Seventh Chords and 2-5-1 Chord Progression

• See lessons on Major Scale, Triads, Diatonic Chords, Intervals (in Beginning and Intermediate sections), before watching this lesson.

• Also discusses close and open chord voicing.

• Click the tabs below to switch between Instruction and Play-along videos. Click on the video to pause it before switching to the other video.

  • Part One
  • Part Two

Points to Remember:

• Triads are 3-note chords; seventh chords add one more note (4 notes).

• There are 3 main kinds of 7th chords: Major 7, Minor 7 and Dominant 7.

• There are 2 kinds of 3rds (major and minor), and 2 kinds of 7ths (major 7 and flat 7). Major 3rds makes a chord 'bright/happy;' minor 3rds are 'dark/sad.' Major 7s are 'pretty;' flat 7s are 'bluesy/funky.'

• The 3rd and 7th are the 2 most important notes in the chord. They give it its essential character.

• Diatonic 7th chords:

Maj7 min7 min7 Maj7 Dom7 min7 min7(b5)


I 7 ii7 iii7 IV7 V7 vi7 viiØ7
( Ø = half diminished )

• Close voicings (1-3-5-7), are very easy to play on piano, but difficult-to-impossible on guitar.

• Major 7 chord gets its name because it has the 7 from a major scale.

• Dominant 7 chord (V7 chord) gets its name because, besides the tonic (I chord), it's the most important/strongest. It gravitates strongly back to the tonic chord.

• 2-5-1 chord progressions are common in music and contain one of each 'chord family' (my term).

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