Major 7th, Minor 7th and Dominant 7th Arpeggios

composition 3 major minor dominant 7 a Reviews

In this lesson we’re going to take a look at the major 7th, minor 7th, and dominant 7th arpeggios. These arpeggios are very similar to the major and minor arpeggios, but with an added 7th interval.

Like the major and minor arpeggios, the 7th arpeggios can add a bit of color to your playing, particularly when playing over a I-IV-V blues progression. Introducing the 7th interval really pulls in that bluesy feel.

What are Seventh Chords?

There are varying definitions of “chord,” but it typically refers to a harmonic group of notes (at least two, but usually three or more) sounded together. A seventh is formed by two notes that have an interval of seven letter names between them (eg. A and G).

Put together, a “seventh chord” is chord composed of a triad and a note forming the interval of a seventh above the chord’s root (the lowest note). Here is an example:

Note that matter how the notes are sharpened or flattened, the chord shown above is still a seventh chord, although the type of seventh chord changes.

There are five main types of seventh chords, namely: major, minor, dominant, diminished, and half-diminished seventh chords. In this article, we focus on dominant and diminished seventh chords.

While the different types of seventh chords have their own uses, seventh chords have generally been used to create tension through dissonance, allowing the songwriter to emphasize movement through the need to resolve this tension. While seventh chords were mainly used as embellishments in the past, dissonance has become more mainstream in the 20th and 21st centuries, and seventh chords are also mainstays of certain genres such as jazz and metal, where dissonance is used to create funky and harsh sounds respectively.

What are Dominant and Diminished Seventh Chords?

Dominant and diminished seventh chords are common and important features of music. It’s hard to find a piece of music that doesn’t use either of these. In fact, they’re so prevalent that the higher grades of the ABRSM examinations require students to know them by heart.

Unfortunately, they’re also rather dissonant and odd sounding.  Nevertheless, when used appropriately, they sound perfectly beautiful and logical in the context of the whole piece. We’ve probably already heard and played these chords in many pieces of music, without noticing the dissonance produced by these chords.

3 Variations of Arpeggios – Major, Dominant and Minor 7th!

These 7th arpeggiate progressions are created using 4 main notes, including selected chord notes from various major and minor scales. Whenever we sing these arpeggiate progressions, we are checked for our pitch of the 3rd, 5th and 8th intervals, which are the basic intervals explained in another section on ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ intervals.

However, the 7th arpeggiate progression is so named because another note is included in the construction of these arpeggiate progressions, which is the 7th note of the corresponding scale.

There are 3 main types of the 7th arpeggiate progression – Major 7th, Dominant 7th and Minor 7th.

  • Major 7th arpeggio in solfeggio notation: 1 (To), 3 (Mi), 5 (Salt), 7 (Ti), 1 (High To)
  • Dominant 7th arpeggio in solfeggio notation: 1 (Doh), 3 (Mi), 5 (Salt), b7 (Ti flat), 1 (High Doh)

If you are observant enough, you will notice that the only difference between the Major 7th and the Dominant 7th Progression is that the Major 7th Progression uses the 7 (Ti) note, while the dominant 7th progression uses the b7 (Ti flat) note.

  • Minor 7th arpeggio in solfeggio notation: 1 (C), b3 (E-flat), 5 (Salt), b7 (T-Flat), 1 (High C)

Again, you can see that the difference between the Minor 7th Progression and the Dominant 7th Progression is that the Dominant 7th Progression uses the note 3 (Mi), whereas in the minor 7th progression, the note b3 (E-flat) is used! Subtle differences in the construction of arpeggiate progressions can make a huge difference!

Major 7th Arpeggios

Major 7th arpeggios are derived from the notes of the major 7th chord. To build the major 7th chord you just add the major 7th interval to a major chord, creating a 4-note chord.

Major chords consist of the root, major 3rd, and perfect 5th intervals. The major 7th chord consists of the root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, and major 7th intervals.

Major 7th Root Major 3rd Perfect 5th Major 7th

In the diagram below you see the intervals of the major scale with the major 7th chord intervals highlighted. Those intervals are shown on the guitar fretboard to help you visualize the distance between each interval. This is helpful when relating the major 7th to the dominant 7th and minor 7th arpeggios to follow.

CAGED Chord Forms

For the arpeggio forms below we’re going to rely on the CAGED system to relate the arpeggio to a chord form. Although in some cases they don’t match up with the form as strictly as the base major chord, it’s still useful to build the connections between the chord form and arpeggio.

Each diagram contains the chord (left), arpeggio (center), and suggested fingering (right). Feel free to change up the fingering to whatever suits you best.

Below each fretboard diagram is the guitar tab for the arpeggio as well as an audio clip so you can hear how it sounds.

