A major seventh chord is a major chord that has an added major seventh interval above the root note.
Using the C major scale, we are going to use the first note to form a C major chord (CEG):
C to E is a Major third
C to G is a Perfect fifth
We will now add a major seventh interval to the chord which is B. B is the 7th note of the C major scale.
C to B is a Major seventh
Now the chord becomes
CEGB – C Major Seventh
The following are chord symbols that are used to display a major seventh chord:
maj7, M7, Δ, ⑦, 7+, etc.
How to use Major Seventh Chords in Your Playing
Major seventh chords can be used just like major chords in a scale or key and can function just like the 1-chord or the 4-chord. They can add a dream-like feel to the chord.
The 5-chord is major but will mostly be used as a dominant chord of some kind.
If we look at the C major scale we have,
1- 2- 3-4- 5-6- 7- 8
CEG – 1
FAC – 4
We can spice up the chords from regular major chords by adding a major seventh to them. Now they become:
CEGB – C major seventh
FACE – F major seventh
Below is a chart listing all of the major seventh chords in all keys.
Major Seventh Chord Table
|Chord||Root||Major Third||Perfect Fifth||Major Seventh|
|C♯maj7||C♯||E♯ (F)||G♯||B♯ (C)|
|D♯maj7||D♯||Fx (G)||A♯||Cx (D)|
|G♯maj7||G♯||B♯ (C)||D♯||Fx (G)|
|A♯maj7||A♯||Cx (D)||E♯ (F)||Gx (A)|
X denotes double sharps
Weekly Practice Goal
During each practice session, do 3 sets of practice drills for all examples given for major seventh chords. Playing through the entire chart counts as 1 set.
During the 1st set, try playing the 1st chord in the list above on a 4 count beat (1,2,3,4). Then move to the next chord in the list on a 4 count beat (1,2,3,4).
Play through all of the chords in the chart slowly with just your right hand.
On the second set or round, play through all of the chords in the chart slowly with just your left hand using the same 4 beats per chord.
On the last set or round, play both hands together slowly, moving through the chords in the list.
Pick a tempo or bpm that’s comfortable for you.