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Major 7 chords: bad?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Davidoc, Jun 3, 2002.

  1. Is it just me, or do Major 7 chords sound bad. i was thinking about it, and the M7 and root create a minor second, which sounds bad.

    The whole chord sounds nasty to me.

    Whatta you think about it?
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    No -- fire bad!
  3. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Columbia, MO
    You just have to use them right. If you use a dominant 7 on the wrong place it sounds bad to. You can even make non-tertian chords sound pretty if you do it right.
  4. LOL! Napster Bad! :D

    It's probably just you. This whole music thing is a personal preference. If you think Maj7 chords sound bad then that's just the way you feel.
  5. I agree :)... the 7th Interval is where Harmony begins to spiral off into everything unrelated to the root you started with. if music was as perfect as people have spent the last 400 (?) years trying to make it, the Major 7th would be one of the nicest sounding intervals in music and every piano would be perfectly tuned :). As a scalar tone the Maj7 sounds good but as an interval with the root.. ugh... let alone being played on a bass where any dischordance between notes is amplified.

  6. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Columbia, MO
    Try playing a ii7 V7 I7 progression, and then tell me Major 7 chords are ugly. You probably are just voicing them incorrectly. They even sound good on bass is you voice them right.
  7. I just thought about something else... an actual Maj7th Chord... played without the 5th... as a Root/3/7 chord... gives you an interesting sound because the Maj3 and the Maj7 create a 5th interval amongst themselves which makes the strongest interval in the chord NOT tending towards the "root" of the chord... Even if you throw the 5th in there, you end up with two 5th intervals almost "fighting" with each other for harmonic superiority, with the 3rd relationship between the two denoting the root as being the actual root... which is the mathematical reasoning behind why someone would think Maj7th chords sound "bad"...

    A minor or dominant 7th chord on the other hand mathematically points to the root much more strongly than a Maj7th chord... Mathematically and to your ears. However, a Maj 7 interval is a "Major" interval because it's one of the closest related notes to the root. This descrepancy is either the reason why music is stupid and we should all stop trying to play it or why it's such a fascinating thing that has endless possibilities for exploration, and why it's so accurately able to represent the nuances of the human experience, something numbers by themselves would never be able to do.

    So there :)


    P.S. Of course all of this is subject to personal interpretation and anything can sound "good" or "bad" to anyone...
  8. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Columbia, MO
    Vertical Harmony is not the same as Chord progression. In a chord progression a V or viio often lead to the I. However in a harmony the 5th does not strengthen the root. A 5th has no harmonic content in a chord.(unless dim./tritone)

    What any of us think is irrelivent, b/c according to tonal harmony a M7 is consanant(sp?). If one of thinks it isn't it is a problem with our ears not the chord.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I love Major 7ths...pretty sounding, IMO.

    I also like that little 'trick' of modulating up a 1/2 step on the last chord using Major 7ths.
    I forget the exact rule...I think it may be the modulated chord's major 7th = the previous chord's ROOT.

    Anyway, an example would be-
    Suppose the tune is supposed to end on a Fmaj7...& suppose that chord is voiced F-A-C-E(low to high).
    Now, rather than ending on that Fmaj7, modulate UP a 1/2 step to F#maj7...this chord should be voiced F#-A#-C#-E#.
    The E# = F...the maj 7th = the previous chord's ROOT.
  10. Play E and F at the same time. Sounds pretty right?
    I really don't like that last interval.
  11. D. Matthews

    D. Matthews

    Apr 16, 2001
    Context is everything.
  12. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Columbia, MO
    Your not using it right. Here is a proper voicing of a ii7 V7 I7. There are other better examples but this is easy to play.

  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    in a song I'm writing I have an
    A - D - E chord
    as normal notes that sounds pretty dissonant
    but when the A is solid and D-E are harmonics, the chord sounds sooo cool.
    so there is definatly a "how your playing it" factor
    and there is also personal preference
    I personally like 7th chords a bunch, and use them alot.
  14. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Me too. Very pretty.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    If you're being sarcastic... ;)
    It depends how it's voiced; I'm thinking Chicago's "Colour My World" as an example or even "Call On Me".
    On a guitar, one such voicing would be-
    "G"- 5th fret "D"-string
    "B"- 4th fret "G"-string
    "D"- 3rd fret "B"-string
    "F#"-2nd fret "E"-string

    Another one I like is the BASIC "C" chord that everyone learns the first day they own a guitar...to make that "form" a Major 7, merely remove the 1st finger from the chord(the "C" becomes a "B"...Barring that chord form up the neck is pretty, IMO).

    Granted, if one were to play, on the bass, an OPEN "E" with a "D#" on the "A"-string...yeah, that's dissonant(& I like that, too!). ;)
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    Major 7ths are beautiful sounding chords. The original issue of having the 1/2 step between the 7th and the root is a mostly a matter of voicing. You just don't usually voice them 1/2 step apart. In the instance where the melody note is the root, a 6 chord is substituted for the Major 7th.

    Mike Dimin
  17. Thanks for the information! I guess it's in the voicing.

    In the process of learning piano (learning by figuring stuff out), I figured it was easier to play a major 7 chord with one hand by placing the 7th as the lowest note- right before the root. Maybe if I voice it differently it will sound pretty. I think the real way you're supposed to do it is voice big chords with more than one hand, and leave holes in em for other instruments to fill in for.
  18. The chord by itself is nothing significant, but when placed in the right progression it can easily be the most important. Listen to Giant Steps......
  19. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    If you have another instrument playing the bass (such as a bass?), you can omit the root. Most of the time you can remove the 5th without losing anything (but the 5th ;)) as well. So for a Maj7 you would only play the 3 and M7 notes.

    One of many possible ways to do it...
  20. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Actually I believe a M7 interval is a sharp dissonance?

    However, M7 is not really an ugly chord actually its the chord other chords tend to resolve to in Jazz tunes.

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