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Introduction to Movable Dominant 7th Chords

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This tutorial is an introduction to barred & movable dominant 7th chords. This tutorial assumes you already know all the basic open position major chords and dominant chords A through G. It also assumes you understand and can play basic barre chords. By the end of this tutorial you should know how to use E, A, C and D barred and, or movable chord shapes to play dominant 7th chords.

Now that you know all the open position major chords A through G, we are ready to learn their Dominant 7th Chord variations. Dominant 7th Chord is created by playing the same notes as a Major Chord but it also includes the minor 7th note from the respective scale.

This means that if you are going to play an A Major Chord, you are looking for a way to isolate and play only these notes from the A Major Scale:

  • Root or 1st
  • Major 3rd
  • Perfect 5th

    Any A major chord you already know how to play is essentially a way of isolating and playing various combination of only those three notes from the A major scale. In order to play an A Dominant 7th chord we need to isolate and play these notes:

  • Root or 1st
  • Major 3rd
  • Perfect 5th
  • Minor 7th

    Notice that the 7th is Minor and therefore from the A minor scale. This combination of notes from the major scale and minor scale is what gives the Dominant 7th chord it's distinctive sound. It is also why many of the shapes we will learn in this tutorial introducing Dominant 7th chords are very close to the original set of major chords we learned, frequently with only one note changed, added or altered.

    Finally, it should be noted that most times you see a Dominant 7 notated in music it is just with the letter and the number seven. Like this: A7. It is rarely notated with the word Dominant also. It can be but usually isn't. This is because, like Major with a major chord, it is just assumed as the default setting.