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    The Dominant 7 Chord

    by Simon James.

    The dominant 7th is a common chord in blues and soul music and became more widely used during the 20th century with the rise in popularity of jazz and blues music. It has become a staple sound as these genres have made it increasingly more familiar on the ears, whereas in previous times it was used solely as a tool for the movement of harmony.

    Nowadays, whole tunes have been built around 7th chords and in particularly the dominant 7th as the appeal has been precisely its dissonant sound. But, how is it constructed?

    In western music theory, the dominant 7th is the 5th chord of the major scale and is so named because it is a dominant sounding chord in the movement of the scale’s harmony. When trying to sing out the key note to a song, listeners often here the dominant chord before they hear the root note. Although it doesn’t have the same release as the root note it nevertheless is strong enough in sound to ‘dominate’ what the listener hears.

    The chord itself is made up of a root note, major 3rd, 5th and a minor 7th. It is the combination of the major 3rd and minor 7th that give it its distinctive dissonant sound. Try playing the dominant 7th arpeggio and you will instantly recognize it from rock and roll, surf blues, jazz and many other cross genres of music.

    By adding the 6th, so that you play a root note, major 3rd, 5th, 6th and minor 7th, will give you that aggressive rock and roll type progression whereas if you add the 9th at the top of the arpeggio you will get the bass line to Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison.

    The Dominant 7th is an essential chord for anyone wishing to understand blues and rock n roll.


    Related Posts:

    1. Major Scales in Detail

    2. Minor Scales in Detail

    3. How To See the Scale Intervals Clearly

    4. The Circle of 5ths

    5. Major, Minor, What's the Difference?