The 7th Element

The 7th Element

There is this chord structure in music called the 7th. I refer to it as the 7th element. It adds some beautiful tension to chords that make them pop onto your ear drums in quintessential exquisiteness that makes you go, “AH!” You may see it in chord charts and other musical forms as C Maj7, Am7,  D7, of F Dim7. These chords are examples of the 4 most common types of 7th chords in use today.   But What is it really? What is this thing the 7th?

Let us take a look at some of the chords that exist in common usage today. For example the C Major 7 is made up of C, E, G, and B and is formed when all the notes are played simultaneously. This is how it works. In the key of C, the scale is listed as C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.  C is counted as #1 and each successive note  in the scale gets the next position in the scale. So for the C Major Scale, C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, F is 4, G is 5, A is 6, and B is 7.   C Major is usually C E G (1 3 5)  and adding the B (7) adds a lot more color or tension to the chord.

Before your eyes glaze over with all the the Math of Music I want to let you know I will explore the other types of 7th chords in a later post. Earlier I mentioned that 7th Chords are used to make music more interesting as they add musical tension to the music they are a part of. As the chords resolve to the next chord, they can release or strengthen the tension as the composer or performer interprets it.

Similarly in life you can sometimes see the effects of the “tension chords” of our lives, those intense moments that can be seen as stressors or stepping stones. I view these moments as stepping stones. On of the Stepping Stones is Faith. I have faith that God will see me through. I also Have Hope that when things seem Diminished I know that it is just a passing phase. This is one the the things that make it easier to keep on Playing It By Ear.

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