Four Note Chords - Minor Seventh Edition / Music Theory Lesson

Author: sleepfreaks

Not Sounding Overly Dark with the “Minor Seventh Chord”

This time, in continuation of the major 7th, we will be taking a look at the minor 7th chord.

By knowing the information touched upon in our articles on minor triads,
you should be able to quickly get the hang of minor seventh chords!

Be sure to pay close attention to the similarities with the triads.

Lets hear how it sounds first.
The chord will play after the individual notes are played.

Next, after hearing the C minor chord, lets hear the C minor 7th chord.

A minor chord has a particularly dark sound.
However, the minor seventh has a more complex sound that is not as easily defined.

Minor 7th chords are often depicted as the following:


The most common way you may see it written is as

  • C Minor Seventh = Cm7
  • D Minor Seventh = Dm7

Another common way of writing it would be “C-7 D-7”.

Lets take a look at the Cm7 chord on notation and the piano roll.



Did you happen to realize something?

That’s right. The majority of this chord is the same as the C minor chord.
You’ve already learned the important bits of this chord.



Lets try out the “opposite approach” we used in our last article.

Rather than moving up from the root, moving down a half-step from the root made it easier to reach the 7th.
We will use this technique on the minor seventh chord as well.


When the Bb is lowered by an octave, it can be found a whole-step under the root.

If you can create a minor chord (triad),
you can simply add a note one whole-step under the root to create a minor 7th chord.

Lets try turning a Dm into a Dm7.


It would look like so.

As usual, lets see the intervals and scale degree of the “m7”.


In intervals:

  • R/m3rd/P5th/m7th

In scale degree:

  • 1/b3/5/b7

In addition, you can look at minor 7th and major 7th chords,


in this kind of way.

Perhaps the bright yet melancholy sound of the major 7th,
or the dark yet hopeful sound of the minor 7th come from here.

In our next article, we were planning to move onto to dominant 7th chords but…
We will first take a look at the tritone which is a crucial sound in music.

Article Writer: Kazuma Itoh

講師 伊藤
After moving to the USA at 18 years of age with a scholarship from Berklee, he completed a 4 year study focused on song writing and arranging there.
Using this knowledge, he works across a variety of fields from pop music, film music, and more.