Major 7th Chords


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In this lesson my goal is to teach you a little more about major 7th chords, how to form them, and where and when to use them.

While the dominate 7th chord might be described as "bluesey" the major 7th chord will have more of a "pretty" sound.

If you are going to really understand piano chords it is very important to learn about the major scales from which they are derived.

If you were to take the time to really digest the information in the links just above you will never have to look up another chord in a chord book and will be able to play any chord even if you have never played it before.

If you check out this lesson on diatonic chords you will learn that as seen in the chart below, the I and IV chords in any key will naturally be major 7th chords.

major 7th chords

When you see a maj 7th chord on a chord chart, the symbol will be i.e. Gmaj7 or GM7 or  can be written as maj7, M7, Δ, ⑦, 7+, etc.

The most common way I see it is Cmaj7.

If you take the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of any major scale and play them together you will play the major 7th chord with the same letter name as the scale.

                         1  2   3   4  5  6  7

C major scale:  C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

Cmaj7  =           C       E      G      B

A major scale   A, B, C# D, E, F#,G# A

Amaj7 =         A     C#    E    G#


Really pretty simple if you know your major scales, just remember 1,3,5,7 and you're good to go!

If you would like simple formulas for other common chord types see the lesson on keyboard chords.

The most famous major seventh chord in the history of music, is the one that opens...'Color My World', by Chicago. Seven of that song's fourteen chords, including the tonic, are major sevenths or ninths, demonstrating the primacy of that chord type.

 Other examples of tunes with maj7th chords include Bread's "Make It With You",  America's "Tin Man",  and Blood Sweat & Tears' "You've Made Me So Very Happy".

For a visual lesson on this topic please check out the video below and be sure to contact me using the link below if you have any questions or suggestions for future lessons.

If you are a visual kind of learner please feel free to check out the video below. 

Contact me

If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas for future lessons feel free to Contact Me.

from major 7th chords to Piano Chords

From maj7th to Piano lessons for life HOME

4 Steps to Learning How to Play Any Song on the Piano

1. Determining the melody - Melodies determine what chords will be played. If you can use your ear to figure out what notes are being played in the melody, you are 1/4 on your way to learning a song! More resources on learning how to determine melodies

2.Harmonizing the melody - Once you have figured out the melody (using some of my techniques on the resource page), it is time to harmonize it. This is simply choosing various chords to accompany the melody. There are several techniques and tricks to doing this. More resources on learning how to harmonize melodies

3. Altering Chords - This is the best part! Now that you have strategically figured out the melody to a song and have harmonized it, altering your chords to produce certain sounds is the next step. If you were playing gospel music, you would alter your chords differently than if you were playing classical or country music. More resources on altering chords

4. Listening - After you have determined the melody, harmonized the melody, and altered some of your chords, there are various techniques you can use to make sure that your song sounds right. More resources on listening techniques

I personally recommend "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course and through my relationship with Jermaine (the author of this course), I've been able to get him to throw in a few bonus items (3 additional piano software programs). He has taught literally thousands of musicians how to play the piano by ear. If you understood just half of what he discussed above, you'll definitely benefit from his 300-pg course. Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any song on the piano in virtually minutes! I highly recommend it.

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