Minor Seventh (m7) Chord Shapes - Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 & 4 Voicings
What are Minor Seventh Chords?
Minor seventh chords are built by stacking minor and major thirds. They contains four notes (tetrad chords). The formula is :
- Root (R)
- Minor third (b3)
- Perfect fifth (5)
- Minor seventh (b7).
Keep in mind that minor thirds span three semitones and major thirds four semitones. Let's take for example the Dm7 chord. It is built with D, F, A and C. The interval between D and F is a minor third (3 semitones). The interval between F and A is a major third (4 semitones) and there is a minor third between A and C.
|D minor chord||D||F||A||X|
|D minor seventh chord||D||F||A||C|
There are many ways of writing the same chord. It is often very confused for a jazz student. The main symbols for minor seventh chords (example in C) are Cm7, C-7, Cmin7, Cmi7.
Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 2 Voicings
Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 3 Voicings
Drop 2 minor seventh chord voicings
Drop 2 chords are are built by dropping the second highest note of a four-notes close voicing to the bass. Minor seventh close chord formula is 1 b3 5 b7 giving the following drop 2 chord formula 5 1 b3 b7.
You can see that the second highest note (the fifth) is now the bass note . Drop 2 voicings are very important devices used for jazz chord arrangements.
What is An Inverted Voicing ?
It means that the notes of the chord are inverted. The root of an inverted chord is not in the bass. As you can see in the guitar diagrams above, there can be a minor third, a fifth or a minor seventh in the bass.
Here are four drop 2 minor seventh chord voicings (The therm "voicings" is the order of notes in a chord), including three inversions.
|1st inversion (minor third in the bass)||b3||b7||R||5|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||R||b3||b7|
|3rd inversion (minor seventh in the bass)||b7||b3||5||R|
Drop 2 minor 7 chord Shapes
These three guitar neck diagrmas show you how to play the four drop 2 voicings on guitar with the lowest notes on the fourth, fifth or sixth string. Each position is represented by a specific color. The root voicing is marked in black, the first inversion is in blues, the second in red and the third is in green.
Minor 7 guitar chords - Drop 3 voicings
Here are four drop 3 minor seventh voicings with guitar diagrams. If you want to learn more about drop 3 voicings, please check out this blog lesson.
|Drop 3 root position||R||b7||b3||5|
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||b3||R||5||b7|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||b3||b7||R|
|3rd inversion (seventh in the bass)||b7||5||R||b3|
Drop 3 Minor Seventh Voicings
These two guitar neck diagrams show the relationships between the four drop 3 voicings previously seen in the formula chart above. The first has chords with the lowest note on the fifth string, whereas the second has the lowest note on the sixth string.
Also, you can see that each voicing is marked with a different color. Black for the root position, blues for the first inversion, red for the second and green for the third.
Drop 2 and 4 minor 7 Voicings
Drop 2 and 4 voicings are not the most used in jazz music, but can be very useful when you want to create new sonorities. They also provide an effective way to learn your guitar freatboard.
Drop 2-4 chords can be used in place or to complement drop 2 and drop 3 chords in solo or duo, when you need to accompany a singer or a soloist.
How To Build Drop 2 & 4 min7 Voicings?
To build a Drop 2 & 4 voicing you have to take a close position voicing and drop the second the fourth note an octave down. Thereby giving a new voicing which is R - b3 - 5 - b7. This new minor 7 voicings will produce three other inverted voicings that are :
- b3 - b7 - 5 - R
- 5 - R - b7 - b3
- b7 - b3 - R - 5
You can see that the first inversion has the minor third (b3) in the bass, the second inverted voicing has the fifth in the bass (5) and the third inversion has the minor seventh in the bass.
Drop 2 and 4 minor 7 Guitar Shapes
The two shapes below show how to play minor 7 drop 2 and 4 voicings on guitar. The root position is in black, the first inversion is in blue, the second in red and the third in green.
The chords in the first shape have there basses on sixth string whereas the chords in the second diagram have basses on the fifth string. Please notice that drop 2 & 4 voicings occur a string skip between the second and third highest note. This is the particularity of Drop 2-4 voicings.
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Last edited: 04/14/2020