The m7 chord is a beautiful chord. It might actually be my favourite.
But what is it?
On this page we'll answer that as well as:
Note: you can skip the technical explanations below and go straight to chord charts and playing m7 chords by clicking here.
The m7 chord is a minor seventh chord. It's made up of 3 parts.
Part 1: the root note.
Part 2: the "m".
Part 3: the 7.
The root note tells you what note is the root or what note is the bottom of the chord. This can include a sharp or a flat.
In am7, a is the root.
In f#m7, f# or f sharp is the root.
In bbm7, bb or b flat is the root.
(Note, minor chords are technically supposed to be written lowercase for their root note so that's what you'll find here.)
The m stands for minor. So this means that there is a minor chord as part of this chord.
For example. let's look at am7 chord. Am is the first part. This means play the a minor chord - A C E.
(Need to learn about minor chords? Click here.)
What does the 7 mean?
It stands for the 7th note of the scale. Technically, it means you play the seventh note of the scale (with the minor chord) and lower it a semi-tone.
For example, in cm7, the seventh note of C major scale is B. You need to lower that and play B flat.
You can learn about both of those things here on this site but you don't have to. Go to to chord chart section next if you want to see the notes of the chords and skip the technical explanation.
The formula for the m7 (and every other) chord is based off of the major scale. This is how the m7 chord is formed:
1, lowered 3, 5, lowered 7
Remember that to lower a note means to take it down a semi tone.
A sharp will become a natural and a natural will become a flat.
To write a minor seventh chord, you can build up from the root. If you know key signatures of minor scales, you can use the 1, 3, 5, and 7th note of the minor scale to make the chord.
Otherwise, build it using the formula above.
Let's go through an example and make dm7.
The key signature of D major has F# and C#. The rest are white notes. So if we take the 1, 3, 5, and 7th notes of the scale we get D, F#, A, C#. Now lower the third - F# becomes F and lower the 7th - C# becomes C. The chord is D F A C.
You don't have to know how to make a m7 or minor seventh chord to be able to play it. You can have a reference and memorize the chords or just use it as you play them. You'll eventually remember.
When you first start playing minor seventh chords on the piano, you may find it a bit of a stretch for your hand. It's good to start playing them this way and get used to the feeling and do the stretch.
Fingers to use are:
Right hand: fingers 1 2 4 5.
Left hand: fingers 5 4 2 1.
So just not the middle finger when in root position.
You don't have to play m7 chords in the order they are written. You can add the seventh note to the bottom of the chord making it easier to play. If you're still getting used to this type of chord though, I'd recommend keeping it in root position for a while and getting that hand stretched out!
To practice minor seventh chords on the piano, here are a few chord progressions to start out with.
m7 Chord Progression 1:
Starting simple, we're just going to work one m7 chord in here.
C F am7 G
Chord Progression 2:
G D em7 C
m7 Only Chord Progressions:
1. am7 em7 dm7 em7
2. gm7 bbm7 cm7 gm7
3. bm7 f#m7 g#m7 bm7
4. cm7 fm7 gm7 fm7
I recorded this piano music using mainly m7 chords - there's one E7 chord (E G# B D) but other than that they are all minor seventh chords.
The chord progression I used for this music was:
am7 em7 am7 em7
dm7 am7 dm7 E7
am7 em7 dm7 em7
As you'll be able to hear, you can do a lot by just playing a few chords!
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