Before we begin, let’s review:
Previously, we have talked about triads, which are chords comprised of three different pitches, with the notes (from lowest to highest) are a third apart from each other.
If we add another third on top of the triads, we get a seventh-chord, which is a chord comprised of four different pitches with the notes (from lowest to highest) are a third apart from each other and span a distance of a seventh.
The alteration of a triad to a seventh-chord will look like as such:
Now, just like triads, seventh-chords have different names depending on the intervals between each chord member. However, if you can identify the triad the seventh-chord is built from as well as the extra interval above it – you will be more comfortable with identifying triads.
Let’s take a look:
- Augmented Seventh = Augmented Triad + M7 above root
- Major Seventh = Major Triad + M7 above root
- Dominant Seventh = Major Triad +m7 above root
- Minor Seventh = Minor Triad + m7 above root
- Half-Diminished Seventh = Diminished Triad + m7 above root
- Fully-Diminished Seventh = Diminished Triad + d7 above root
This is how they would look (with the third of the chord placed an octave above):
Another way of being able to distinguish between the different seventh-chords is through this diagram:
In comparison to the Major Seventh chord (which we will call “home base” due to its lack of alterations), all the other seventh chords have a pitch raised or lowered.
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