Major Seventh Chord
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Major Seventh Chord
 {
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
   \clef treble 
   \time 4/4
   \key c \major
   <c e g b>1
} }
A major seventh chord on C. I7 in C major.[1]
major seventh chord
Component intervals from root
major seventh
perfect fifth
major third
root
Tuning
8:10:12:15[2]
Forte no. / Complement
4-18 / 8-18

In music, a major seventh chord is a seventh chord in which the third is a major third above the root and the seventh is a major seventh above the root. The major seventh chord, sometimes also called a Delta chord, can be written as maj7, M7, ?, (7), etc. It can be represented by the integer notation {0, 4, 7, 11}.

According to Forte, the major seventh chord is exemplified by IV7, which originates melodically.[3]


    {
      \override Score.SpacingSpanner.strict-note-spacing = ##t
  \set Score.proportionalNotationDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1/6)
      \new PianoStaff <<
        \new Staff <<
            \new Voice \relative c'' {
                \stemUp \clef treble \key c \major \time 4/4
                f4 e d2
                }
            \new Voice \relative c'' {
                \stemDown
                <a c>2 <g b>
                }
            >>
        \new Staff <<
            \relative c {
                \clef bass \key c \major \time 4/4
                f2_\markup { \concat { "IV" \hspace #1 "IV" \super \column { "7" } \hspace #1 "V" } }
                g
                }
            >>
    >> }

The just major seventh chord is tuned in the ratios 8:10:12:15, as a just major chord is tuned 4:5:6 and a just major seventh is tuned 15:8. About this soundPlay 

Examples

In 1888, the French composer Erik Satie composed three slow waltzes, entitled Gymnopédies. The first and best-known of these alternates two major seventh chords. The first eight measures (shown below) alternate between Gmaj7 and Dmaj7.


   \new PianoStaff <<
      \new Staff <<
         \new Voice \relative c'' {
             \clef treble \key d \major \time 4/4
             \tempo "Lent et douloureux"
             \voiceOne R2. R2. R2. R2. r4 fis( a g fis cis b cis d a2.)
             }
         \new Voice \relative c' {
             \override DynamicLineSpanner.staff-padding = #2
             \voiceTwo \stemUp \crossStaff { \override Stem.length = #7 r4\pp <d fis>2 r4 <cis fis>2 r4 <d fis>2 r4 <cis fis>2 r4 <d fis>2 r4 <cis fis>2 r4 <d fis>2 r4 <cis fis>2 }
              }
         \new Voice \relative c' {
             \dynamicUp s2. s2. s2. s2. s4 s2\< s2. s2 s4\!\> s2 s4\!
              }
            >>
     \new Staff <<
         \new Voice \relative c' {
             \clef bass \key d \major \time 3/4
             \voiceOne \stemUp \override Stem.length = #8 s4 \crossStaff { b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 }
             }
         \new Voice \relative c {
             \voiceTwo g2. d g d g d g d
             }
         >>
    >>

    {
      \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
      \new PianoStaff <<
        \new Staff <<
            \relative c' {
                \stemUp \clef treble \key g \major \time 4/4
                <d fis b d>1\fermata
                }
            >>
        \new Staff <<
            \relative c {
                \clef bass \key g \major \time 4/4
                <g g'>1\fermata \bar "|."
                }
            >>
    >> }
Dizzy Gillespie's 1956 recording of "Dizzy's Business" ends with a major seventh chord[4] with root on G.

Later examples of tonic major seventh chords include The Beatles' "This Boy", Bread's "Make It With You", America's "Tin Man", Blood Sweat & Tears' "You've Made Me So Very Happy", third and main part of Paul McCartney and Wings' "Band On The Run", Carly Simon's "The Right Thing To Do" Rupert Holmes' "Him" and Chicago's "Colour My World".[5]

Moving into the 70's to replace the prominence of the dominant seventh chord as a stable tonic more common in the first fifteen years of the rock era, the major seventh was common in all styles, "pervading soul, country rock, soft rock, MOR (middle-of-the-road styles), jazz rock, funk, and disco."[5] Music theorist Ken Stephenson continues:

In soul and disco, a tonic minor seventh harmony often alternated with a dominant seventh or dominant ninth chord on scale degree 4 ['Lady Marmalade' & 'Le Freak']... In other styles, major seventh and minor seventh chords generally mix (usually with eleventh chords...) to create a diatonic composite in either major or minor mode.... The most famous major seventh chord in the history of music, [is] the one that opens... 'Colour My World', even though the song departs from the usual pattern described above by 'colouring' the harmonic succession with several chromatic chords. Still, seven of that song's fourteen chords, including the tonic, are major sevenths or ninths, demonstrating the primacy of that chord type.[5]

Pieces which feature prominent major seventh chords include: "This Guy's in Love with You" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Chick Corea's "Litha", Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge", John Lennon's "Imagine", Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower", Tower of Power's "So Very Hard to Go", Carole King's "It's Too Late", Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens", Antonio Jobim's "Dindi", Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge", Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird",[6] and Smashing Pumpkin's "1979".

Major seventh chord table

Chord Root Major third Perfect fifth Major seventh
Cmaj7 C E G B
Cmaj7 C E (F) G B (C)
Dmaj7 D F A C
Dmaj7 D F A C
Dmaj7 D Fdouble sharp (G) A Cdouble sharp (D)
Emaj7 E G B D
Emaj7 E G B D
Fmaj7 F A C E
Fmaj7 F A C E (F)
Gmaj7 G B D F
Gmaj7 G B D F
Gmaj7 G B (C) D Fdouble sharp (G)
Amaj7 A C E G
Amaj7 A C E G
Amaj7 A Cdouble sharp (D) E (F) Gdouble sharp (A)
Bmaj7 B D F A
Bmaj7 B D F A

Major seventh chords for guitar

In standard tuning, the left is the low E string. To the right of the | is another way of playing the same chord. x means mute the string. (The Amaj7 demonstrates the movable chord shapes.)

  • Amaj7: xx7654 | xxx224 | xx7999 | x02120 | 576655
  • Bmaj7: x24342 | 7988xx
  • Cmaj7: x35453 | x32000
  • Dmaj7: xx0222 | x57675
  • Emaj7: xx2444 | 021100
  • Fmaj7: xx3555 | 103210 | xx3210
  • Gmaj7: xx5777 | 320002

See also

Sources

  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.229. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ Shirlaw, Matthew (1900). The Theory of Harmony, p.86. ISBN 978-1-4510-1534-8.
  3. ^ Forte, Allen (1979). Tonal Harmony in Concept & Practice, p.150. ISBN 0-03-020756-8.
  4. ^ Walter Everett (Autumn, 2004). "A Royal Scam: The Abstruse and Ironic Bop-Rock Harmony of Steely Dan", p.205, Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 201-235.
  5. ^ a b c Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p.83. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4. "...the most famous major seventh chord in the history of music, the one that opens Chicago's 'Colour My World'..."
  6. ^ Radley, Roberta (2011). The "Real Easy" Ear Training Book, pages unmarked. ISBN 9781457101427

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