Minor seventh chord

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Minor-minor (i7) seventh chord on C[1] About this sound Play .

In music, a minor seventh chord is any nondominant seventh chord where the "third" note is a minor third above the root.

ii7-V7-I progression in C About this sound Play .

Most typically, minor seventh chord refers to where the "seventh" note is a minor seventh above the root (a fifth above the third note). This is more precisely known as a minor/minor seventh chord, and it can be represented as either as m7 or -7, or in integer notation, {0, 3, 7, 10}. In a natural minor scale, this chord is on the tonic, subdominant, and dominant[1] degrees. In a harmonic minor scale, this chord is on the subdominant[1] degrees. In an ascending melodic minor scale, this chord is on the supertonic[1] degree. In a major scale, this chord is on the second (supertonic seventh), third (mediant) or sixth (submediant)[2] degrees. For instance the ii7 in the ii-V-I turnaround.

Example of tonic minor seventh chords include LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade", Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly with His Song", Chic's "Le Freak", and the Eagles' "One Of These Nights".[3]

minor/minor seventh chord
Component intervals from root
minor seventh
perfect fifth
minor third
Forte no. / Complement
4-26 / 8-26

When the seventh note is a major seventh above the root, it is called a minor/major seventh chord. Its harmonic function is similar to that of a "normal" minor seventh, as is the minor seven flat five or half-diminished chord – but in each case, the altered tone (seventh or fifth, respectively) creates a different feeling which is exploited in modulations and to use leading-tones.

Minor seventh as virtual +6 chord[edit]

The minor seventh chord may also have its interval of minor seventh (between root and seventh degree, i.e.: { C B } in { C E G B } ) rewritten as an augmented sixth { C E G A }.[5] Rearranging and transposing, this gives { A C E F }, a virtual minor version of the German augmented sixth chord.[6] Again like the typical +6, this enharmonic interpretation gives on a resolution irregular for the minor seventh but normal for the augmented sixth chord, where the 2 voices at the enharmonic major second converge to unison or diverge to octave.[7]

Minor/minor seventh chord table[edit]

Chord Root Minor third Perfect fifth Minor seventh
Cm7 C E G B
Cm7 C E G B
Dm7 D F (E) A C (B)
Dm7 D F A C
Dm7 D F A C
Em7 E G B D
Em7 E G B D
Fm7 F A C E
Fm7 F A C E
Gm7 G Bdouble flat (A) D F (E)
Gm7 G B D F
Gm7 G B D F
Am7 A C (B) E G
Am7 A C E G
Am7 A C E (F) G
Bm7 B D F A
Bm7 B D F A

The just minor seventh chord is tuned in the ratios 10:12:15:18.[8] About this sound Play  This may be found on iii, vi, and vii.[9] Another tuning may be in the ratios 48:40:32:27.[10] About this sound Play 


  1. ^ a b c d Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.230. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.229.
  3. ^ Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p.83. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  4. ^ Shirlaw, Matthew (1900). The Theory of Harmony, p.86. ISBN 978-1-4510-1534-8.
  5. ^ Ouseley, Frederick. A. Gore (1868). A Treatise on Harmony, pg. 137, Oxford, Clarendon Press.
  6. ^ Ouseley, Frederick. A. Gore (1868). A Treatise on Harmony, pg. 143ff, Oxford, Clarendon Press.
  7. ^ Christ, William (1966). Materials and Structure of Music, v.2, p. 154. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. LOC 66-14354.
  8. ^ David Wright (2009). Mathematics and Music, p.141. ISBN 978-0-8218-4873-9.
  9. ^ Wright, David (2009). Mathematics and Music, p.140-41. ISBN 978-0-8218-4873-9.
  10. ^ François-Joseph Fétis and Mary I. Arlin (1994). Esquisse de l'histoire de l'harmonie, p.97n55. ISBN 0-945193-51-3.