19. Chord progressions using 7th chords

A practical tutorial in a theory series? Is there more than one author on this website?

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial we will be taking a look at some chord progressions that use 7th chords. So, let’s have some fun.

2. Chord progressions using 7th chords

7th chords are fun and all, so it’s time to learn look at some ways in which we can integrate them in our playing.

The first progression of the day is written in the key of C and uses the I, VI, V and III degree chords:

I-VI-V-III

Here it is played back:

The 7th chords that appear in this progression are Cmaj7, Am7, G7 and Em7. As you can hear, the root note major seventh chord has a very calm feel to it, some people even saying it sounds like a musical sigh sound. The dominant 7th chord has a natural tendency to want to move to the root note chord. This is caused by the fact that such chords produce a lot of tension, which needs to be resolved somehow. We’ll talk about this in another tutorial.

Let’s take a look at a I-IV-V-III progression in the key of E now:

I-IV-V-III

Here it is played back:

This time around we move from a major chord to a maj7 chord, then to a 7 chord and then to a minor chord. Lastly, let’s take a look at a progression that also makes use of the m7(♭5) chord, written in the key of D:

I-IV-VII-VI

Here it is played back:

That about covers it for this tutorial. In the next one, we resume our intermediate chord learning journey with diminished seventh chords. See you then.

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