Lesson 11 – Using Seventh Chords

Now we come to the seventh chord also referred to as a dominant 7th chord. You were introduced to the A7 thru G7 chords in Lesson 3 and added them to your repertoire.

As you learn these chords it is important to train your ear to recognize the difference in sound that each chord produces. The seventh chord is often used as a signal or leading chord. It creates anticipation and lets you know that we are going to change to another chord sometime soon. In this lesson we will concentrate on doing exactly that. Train our ear to hear the anticipated chord changes.

Exercise 1: Play this 12 Bar Blues in the Key of A and then E and listen to the texture of the chords as you change from one chord to another.

Exercise 2: Now play this progression in the Key of A and E, this time adding the seventh chords.

As you play this variation of the 12 Bar Blues in the Key of A or E, listen carefully when playing the seventh chord. Do you hear, feel, and anticipate the chord changes? This is just one of the many ways the seventh chord is used. Check out Steve Ray Vaughan playing “Pride and Joy”. You’ll get the picture! As you continue to venture through your musical journey you will soon recognize the different sounds, and moods, chords create. As a composer, you will have the freedom to choose what works best for you in making your musical statement.