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fortymile
02-06-2005, 01:24 AM
hello...

frustrating day today. one of those days where everything you play sounds familiar...all the chords on the guitar are the same old boring chords, and nothing seems new or possible.

i suck.

today i decided i need to get a bit more serious about a few things. one thing i was wondering about is 7th chords. i don't use them, haven't really used them. i have no idea how to compose with them. when should i use them??? this is a stupid question, i know. i could use them almost anyplace. but i need some new way to think about this. how did some of you take the leap into using them?

Poparad
02-06-2005, 01:55 AM
hello...

frustrating day today. one of those days where everything you play sounds familiar...all the chords on the guitar are the same old boring chords, and nothing seems new or possible.

i suck.

today i decided i need to get a bit more serious about a few things. one thing i was wondering about is 7th chords. i don't use them, haven't really used them. i have no idea how to compose with them. when should i use them??? this is a stupid question, i know. i could use them almost anyplace. but i need some new way to think about this. how did some of you take the leap into using them?

You can use them just like you use any other chord. They act as a different flavor than a plain triad. Think of them as toppings on an ice cream sundae; you can eat it plain, or add a lot of different toppings for flavor.


In the key of C major, here are the basic 7th chords:

Cmaj7
Dm7
Em7
Fmaj7
G7
Am7
Bm7b5


Here are some simple voicings for major 7, minor 7, domiant 7, and minor 7b5:


Cmaj7 Dm7 G7 Bm7b5
-----------------------------------
-5--8-----6--10-----12--3----3--6--
-4--9-----5--10-----10--4----2--7--
-5--9-----7--10-----12--3----3--7--
-3--------5---------10-------2-----
----8--------10---------3-------7--

Mateo150
02-06-2005, 02:30 AM
Use them, use them, they are necessary for flat five subs. Get really comfortable with them, they are the building blocks for improv in blues and jazz.

fortymile
02-06-2005, 03:47 AM
thanks. i know all that stuff, though. i know the diatonic chords, etc. i just wish there were some system...i dont know what i'm looking for. when i try to use them i feel like i don't know what i'm doing. i dunno. it's just that kind of day. sorry.

Factor
02-06-2005, 04:36 AM
I don't really understand your problem, but one thing could be that you haven't plugged the sound of the seventh chords into your ear. Unless you want to have the maj7 sound intead of the plain major one, it's going to sound off.

My leap into using them was learning some tunes with such chords. Take basically any jazz standard and it's almost only seventh chords. I started with Autumn Leaves.

If you want to spice up a normal progression, you need to analyze (or use your ear, which ever works best) to find out where the different seventh chords will fit. As Poparad explained above:
I = maj7
ii = m7
iii = m7
IV = maj7
V = 7
vi = m7
vii = m7b5

So when ever you have a, say vi-ii-V-I progression, you can embellish all of those chords, or none if you wish, with that seventh note.

Mateo150
02-06-2005, 07:16 AM
Try this progression, very fun to jam over and easy to play

Dm x 2, E7dim add 13?, A7

------ -----
--6---8----
--7---7---6
--7---8---5
--5---7----
----------5

feel free to emblish them how you want, this is a Jazz progression, forget what its called. Dm, E7, A7 works fine.

For funky stuff, check out Hendrix stuff..i.e. Purple haze, and other hits for 7th chord uses, Stevie wonder uses a lot of them too. Lots of funk uses 7th chords with adds, 13ths and 11ths

Lots (most) of SRV's songs are in in 7th chords.

To answer your question more directly, I started and still learn them by playing Blues. Blues uses lots of 7ths. From blues I learned Funk and Jazz. I suck with modes personally and am trying to learn classical. Some people who play classical can't reallly play blues in the traditional sense. Just where you want to go with It I guess. Knowing what genre of music influences you helps too. If you listen to stuff that doesn't really use 7th chords, why focus on it as a priority?

Malcolm
02-06-2005, 02:43 PM
Back to the basic reason for sevenths --- A sevenths adds tension and wants to resolve to the tonic right now.

Factor
02-06-2005, 02:59 PM
Not all seventh chords though. The maj7 is pretty stable. The m7 has more tension than a regular minor, but it doesn mean it wants to resolve directly to the tonic.

Now a Dominant seventh - I agree. The seventh makes a tritone with the third which makes for alot of tension, which resolves into a major third or a minor sixth.

