Loretta began playing piano at age 7 and hasn't stopped. From the classics to ragtime, playing the piano has been one of her greatest joys.
Or, IV—V—I for the Roman Numeral fans!
Any intermediate keyboard or string student has been exposed to the 4-5-1 chord progression. No doubt you have played it, even if you did not recognize it as such at the moment. It is a standard lead up to a resolution in many, many pieces.
This sheet music will present the 7th chords in order of the scale of C Major, meaning C first, D second, E third, and continuing.
- Some instruction sets follow the circle of 5ths for presentation (C, G, D, A...) but my order allows the fingering to flow in a logical manner.
Chord notes are presented in ascending and then descending order. This follows a natural progression of the fingers. Practice each hand alone until you are proficient, then put them together. Notice the patterns that emerge.
When you are proficient as written, consider playing notes the "opposite" way - descending then ascending.
Then, play the notes together as the 4-note 7th chord to reinforce learning.
These patterns can be played in any octave that is comfortable to you. I moved notes on the staves for human readability, but play them where they make sense to you.
Keep in mind that any Major 7th chord can become a Dominant 7th chord by lowering the top note by 1/2 step. For instance:
- Emaj7 becomes E7 by changing D# to D Natural
- Fmaj7 becomes F7 by changing E Natural to Eb
Remember, mastery is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Key signatures were intentionally left out to focus on the notes that comprise the individual chords.
If you have a printer, you can easily print out the photos:
- (Possibly enlarge by using the magnifying glass + icon, if it shows up for you)
- Save image as... to your desktop or downloads, then print from there
Note: The music images show up a lot better when they are saved off to your computer.
Practice Makes Perfect
I hope this helps a beginning or intermediate student to see the relationships with the variants of the important 7th chord.
With practice, playing the piano (or any instrument) will bring extra satisfaction to you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 The Sampsons
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 27, 2021:
Thank you for this lesson. Will study in detail and improve my intermediate skills.