Seventh chords

You've now learned how to construct the seven diatonic triads. But triads are only one type of chord; you can extend the number of notes in a chord by adding additional thirds on top.

To review, you built diatonic triads by starting with a root note and then stacking the third and fifth notes above that root. You can continue this pattern by adding an additional note a seventh above the root. In major, this forms a major seventh chord.

You can build a C major seventh chord as follows:

Make the C major seventh chord:

In minor, this pattern forms a minor seventh chord.

You can build a C minor seventh chord as follows:

Make the C minor seventh chord:

Inversions of seventh chords

Seventh chords can also be inverted, just like triads. Because you have an additional note, there is also an additional type of inversion: a third inversion seventh chord has the seventh of the chord as the lowest note.

You can call the C minor seventh chord in third inversion C/B♭ ("C over B♭").

Here is one possible voicing of each inversion of a C minor seventh chord:

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