Music Foundations Tutorial: Using Seventh Chords For Harmonic Progression Pt.2 Minor 7th (Min7) w/ Max Wild

In this three-part Music Foundations tutorial, musician and Dubspot Instructor Max Wild demonstrates how to use seventh chords to enrich harmonic progressions. In the second installment, Max shows you how to construct and apply the minor seventh (min7) chord in a musical context. We have a series of upcoming Music Foundations course start dates in NYC (6/6, 6/24, 7/13) LA (6/18, 6/19, 6/20) and Online! Enroll now!

As explained in the first tutorial, seventh chords are four-note chords that derive their name from the upper-most note, a seventh interval above the root. They consist of the root (lowest note in root position), 3rd (2nd note), 5th (3rd note), and 7th (fourth note). In the case of the minor 7th the root and 3rd are a minor third (m3) apart (3 half-steps). The 5th is a Perfect 5th above the root (7 half-steps), and the 7th is a minor 7th above the root (10 half-steps). Another way to look at this construct would be to count the intervals from one note to the next. In that case we would count a minor 3rd (m3) from the Root to 3rd, a major 3rd (M3) from 3rd to 5th, and m3 from 5th to 7th.

As mentioned in the previous video, seventh chords sound thicker in texture and more colorful than triads, because of the added seventh note. We often associate their sound with jazz, however they can be found in all music genres, where they are used to make the harmony sound richer.  Within seventh chords, each chord has a distinct sound quality. The minor 7th chord sounds darker than the major 7th, a little more soulful perhaps, and great for genres from house to hip hop.

To demonstrate the sound of the minor 7th I am going to play a chord progression in which I use only minor 7th chords, however, you are of course at liberty to mix minor 7th chords with all other types of chords when creating a chord progression of your own. The chord progression I use consists of Am7, Dm7, and Em7 chords. I have also added a bassline, melody, and beat to give some context of how to use these chords in a song. The best way to learn how to use seventh chords though is through experimentation and trying them out in different musical situations. I hope you find this approach useful and use it to create rich harmonic sequences of your own. Stay tuned for my next tutorial on dominant seventh chords. - Max Wild 

Here are some examples of the minor 7th chord used by other artists:

Aly-Us “Time Passes On”: Entire song consists of D#m7 and Fm7

Disclosure “Latch”: First chord of verse is A#m7:

and first chord of pre-chorus is Fm7:

Ellie Golding “Lights”: Fourth chord of progression is C#m7:

MOA “My Name Is MOA”: Fourth chord of saxophone solo chords is C#m7:

Dubspot Instructor Max Wild is a saxophonist and electronic music producer based in New York City. He recently launched his latest project under the moniker MOA, with a debut EP My Name Is MOA coming out in June of 2014. Listen to the title track “My Name Is MOA” above and visit MOA for more information.

Music Foundations

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6/6, 6/24, 7/13 (NYC)

6/16, 6/17, 6/20, 6/21 (LA)
6/6 (Dubspot Online, Space still available!)

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want.

What’s Included:

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Electronic Music Appreciation

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