A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Coursera – DYM Lesson 6 videos (3)

Video #3 for the 6th, and final, lesson of Coursera’s online Developing Your Musicianship class reviews all of the chords that were introduced in prior lessons: the triads and 7ths.

3. Review: The Major and Minor Triad, Major 7th and Dominant 7th Chords (7:51)

Continuing from the last video, in which he spoke about the major scale, Professor Russell opens this video with, “Now, another thing we learned was a major triad and a minor triad. These were the first chords we learned and we’re going to get those chords right from the major scale.” He plays a C major scale on the piano and then explains that a major triad would consist of the root (the 1st degree of the scale), the third (3rd degree of the scale) and the fifth (5th degree of the scale). He calls what he just played the 1-chord, “because its built upon the first degree of the scale.”

He further explains that if we played the 4-chord, or 4 major triad, that it would be built on the 4th degree of the scale, which is an F (F-A-C) and the 5-chord would be built on the 5th degree of the scale – a G (G-B-D). Those three chords are called C major, F major and G major (the 1-chord, 4-chord and 5-chord in the key of C) and they’re used in a huge amount of songs.

Next, he discuses minor triads, which are basically major triads with a flatted 3rd and result in a darker sound. This makes the minor 1-chord C-Eb-G, the minor 4-chord F-Ab-C and the minor 5-chord G-Bb-D. He plays both the major and minor triads on C and F to illustrate the difference in sound and then moves on to 7th chords.

“Now, another chord that we dealt with was the major 7th chord,” he begins. He shows how these are constructed by taking a major triad and then adding the 7th degree of the scale. So, in C, the notes are C-E-G-B. Doing this with the 4-chord, or F, results in F-A-C-E.

With the examples of 7th chords done, he explains that the previous chords were played in root position. This is when the notes of the chord are played in sequential order – 1, 3, 5, 7. He then says, “Now, if I wanted to change the position, or change the inversion, in this case we’ll call it a different position, what I’m going to do is I’m going to take this 7th degree and put it down here.” He moved the 7th on his right hand to the 7th right before the root note on his right hand. “So now you have 7, root, 3rd, 5th, and then I’ll take the root and I’ll put it in the bass.” He moves the 1 and places it an octave below, in his left hand.

“So, now you have root in the bass, the 7th, the 3rd and the 5th. This is also a C major 7 chord, only its voiced a little differently.” He adds that he calls this the 735 voicing. He shows an example in F next – F major 7 using the 735 voicing. He says the easiest way to construct this voicing is to take a triad and move the root down 1/2 a step and put the root in the bass. the note that’s a 1/2 step below the original root is the 7 and then when the root moves into the bass side, the chord becomes 1-7-3-5.

Finally, he moves onto the dominant 7th chord. He shows how to build it by comparing it to the major 7th chord. The major 7th is 1-3-5-7. The dominant is 1-3-5-b7. All that needs to be done is flatting the 7th, or moving it down 1/2 a step or 1 fret on the bass. This results in C dominant 7 being C-E-G-Bb and F dominant 7 being F-A-C-Eb. Those are, of course, the dominant 1-chord and dominant 4-chord.

To close, he then voices the dominant 7th using the 735 voicing. This is played as 1-b7-3-5.


One response

  1. Pingback: Coursera – Developing Your Musicianship Lesson 6 | Ugly Bass Face

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