Dommy
02-06-2005, 05:06 PM
A lot of people can't figure out how to 'plug in' 7th chords because they are doing it *** backwards. You have to realize 7th chords are no different than any other chord, they are just another facet of harmony. I would take the chord progression that you are using at the moment, and wherever you find that you want to 'spice' something up, figure out what the melody note of the voicing that you are using at the moment is, then try different bass notes over it, with the interval of a seventh (major or flatted, spread out over however big an interval you wish) between the bass note and the melody. Give it a shot.

yingski
02-06-2005, 08:06 PM
Learn a bit of jazz theory, I say a bit because it's very deep waters. If you want to feel like your brain is going to catch on fire then jazz theory is the way to go. On the other hand it will make you all nice and comfy with 7th chords.

Los Boleros
02-07-2005, 06:06 AM
Actually if you look at many songs that use sevenths and you may see a pattern. This is in the use of seventh chords to lead us into the next chord in the progression. If you are on the I chord or i chord, and the next chord is the IV or iv, then there is a strong tendensy for the first chord to be played as a triad the first measure and a seventh chord the second measure and then the IV or iv chord.
See these examples:

|Am///|Am7///|Dm///|F///|

|A///|A7///|D///|D///|
it also works in a secondary dominant situation because the relationship is that of a fourth. just like the examples above.

In the key of Em
|F#/F#7/|B/B7/|Em///|Em///|
In all three situations above, the seventh note creates a downward melody that connects the present chord with the next. Look at the first example with A minor, the melody created by the seventh chord looks like this.

|A///|G///|F///|F///| remember, those are single notes.

In the second example of A major, the melody looks like this:

|A///|G///|F#///|F#///| There are also many songs that use seventh chords all over. I think it is more of the same thing in that all those seventh notes create polyphonic lines that give the song more movement.

fortymile
02-07-2005, 08:57 AM
hey alright ...

some really good suggestions here. thank you guys.

mateo, the reason why is because some of the music i listen does use 7th chords, and i always notice them and how good they are. best example i can think of: nine inch nails. the nin songs that use 7ths are always amazingly evocative.

dommy, that's a concrete idea i can try. thank you, i'm gonna get on that right away. never occurred to me.

lb, as always thanks for the exercises. as soon as i get off my arse here...

and i think you guys are right. i like the jazz standards approach. maybe if i bought a fake book (because i prefer just playing the chords by thier symbols)...

GuitarLausing
02-08-2005, 10:18 PM
Don't take the music "rules" too serious... It's just guidelines anyway. Play, no not play, Toy with 7th chords.. Put them together randomly. Do it for an hour and i guarantee you end up with something that you like! If not, sue me!

fortymile
02-08-2005, 11:30 PM
i dont take them seriously at all. i think i just suck at using 7th chords. there are times you hear them in other peoples' music and you know they're the exact right choice. when i use them they sound arbitrary.

GuitarLausing
02-08-2005, 11:47 PM
Like so much else, theres is only one thing to do. Practice. :)

Dommy
02-09-2005, 01:32 AM
Musical taste comes from experience with pleasing your own ear and the ears of others.

I just suggested that because I think its a more bottoms up approach to learning rathen than a top down. You need a basic foundation in auditory examples in this category to feel comfortable expanding outward I've found in my experience. I've discovered this from a top down sort of view and I have been wishing I discovered it in a way that it wasn't such a huge block of information (harmony).

Los Boleros
02-09-2005, 05:15 AM
Like so much else, theres is only one thing to do. Practice. :)There's one more thing you could do as well, that is learn. Practicing with some rules is better than practicing random mechanics. When it comes down to it, we will be judged by our choices and not by our speed or accuracy. Rules are made to be broken but a dissipline student uses them to train the brain to be more disipline. When I was studying counterpoint, my first thought was why all the rules. Ten years later I saw the light. Those weren't really rules after all, but merely observasions of what happens naturally when music is played well.

PeterS
02-10-2005, 11:44 AM
Seventh chords have the "bite" major and minor chords do not have. In the jazz world, the old guys would turn all the chords into seventh chords (not with every song of course, but with certain ones). Take "I got rhythm".. C-Am-Dm-G , then try C7 - A7 - D7 - G7,... you might not like it.. but then agian? It's art.. try it.. if you like it.. keep it. If not.. try something else... I hope that helped. Peter Simms

szulc
02-10-2005, 02:37 PM
In general if your chords are moving in cycle 4 you can have the seventh tone of the first chord strengthen the resolution to the third of the second. Sometimes 3-7, or 5-1.
For diatonic sevenths, the resoultions are stronger for V-I, ii-V, IV-vii and viio to iii. The iii-vi, I-IV and vi-ii are weaker because of the lack of half step movement.

