord above, the root position 7th chord has Eb as the first note.

For the 1st inversion, this note is moved to the end leaving note Gb as the first note.

For the 2nd inversion, Gb from the 1st inversion is moved to the end leaving note Bbb as the first note.

For the 3rd inversion, Bbb from the 2nd inversion is moved to the end leaving note Dbb as the first note.

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