Theory – Chords

Chords and Chord Symbols

A brief explanation of the most common chord types and their symbols. (key of C):

MAJOR SEVENTH CHORD (Chord symbol: CMaj.7)

The major seventh chord is a major triad with a major seventh.
the root: C
the major third: E
the perfect fifth: G
the major seventh:
B

cmajor7chord

MINOR SEVENTH CHORD (Chord symbol: Cm7 or C-7)

 

The minor seventh chord is a minor triad with a minor seventh.
the root: C
the minor third: Eb
the perfect fifth: G
the minor seventh: Bb

cminor7chord

DOMINANT SEVENTH CHORD (Chord symbol: C7)

 

The dominant seventh chord is a major triad with a minor seventh.
the root: C
the major third: E
the perfect fifth: G
the minor seventh: Bb

cdom7chord

DIMINISHED SEVEN CHORD (Chord symbol: C°7)

 

The diminished seven chord is a stack of minor thirds.
the root: C
the minor third: Eb
the diminished fifth: Gb
the diminished seventh: A(Bbb)

cdim7chord

HALF-DIMINISHED CHORD (Chord symbol: Cm7b5)

 

The half-diminished chord is a diminished triad with a minor seventh, also known as a minor seven flat five chord.
the root: C
the minor third: Eb
the diminished fifth: Gb
the minor seventh: Bb

chalfdim7chord

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