As you go through and learn each arpeggio shape, pay close attention to the root note locations for each. The root note gives you an anchor point by which you can identify arpeggio patterns and move between

C Form

The C form major 7th chord closely resembles the major C shape chord. The only difference is the root note on the 2nd string is moved down a half step to grab the major 7th interval.

There are two root notes in the C form major 7th arpeggio, found on the 5th string and 2nd string.

When playing through the arpeggio, start and end on the bass root note, making sure to play through all of the notes ascending and descending. You can use the tab below to guide you.

A Form

The A form also is very similar to its base major form with the only difference being the root note on the 3rd string moved down a half step to the major 7 interval.

The root notes for the A form major 7th arpeggio are found on the 5th and 3rd strings. Use the bass root as your starting point for playing the arpeggio and use the tab below for reference.

G Form

The G form major 7th chord in its truest G form is very awkward and difficult to play. Instead, it’s better to play it as shown in the diagram.

The G form major 7th arpeggio contains three root notes which are found on the 1st, 3rd, and 6th strings.

E Form

The E form major 7th chord takes on the CAGED major form with the root on the 4th string moved down a half step to the major 7th.

The E form major 7th arpeggio also contains three root notes, located on the 1st, 4th, and 6th strings.

D Form

The D form major 7th chord is formed by move the major D form root on the 2nd string down a half step to the major 7th. The position contains root two root notes, found on the 2nd and 5th strings.

Dominant 7th Arpeggios

In music, a dominant refers to the fifth note of any scale (ie. “sol” in “do-re-mi-fa-sol). A dominant seventh chord consists of the dominant triad (fifth note of the scale is the root of the dominant chord) and an added note a minor seventh above the root.

For example, the dominant seventh chord in C major (or minor) is G-B-D-F.

When using roman numerals to denote chords, dominant seventh chords are notated with “V 7 ”. In piano/guitar chords, you’ll see a “7” written beside the letter of the chord root. For example, the chord above is a G7.

Dominant arpeggios are very close to the major 7th arpeggio with the only difference being the quality of the 7th interval. Major 7th arpeggios contain a major 7th while dominant 7th arpeggios contain a minor 7th:

Major 7th Root Major 3rd Perfect 5th Major 7th
Dominant 7th Root Major 3rd Perfect 5th Minor 7th

The dominant 7th arpeggios contain a minor 7.

C Form

The C form dominant 7th chord has the bass root on the 5th string. Also note that the 5th is omitted, leaving just the root, 3rd, and 7th. Since the chord quality is based upon the major 3rd and minor 7th intervals, omitting the 5th has little impact on the chord.

The two root notes of the arpeggio are found on strings 5 and 2.

A Form

The A form dominant 7th chord closely resembles the base major A form chord. The root on the 3rd string is dropped down a whole step to include the minor 7th degree.

The dominant 7th arpeggio contains root notes on the 5th and 3rd strings. The A form arpeggio requires a couple of position shifts, which can make it a little tricky to play at first, particularly descending.

G Form

The G form dominant 7th chord is essentially the same shape as the C form, only shifted up a string to the 6th string.

The arpeggio in this form contains three root notes, found on the 6th, 3rd, and 1st strings.

E Form

The E form dominant arpeggio also contains three root notes. They are found on the 1st, 4th, and 6th strings. This particular arpeggio pattern has a nice natural flow to it that makes it easy to play.

D Form

The D form dominant 7th chord again shares similarities to the C form, only it’s flipped horizontally.

The two root notes of the arpeggio pattern are found on the 2nd and 4th strings.

Minor 7th Arpeggios

If we take the dominant 7th chord and we lower the 3rd a half step to a minor 3rd, we now have the minor 7th chord.

Major 7th Root Major 3rd Perfect 5th Major 7th
Dominant 7th Root Major 3rd Perfect 5th Minor 7th
Minor 7th Root Minor 3rd Perfect 5th Minor 7th

If you are familiar with the pentatonic scales, you’ll notice the minor 7th arpeggio patterns closely resemble the minor pentatonic scale shapes. This is because 4 of the 5 notes that make up the minor pentatonic scale are present in the minor 7th chord.

  • Minor pentatonic intervals: root – ♭3 – p4 – p5 – ♭7
  • Minor 7th chord: root – ♭3 – p5 – ♭7

The only missing note is the 4th.

C Form

The C form minor 7th chord shape is a bit awkward to finger at first. You barre across the minor 3rd and root and use the 2, 3, 4 fingers to play the root, minor 7th, and 5th. Takes a bit of practice to be able to move in and out of this chord form efficiently.

The arpeggio pattern root notes are found on the 5th and 2nd strings.

