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Clarity -- C7, Cm7, CM7

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by iceshaft07, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. iceshaft07


    Mar 4, 2007
    I'm trying to make sure I get this right:
    C7 = root, 3rd, 7th
    CM7 = root, 3rd, 5th, 7th
    Cm7 = root, minor 3rd, 5th, minor 7th

    So is there a minor version of C7? like root, minor 3rd, minor 7th?
  2. C major 7(or Cmaj7 or C(little triangle)7) = root - major 3rd - perfect 5th - major 7th = C E G B

    C7(or C dominant 7th) = root - major 3rd - perfect 5th - minor 7th = C E G B flat

    Cmin7(or C-7) = root - minor 3rd - perfect 5th - minor 7th = C E flat G B flat

    C half diminished 7(or C-7b5 or C(little circle with a line through it)7) = root - minor 3rd - diminished 5th - minor 7th = C E flat G flat B flat

    C diminished 7(or C(little circle without the line through it) = root - minor 3rd - diminished 5th - diminished 7th = C - E flat - G flat - B double flat (or A spelled enharmonically)
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    C7 has a 5th and a flattened 7th.
  4. iceshaft07


    Mar 4, 2007
    Awesome, thanks!
  5. Funny; I was just asking my guitar player (formally trained) about this last night.

    Thanks for the post!
  6. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    upper case 'M' (i.e. CM7) to denote Cmaj7 is horrible, ambiguous and shouldn't be used

    jazz musicians sometimes like to use a little triangle to denote a major7 chord but it's not perfect either... judging from the scruffy notation of most jazzers, how they do stuff is not to be taken as gospel
  7. Agreed on the capital M. I don't mind the triangle but it can look like a circle with bad penmanship.

    As good a standard as any for jazz is the way it is done in the old real books. Any working jazz musician has seen this notation and knows exactly what it means:

    C(little circle with a line through it)7
    C(empty circle)7

    I can't stand seeing min7b5, just a pet peeve of mine.
  8. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    There are assorted types of chord symbol notation floating around. Like the M7, triangle, slashed 7 and so on. There are even labels like East Coast, West Coast,Berklee and European I've heard different type called over the years. What's right, wrong, confusing, doesn't matter learn to recognized them so when playing a gig you can play the right thing.

    Then after the gig with a check in hand having a beer you can talk about how bad the charts were.
  9. Absolutely. On the other hand, adopting a clear and consistent style with your own charts is a good thing to do.
  10. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Then it would be C7(b5). Unless the only music you ever play is bebop.
  11. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    C7 and C7(b5) are two different chords.

    C7 is spelled C E G Bb

    C7(b5) is C E Gb Bb

    The symbol "C7" would allow for that alteration anyway without explicitly stating b5 but it just keeps everyone on the same page so that when the piano player plays Gb the bass player doesn't walk with a G natural.
  12. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    I use the old convention that Malamute speaks of. It not only is way easier to show to band mates if a certain chord is major, minor or 7 (I rarely use diminished/augmented chords in a rock setting), it is way easier on the eyes after a certain scribbled piece of paper has been photocopied 5 times in 4 years with spilled beer on it.

    That little triangle = major thing has always bugged me to no end.
  13. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    OK, clarifications.

    C7 is the dominant seventh chord (major-minor). R-3-5-b7.

    Cm7 is the minor-minor seventh chord: R-b3-5-b7.

    CM7 or CMaj7 is different; Maj doesn't refer to the quality of the chord but to the seventh. '7' just by itself is assumed to be dominant (minor), so C7 is understood as above, and CMaj7 is not synonymous; it's the major-major seventh chord or R-3-5-7. It's often written C(Maj7) to ameliorate this confusion.

    Cm7(b5) is the half-diminished chord: R-b3-b5-b7 (the full-diminished chord uses a double-flatted seventh). There are two major ways it is written; as above, and as Cdim(b7). The second of the two is technically the more proper way, since chords are noted according to the quality of their triad, and other notes in the chord (6, 7, 9, etc) are additions to that triad, so a flat 3rd and 5th makes it a diminished triad, to which a dominant seventh is added. Cdim7 is generally understood as the full-diminished chord, as a double-flatted seventh is a sixth, and a major or minor chord with a diminished seventh is notated as a sixth chord.
  14. one more time

  15. I have never seen Cdim(b7). You will often see Cmin7b5.

    In analysis of classical music you will sometimes see that set of four notes referred to as an incomplete dominant 9th, but that's a whole other can of worms.
  16. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    For real. Anyone who has been given a chart with CM7/Cm7 to differentiate major and minor can cringe simultaneously. I think that Cmaj7 and C-7 are what I prefer to see. I'm not crazy about the triangle for major.
  17. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I use these designations:

    C[sup]maj7[/sup] - C, E, G, B
    Cm7 - C, Eb, G, Bb
    C7 - C, E, G, Bb
    Cm[sup](maj7)[/sup] - C, Eb, G, B

    with the addition of e.g. [sup]#5 [/sup]or [sup]b5[/sup] whenever necessary.

    The different designations used for the same chords can get rather confusing....
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Actually, that's not true at all. Here are some guidelines to chord naming:

    The term "major" in the chord symbol ALWAYS refers to the 7th - otherwise the 7th is considered dominant.

    The term "minor" in the chord symbol ALWAYS refers to the 3rd - otherwise the 3rd will be a major.

    The term "diminished" refers to the entire chord - b3, b5, bb7.

    Alterations are addressed individually.
  19. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    I wouldn't take that post as gospel either. On the other hand if you don't want to be "horrible and ambiguous" just stick with power chords and life will be lovely.
  20. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I think the point was that CM7 is too open for being mixed up with Cm7. I vote for Cmaj7 or perhaps Cma7 to be used instead.

    I don't get the point of your last sentence at all. It's just about chord designation and avoiding confusion... There should definitely be a world standard on chord designation. Having three/four ways to describe the same chord is just open for confusion.

    There's not only one way to write power chords either, for that sake. Some write a powerchord on C as "C5", which really doesn't make sense, but is easy to read. C(omit3) is harder to read but is theoretically more accurate....

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