Major 7th Chords

Here we will take a very easy approach to playing Major 7th chords...

An understanding of the four types of triads will result in approaching these all your 7th chords easily... if you feel that you could use help with triads, a very easy-to-understand video/guidebook combo is available here. The video alone will help anyone to gain mastery over the four triads since the presentation does not assume that the viewer has any piano playing experience whatsoever.

Okay, let's take a look at Major 7th chords... (we will use "C" as the Root for the purpose of explanation):

A "C Major 7" chord, in sheet music, could be notated with any one of the following symbols:

CM7, Cmaj7, Ctriangle(notice the upper case "M" in that first one... "m" would represent "minor")

We can think of a Major 7 chord as a simple extension of major triad. A Cmaj triad consists of:


If we think in terms of half steps, we can approach it in one of two ways... from the G (not counting it), simply count up four (4) half steps to the next note, which is B....

Cmaj7 = C E G B

Now, consider this: a B can be arrived at by simply going from the Root C and descending one half step. This is a very easy way to arrive at the Major 7. So you think: "one half step lower than the root gives me the Major 7... and I simply play that Major7 one octave higher...

Therefore, it holds true that approaching any Major 7 chord can be the same. Simply play a major triad and locate and play the 7 by one of the two methods mentioned above and you have it! A fingering adjustment is in order here...

If you are playing this chord with your left hand, use: pinkie, middle finger, index finger, and thumb...

If you are playing this chord with your right hand, use: thumb, index finger, middle finger, and pinkie...

Go ahead and play an Fmaj7 chord in the same fashion... then play the others...

You will notice that, as you play more and more of them, your confidence increases with each one!






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