Those_Dominating_Dominant_Sevenths

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					Title:
Those Dominating Dominant Sevenths

Word Count:
481

Summary:
Musicians love their dominant sevenths. Why do they love them so much? Do
dominant sevenths deserve so much attention at the expense of other hard
working tax paying seventh chords like major and minor sevenths?

To start with, let’s examine what a dominant seventh chord is. In its
basic form, this chord has four different notes sounding simultaneously,
with the spacing of three, three and four semitones between each of its
notes (going from the lowest note to the highest n...


Keywords:
piano lessons, learning piano, chords, dominant sevenths


Article Body:
Musicians love their dominant sevenths. Why do they love them so much? Do
dominant sevenths deserve so much attention at the expense of other hard
working tax paying seventh chords like major and minor sevenths?

To start with, let’s examine what a dominant seventh chord is. In its
basic form, this chord has four different notes sounding simultaneously,
with the spacing of three, three and four semitones between each of its
notes (going from the lowest note to the highest note). Here is a list of
twelve different dominant seventh chords:

G, B, D and F
G#, B#, D# and F#
A, C#, E and G
Bb, D, F and Ab
B, D#, F# and A
C, E, G and Bb
C#, E#, G# and B
D, F#, A and C
Eb, G, Bb and Db
E, G#, B and D
F, A, C and Eb
F#, A#, C# and E

The above twelve chords belong to the following major and minor keys
respectively: C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, Ab, A, Bb and B.

The chords are called dominant sevenths because their bottom note starts
on the fifth degree (called the dominant) of the scale. They also have a
top note placed seven letters above the bottom note; hence, the word
seventh appears in dominant seventh. For example, our first above listing
is G, B, D and F. G is the fifth note in C major or C minor. As well, the
F is seven letters above the bottom G (G, A, B, C, D, E and F… we count
all of the letters including the G and F).

Dominant seventh chords are popular for a number of reasons. They are
versatile in that they can be effectively stacked into a more complex
chord. Again, let’s use the first listing to demonstrate this. If we add
another note overtop of our first chord, we get the following: G, B, D, F
and A. This is called a dominant ninth chord. Similarly, we can build
eleventh and thirteenth chords by using the same stacking technique.
Dominant chords of this variety, when arranged skilfully, open the door
to a whole new harmonic vocabulary in many styles of jazz.

Dominant sevenths also play a significant roll in different types of
cadences. A cadence is a chord progression at the end of a music phrase,
section or composition. The most common progression involving a dominant
or dominant seventh chord is a 5-1 (called a perfect) cadence. Other
common chord sequences involving dominant and dominant seventh chords
include the following:

•2-5-1

•1-4-5-1

•3-6-2-5-1

The five in the above chord progressions signifies a dominant chord,
which is often substituted with a dominant seventh, ninth, eleventh or
thirteenth chord. As a final note, dominant seventh, ninth, eleventh and
thirteenth chords are easily altered by raising or lowering the fifth
and/or ninth note degree of the chord.

				
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posted:12/17/2010
language:English
pages:2