Major 7 versus dominant 7 guitar chords

Difference Between Dominant 7 and Major 7 Chords - Music Theory For Guitar

This theory lesson for guitarists covers one the most common question asked by beginner musicians : what's the difference between a dominant seventh and a major seventh chord.

Tertian Chord Construction

First, you need to know that these two types of tetrad chords (major 7 and dominant 7) both belong to a family named tertian chords aka seventh chords. They are built by stacking four notes in thirds, thus giving a chord made of a root note (which gives the tonality of the chord), a third (which can be major or minor), a fifth (perfect, diminished or augmented) and a seventh (major or minor). This is how seventh chords are composed.

Dominant Seventh Versus Major Seventh

Now you know how seventh chords are built, let's see what's the unique difference between a dominant 7 chord and a major 7 chord.

Dominant seventh chords are made of a root (R), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and a minor seventh (b7). Major seventh chords are built the same but the seventh is raised by a semitone, thus giving : root (R), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and major seventh (7). The only difference is the seventh which is major (7) in major seventh chords and minor (b7) in dominant seventh chords.

In other words, these two types of chords are formed from the same major triad (1 - 3 - 5), on which a supplementary note is added on top. This note is the seventh, which can be major (7) or minor (b7).

Major Seventh R 3 5 7
C Major Seventh C E G B
Dominant Seventh R 3 5 b7
C Dominant Seventh C E G Bb

 

Here below you see how the notes are stacked in thirds for each chord. Cmaj7 is built with a major 3rd +  a minor 3rd + a major third, whereas C7 is made of major third + minor third + minor third. Keep in mind that a major third is made of four semitones, whereas a minor third is made of three semitones. This article will help you learn interval names and their positions on the guitar.

Difference between maj7 and dom7 chords

Here are two basic shapes showing the difference on the guitar fretboard. You'll find mode complex positions on this website and also in the PDF Guittar Chord Dictionary available in the store.

Major 7 versus dominant 7 guitar chords

Notation

Major seventh chords are abbreviated with maj7, M7, Ma7 or ∆. Dominant seventh chords are simply labelled with a 7. Example : Cmaj7 (C-E-G-B) and C7 (C-E-G-Bb).

Analysis & Harmonic Function

DOMINANT 7 CHORDS

Dominant 7 chords (represented in blue in the harmonized scales below) relate to the fifth degree of the major scale, the seventh degree of the natural minor scale, the fourth and fifth degrees of the melodic minor scale and the fifth degree of the harmonic minor scale.

The main feature of dom7 chords is the interval between the major third (3) and the minor seventh (b7). This interval is named tritone (it is made of three tones or six semitones). It is very dissonant interval and makes dominant seventh chords very unstable. Dominant 7 chords tend to resolve to the tonic chord (except in blues). Example with C7 that resolves to Fmaj7. 

MAJOR 7 CHORDS

Major seventh chords are more stable because of the interval between the major 3rd and the major 7th (fifth) which is more pleasant to hear. You'll find major seventh chords on the first and fourth degree of the major scale, the third and sixth degree of the natural minor scale, and the sixth degree of the harmonic minor scale.

Chords of the major scale
Chords of the natural minor scale
Chords of the melodic minor scale 2
Chords of the harmonic minor scale
  • Guitar Scale Dictionary

    This E-book is a printable PDF method including over 700 guitar scale diagrams and formula charts.
  • Guitar Chord Dictionary

    This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
  • 172 Arpeggio Shapes For Guitar

    This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
  • 126 Triad Chord Shapes

    This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
  • 30 Minor Arpeggio Licks

    This package provides a printable PDF method containing 30 exercises (tab / audio files) for practicing minor arpeggios on guitar.
  • II V I Bundle - 170 Exercises

    This bundle contains 4 PDF methods for a total of 170 exercises with tabs & audio files for practicing scales, licks & chords over the famous 2-5-1 progression.
  • Diatonic Licks Bundle

    This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • 30 Smooth Jazz Guitar Licks

    In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This printable PDF guitar method provides 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation for practicing chords over the major 2-5-1 progression.
  • 40 Minor 2 5 1 Chord Voicings

    This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
  • 40 Minor II V I Licks

    This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick

    PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor Jazz Guitar Licks

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • Guitar Walking Bass Lines

    This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • 25 Altered Jazz Guitar Lines

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant Patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
  • Guitar Arpeggios Poster

    This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams. Giant size 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm).
  • Guitar Scales Poster 24*36

    Guitar posters and wall art with eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
  • Jazz Guitar Chords Poster

    This printed color posters contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
  • Guitar Modes Poster

    Guitar reference posters and wall art about modes of the major scale for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
  • Melodic Minor Modes Poster

    Educative and decorative giant guitar poster with neck diagrams, interval names about the seven modes of the melodic minor scale.
  • Pentatonic Scale Guitar Poster

    This guitar reference poster shows the positions and intervals of the major pentatonic scale.
  • Guitar Notes Poster

    This is a giant poster showing the notes on the guitar fret board and their positions on a musical staff.
  • Triads Guitar Poster

    This reference poster show the positions and intervals of the main triads used on guitar. This is a useful tool for guitarists, teacher and students.
  • Four Archtop Guitars Poster

    This is a decorative poster with four archtop jazz guitars. Several size and colors in landscape format available on Teespring and redbubble.
  • Mini Lesson 01 (ML 01)

    You'll find a mini guitar lesson about walking bass lines and chords containing a PDF with tab, score analysis, shapes, a video and a guitar pro file.
  • Mini Lesson 02 (ML 02)

    In this mini jazz guitar lesson you will learn how to play easy and cool jazz lines over basic chord changes found in jazz. Pdf, tab and video included.
  • Mini Lesson 03 (ML 03)

    With this short lesson you will learn how to play and connect basic guitar arpeggios over a diatonic chord progression.
  • Mini Lesson 04 (ML 04)

    This is a downloadable package with PDF, Tab, guitar pro file and video to practice guitar arpeggios over a jazz blues chord progression.
  • Mini Lesson 05 (ML 05)

    This downloadable package provides a PDF with Tab/score, a guitar pro file and a short video for practicing guitar arpeggios on a jazz blues progression in Bb.
  • Mini Lesson 06 (ML 06)

    This package for guitarists contains a PDF with tab, video, backing track and guitar pro file for practicing arpeggios over a basic jazz blues progression.
  • Mini Lesson 07 (ML 07)

    With this mini guitar lesson you will learn how to superimpose arpeggios over a diatonic chord progression. Video, pdf, jamtrack and guitar pro file included.
  • Mini Lesson 08 (ML08)

    Mini lesson with PDF, guitar pro file, video and backing track for practicing scale and arpeggio connections over a Bb jazz blues progression.

chords dominant 7 major 7 Theory guitar chords harmonization

Add a comment