(vi-ii) ACEG,ACDF G to F, D to E (weaker resolution because it is a WS)
(ii-V) DFAC,DFGB C to B
(V-I) GBDF,GBCE F to E
(I-IV) CEGB,CEFA B to A and G to F (weaker resolution because it is a WS)
(IV-vii) FACE,FABD E to D and C to B. C-B is stronger here.
(viio-iii) BDFA,BDEG F to E and A to G. F-E is stronger here.
(iii-vi) EGBD,EGAC B-A and D-C (weaker resolution because it is a WS)

In Dom7 cycles the resolution is stronger yet because the 3/7 (7/3) tritone moves down in half steps together.

jade_bodhi
11-30-2005, 04:53 AM
Actually if you look at many songs that use sevenths and you may see a pattern. This is in the use of seventh chords to lead us into the next chord in the progression.

I have a song in 4/4 time and the progression of the verse goes like this:

E7, D7, C7, B7 (repeat 4X with 8 beats per chord)

Can you give me some soloing guidelines to follow as I solo over this? I usually fool around in a bluesy E pentatonic (I think), but there are times during the changes when I feel I could shift to something more subtle.

If it makes any difference, the song is rather up-tempo. thank you.

Jade

Edit: You can see the progression has a downward movement, and I play it moving down the neck, from the E7 on frets 5-7 to an open B7 on first and second frets. Would it be interesting to find a way for the solo to have an upward movement or should the solo mimic the downward movement of the chords?

szulc
11-30-2005, 04:26 PM
Are you sure this is really the chord progression you are using? and not Em (7) D7 C(M7) B7?
If it really is a string of Dom7 chords E7 D7 C7 B7 the tonality is moving from A Major>G G Major > F Major then to E Major. These could be HM, or MM as well since the V7 is in all of these scales. In general you need to target chord tones from these 7th chords to make something happen make a guide tone chart of chord tones. Then try to make a line connecting them (EG#BD) > (DF#AC) > (CEGBb) > (BD#F#A) some ascending possibilities are E F# G A or G# A Bb B or B C E F# .

jade_bodhi
11-30-2005, 05:58 PM
Are you sure this is really the chord progression you are using? and not Em (7) D7 C(M7) B7?
If it really is a string of Dom7 chords E7 D7 C7 B7 the tonality is moving from A Major>G G Major > F Major then to E Major. These could be HM, or MM as well since the V7 is in all of these scales. In general you need to target chord tones from these 7th chords to make something happen make a guide tone chart of chord tones. Then try to make a line connecting them (EG#BD) > (DF#AC) > (CEGBb) > (BD#F#A) some ascending possibilities are E F# G A or G# A Bb B or B C E F# .

Szulc:

I think your question about the strangeness of the progression alludes to my thought that there is something more subtle happening in the progression than just soloing over it with an E pentatonic would suggest.

I'm not sure I follow all your language in your explanation due to my unfamiliarity with musical language, but I think you are saying that the solo should hit the seventh note in each of the four chords when the chord is struck. Is that right?

What do you mean by "chord tone?" It's different from the tonic note, I would assume. What's the difference, for example, between the respective chord tones of E major chord, an E7, and say Emaj7? Also, what is HM and MM? Are those scales?

I appreciate your explanations.

Jade

szulc
12-01-2005, 04:09 AM
I think your question about the strangeness of the progression alludes to my thought that there is something more subtle happening in the progression than just soloing over it with an E pentatonic would suggest. This is an understatment.


I'm not sure I follow all your language in your explanation due to my unfamiliarity with musical language, but I think you are saying that the solo should hit the seventh note in each of the four chords when the chord is struck. Is that right? Not necessarily, I am saying the Chord Tones should be used as a framework to "hang" your improvisation on.


What do you mean by "chord tone?" It's different from the tonic note, I would assume. Chord Tone - Any note belonging to a particular chord (including the tonic).


What's the difference, for example, between the respective chord tones of E major chord, an E7, and say Emaj7? E7 - EG#BD; EM7 - EG#BD#.


Also, what is HM and MM? HM - Harmonic Minor [1,2b3,4,5,b6,7]; MM - Melodic Minor [1,2,b3,4,5,6,7] all of the scale tone references are based on a Major Scale.


Are those scales? Yes.