Major seventh chord

{{Image frame|content= { override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f ew PianoStaff << ew Staff << elative c' { stemUp clef treble key g major ime 4/4 1fermata } >> ew Staff << elative c { clef bass key g major ime 4/4 1fermata ar "|." } >> >> } |width=300|caption=Dizzy Gillespie's 1956 recording of "Dizzy's Business" ends with a major seventh chord with root on G.}}In music, a major seventh chord is a seventh chord in which the third is a major third above the root and the seventh is a major seventh above the root. The major seventh chord, sometimes also called a Delta chord, can be written as maj, M, , ⑦, etc. For example, the major seventh chord built on C, commonly written as Cmaj, has pitches C–E–G–B:

: { override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f elative c' { clef treble ime 4/4 key c major 1 } }

It can be represented by the integer notation {0, 4, 7, 11}.

According to Forte, the major seventh chord is exemplified by IV, which originates melodically.

: { override Score.SpacingSpanner.strict-note-spacing = ##t set Score.proportionalNotationDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1/6) ew PianoStaff << ew Staff << ew Voice elative c'' { stemUp clef treble key c major ime 4/4 f4 e d2 } ew Voice elative c'' { stemDown 2 } >> ew Staff << elative c { clef bass key c major ime 4/4 f2_markup { concat { "IV" hspace #1 "IV" super column { "7" } hspace #1 "V" } } g } >> >> }

The just major seventh chord is
tuned in the ratios 8:10:12:15, as a just major chord is tuned 4:5:6 and a just major seventh is tuned 15:8.

The minor-minor sixth chord (minor triad with an added minor sixth) is an inversion of this chord.


In 1888, the French composer Erik Satie composed three slow waltzes, entitled Gymnopédies. The first and best-known of these alternates two major seventh chords. The first eight measures (shown below) alternate between Gmaj and Dmaj.

: ew PianoStaff << ew Staff << ew Voice elative c'' { clef treble key d major ime 4/4 empo "Lent et douloureux" voiceOne R2. R2. R2. R2. r4 fis( a g fis cis b cis d a2.) } ew Voice elative c' { override DynamicLineSpanner.staff-padding = #2 voiceTwo stemUp crossStaff { override Stem.length = #7 r4pp 2 r4 2 r4 2 r4 2 r4 2 r4 2 r4 2 r4 2 } } ew Voice elative c' { dynamicUp s2. s2. s2. s2. s4 s2< s2. s2 s4!> s2 s4! } >> ew Staff << ew Voice elative c' { clef bass key d major ime 3/4 voiceOne stemUp override Stem.length = #8 s4 crossStaff { b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 s4 b2 s4 a2 } } ew Voice elative c { voiceTwo g2. d g d g d g d } >> >>

Later examples of tonic major seventh chords include Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are", Joseph Kosma's "Autumn Leaves", Antônio Carlos Jobim's "The Girl from Ipanema", The Beatles' "This Boy", Bread's "Make It With You", America's "Tin Man", Ambrosia's How Much I Feel, Blood Sweat & Tears' "You've Made Me So Very Happy", The Spinners' "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love", Al Wilson's "Show and Tell", third and main part of Paul McCartney and Wings' "Band On The Run", Carly Simon's "The Right Thing To Do", "Raydio's "You Can't Change That", Rupert Holmes' "Him" and Chicago's "Colour My World".

Common in jazz since the Jazz Age of the 1920s, major seventh chords appeared frequently in compositions of genres influenced by jazz in the subsequent decades, such as traditional pop, bossa nova, and easy listening. Moving into the 1970s to replace the prominence of the dominant seventh chord as a stable tonic more common in the first fifteen years of the rock era, the major seventh was common in all styles, "pervading soul, country rock, soft rock, MOR (middle-of-the-road styles), jazz rock, funk, and disco." Music theorist Ken Stephenson continues:

In soul and disco, a tonic minor seventh harmony often alternated with a dominant seventh or dominant ninth chord on Pieces which feature prominent major seventh chords include: Chick Corea's "Litha", Vince Guaraldi Trio's Christmas Time Is Here, Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge", John Lennon's "Imagine", Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower", Carole King's "It's Too Late", Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens", Antonio Jobim's "Dindi", Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge", Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird", Tyler the Creator's "Earfquake", Smashing Pumpkin's "1979", Sugar Ray's "Someday", "This Guy's in Love with You" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds's Fallin' In Love, Nicolette Larson's Lotta Love, England Dan & John Ford Coley's "We'll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again", The Spinners' "I'll Be Around", and Tower of Power's "So Very Hard to Go".

Major seventh chord table


Major seventh chords for guitar

In standard tuning, the left is the low E string. To the right of the | is another way of playing the same chord. x means mute the string. (The Amaj demonstrates the movable chord shapes.)

  • Amaj: xx7654 | xxx224 | xx7999 | x02120 | 576655
  • Bmaj: x24342 | 7988xx
  • Cmaj: x35453 | x32000
  • Dmaj: xx0222 | x57675
  • Emaj: xx2444 | 021100
  • Fmaj: xx3555 | 103210 | xx3210
  • Gmaj: xx5777 | 320002