Seventh chords
Music Theory

Seventh chords

What chords are used for more interesting and complex song accompaniment?
Seventh chords

Chords consisting of four sounds that are (or can be) arranged in thirds are called seventh chords .

An interval is formed between the extreme sounds of the chordseventh, which is reflected in the name of the chord. Since the seventh can be major and minor, seventh chords are also divided into major and minor:

  • Large seventh chords . The interval between the extreme sounds of the chord: major seventh (5.5 tones);
  • Small (reduced) seventh chords . Interval between extreme sounds: small seventh (5 tones).

The bottom three sounds of a seventh chord make up a triad. Depending on the type of triad, seventh chords are:

  • Major (the lower three sounds form a major triad);
  • Minor (the lower three sounds form a minor triad);
  • Augmented seventh chord (lower three sounds form an augmented triad);
  • Semi -reduced (small introductory) and  reduced introductory seventh chords (the lower three sounds form a reduced triad). Small introductory and diminished differ in that in the small one there is a major third at the top, and in the reduced one – a small one, but in both the lower three sounds form a reduced triad.

Note that an enlarged seventh chord can only be a large one, and a small introductory (half-reduced) seventh chord can only be a small one.


The seventh chord is denoted by the number 7. The inversions of the seventh chord have their own names and designations, see below.

Seventh chords built on fret steps

A seventh chord can be built on any scale level. Depending on the degree on which it is built, the seventh chord may have its own name, for example:

  • Dominant seventh chord . This is a small major seventh chord built on the 5th degree of the mode. The most common type of seventh chord.
  • Small introductory seventh chord . A common name for a semidiminished seventh chord built on the 2nd degree of the fret or on the 7th degree (major only).
Seventh chord example

Here is an example of a seventh chord:

Grand major seventh chord

Figure 1. Major seventh chord.
The red bracket indicates the major triad, and the blue bracket indicates the major seventh.

Seventh chord inversions

The seventh chord has three appeals, which have their own names and designations:

  • First appeal : Quintsextachord , denoted 6/5 .
  • Second inversion: third quarter chord , denoted 4/3 .
  • Third invocation: second chord , denoted 2.
in detail

You can separately learn about each type of seventh chord in the relevant articles (see the links below, or the menu items on the left). Each article about seventh chords is supplied with a flash drive and drawings. 

Seventh chords

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This article aims to introduce you to seventh chords, to show what they are. Each type of seventh chord is a separate large topic, considered in separate articles.

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