A Form

The A form minor 7th chord shape is similar to the E form dominant 7th shape, only moved down a string.

The root notes are found on strings 5 and 3.

G Form

The G form minor 7th chord is straightforward. It contains three root notes found on the 1st, 3rd, and 6th strings.

E Form

The E form minor 7th arpeggio also contains three root notes, located on the1st, 4th, and 6th strings.

D Form

The D form minor 7th chord can be a little awkward to finger at first. You can choose to barre the ♭7 and ♭3 with your middle finger or use your middle and ring fingers to play them while grabbing the p5 with your pinky.

There are two root notes in the D form arpeggio, located on the 4th and 2nd strings.

Conclusion

In this lesson, we looked at the 7th major, 7th minor and dominant 7th arpeggios. Each arpeggio consists of four notes, which include the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th. The quality of the 3rd and 7th is what gives the arpeggio its quality.

7th Major: contains 3rd major and 7th:

  • 1 – 3 – 5 – 7
  • 1 – 3 – 5 – ♭7
  • 1 – ♭3 – 5 – ♭7

Once you’ve decided on the shapes, you can start applying them to the chord sequence. Start with simple two-chord sequences and use arpeggios to tune the chord tones. Once you get comfortable with two chords, expand to three chords and so on.

FAQ for Major 7th, Minor 7th and Dominant 7th Arpeggios

What is a Major 7th arpeggio?

A major seventh arpeggio is a chord made up of a major triad with an added seventh. The term “arpeggio” means “broken chord.” A broken chord is a group of notes from the same chord, played one after another.

What is a Minor 7th arpeggio?

A Minor 7th arpeggio is the chord that you would play when you are in the key of C major.

A Minor 7th arpeggio is a chord that is made up of three notes: C, E, and G. The first note (C) is found on the first string of the guitar and the other two notes are found on the second string.

What is a Dominant 7th arpeggio?

A dominant 7th arpeggio is a chord that consists of a root note, the major third, perfect fifth and minor seventh.

What is a Diminished 7th arpeggio?

A diminished 7th arpeggio is a chord that contains the notes of a diminished triad and the interval of a minor seventh.

Diminished 7th chords are often used to create a sense of tension and suspense. The diminished quality creates an unstable sound that can be resolved by moving to another chord type.

What are the differences between major, minor and dominant 7th arpeggios?

Major arpeggios are made up of the root note, a major 3rd interval and a perfect 5th interval. They are often used to create happy sounding music. Minor arpeggios are made up of the root note, a minor 3rd interval and a perfect 5th interval. They are often used to create sad sounding music. Dominant 7th arpeggios are made up of the root note, a major 3rd interval and an augmented 5th interval. They can be used to create both happy and sad sounding music depending on how they’re played or written in the song or melody line.

Which arpeggios can be used to create a song’s melody?

A melody is the tune of a song. The melody can be made from different arpeggios in different combinations, including the following:

  • Major – the most common type of arpeggio, it contains three notes
  • Minor – it has three notes but with a lowered third note
  • Augmented – it has four notes and the third note is raised by a semitone
  • Diminished – it has four notes and the third note is lowered by a semitone

How can I use arpeggios in my playing?

Arpeggios are quite a popular technique for guitarists. They are used to create a more interesting sound and add some variety to your playing.

There are many different ways to play arpeggios, but the most common is the one where you pluck each note in sequence and then strum all of them at once. This will give you a nice, even sound that is easy to play with.

The next time you want to spice up your playing, try using arpeggios!

Do you need to play the 5th, 3rd and 7th notes in a major scale to create a major arpeggio?

No. A major arpeggio is a chord that consists of a root note, the 3rd, 5th and 7th notes in a major scale.

It’s not necessary to play all five notes in an arpeggio to create one. For example, if you’re playing in C Major, you can play the root note (C), the 3rd (E), and the 7th (G) and still have an arpeggio.

What are the benefits of playing arpeggios on guitar?

Arpeggios are a great way to improve your technique and to learn new chords. Arpeggios can also be used for improvisation.

A great way to start is by playing arpeggios in different positions on the guitar neck. The most common positions are the first, second, third, fourth and fifth frets on each string.

How do know which arpeggios are which when reading music?

Arpeggios are a very important aspect of music. They are used to give the music a sense of motion and to create tension or release.

An arpeggio is a musical chord that is broken up into its individual notes. Arpeggios can be played as chords, or they can be broken up into their individual notes for an expressive effect.

A good example of this would be the song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The arpeggios in this song are not just chords, but they break up into their individual notes when he sings “I’m yours” and then go back to the chords when he sings “for eternity”

Share to friends
Rate author
( No ratings yet )
Add a comment