This article on the dominant 7th chord C7 chord will cover its notes, intervals, associated scales, patterns on the fretboard, open, movable, and barre patterns, piano note layouts, inversions, fingering, etc.
Read the complete article below to learn all about playing the C7 chord!
What is a Dominant Seventh Chord?
We covered the dominant and seventh chords in detail in our articles on these topics. We also detailed the harmonic functions of the dominant seventh chords and their comparisons with the other chords, like triads, major, and minor 7th chords. The article also included a section on “How & When To Use A Dominant 7th Chord.”
Another article on secondary dominants touched upon the secondary functions and the use of secondary dominant 7th chords.
To briefly summarize, the dominant major triad built on the 5th scale degree of the major scale has a strong tendency to resolve to the scale’s tonic. This is due to the presence of the 7th and 2nd scale degree notes, which are dissonant and tend to resolve to the 1(8) and 1 degree, respectively.
The addition of the 4th-degree note to form the dominant seventh chord further increases the dissonance due to the introduction of the tritone between the 7th and 4th degrees. The 4th degree tends to resolve to the 3rd degree, which is an integral part of the tonic chord.
Music Theory, Notes & Intervals Of The C7 Chord
As stated above, the dominant chords are built with the fifth note of a major scale as the root and the constitution [5 7 2 4]. In the C Major scale, the Dominant seventh chord is G7 with notes [G B D F].
The intervals of the Dominant 7th chords are R – M3 – m3 – m3, and the notes are at R – M3 – P5 – m7 intervals from the root. Observe the minor seventh interval for the 7th note.
The C7 is the dominant seventh chord built with notes [C E G Bb] in the F major Scale.
You can consider it to be formed by stacking a minor third interval over the C Chord, which is the dominant triad in the F Scale.
C7 Chord Scales
The C7 dominant chord naturally occurs in
- F major scale and all its modes.
- F Melodic minor and all its modes.
- G Melodic minor and all its modes.
- F Harmonic Minor and all its modes.
- F Harmonic Major and all its modes.
How To Play The C7 Chord
Let us now discuss how to play these chords on the guitar and the piano keyboard.
C7 Chord Guitar
In this section, we shall look into the various chord positions on the guitar fretboard, which shall be a mixture of open, movable, and Barre chords. For the C7 chord, there are very limited options for the open positions. Hence the majority comprises the movable and Barre Forms.
Map Chords Along All The Fretboard
Let us look at how these tones are spread out within an octave (and a few frets further) on the different strings of the fretboard. The diagram below shows the chord root notes in orange color.
C Dominant Seventh Chord – Guitar Chord Shapes And Fingerings
You can now observe the three individual guitar chord diagram types – Open, Movable, and Barre.
The numbers shown in the black circle are the fret numbers. The zero represents that the corresponding string has to be played in an open position. While an X means that the string should not be played at all or muted.
The numbers in red circles denote the fret to be played along with the corresponding finger number. The 1 denotes the index finger, 2 the middle finger, 3 the ring finger, and 4 the little finger.
The two open-position voicings of the C7 chord, O1, and O2, are shown below.
10 movable position voicings of the C7 chord are shown in the diagrams below, numbered M1 to M10. Their explanations are as under:
- M1 and M2 are three-finger voicings up to fret 3. M1 has an omitted 5th, while M2 has the omitted root note.
- M3 to M5 are four-finger voicings up to fret 3. M3 has a root at the A string, M4 on the B string, while M5 has two roots, one each at B and A strings.
- M6 is a three-finger voicing at the 8th position, with the root at the Low e string.
- M7 and M8 are four-finger voicings at the 8th position. M7 has an omitted 5th and two roots at the Low e and G string. M8 has a root on the 6th string.
- M9 and M10 are 4-note voicings with roots on the 4th and 2nd String. M10 voicing has an omitted 5th.
The chord diagrams for 6 Barre shapes B1 to B6 are shown below with explanations as under:
- B1 and B2. These are based on the open A7-shaped Barre chord. B1 has an omitted root.
- B3 – Based on the open G7 shape.
- B4 and B5 – Based on open E7 chord shape.
- Based on the Open G7 shape.
Inversion Of The C7 Chord
As the C7 chord has four notes, it has three chord inversions, as shown below.
- First Inversion C7/E with notes [E G Bb C]. The Bass note is E.
- Second Inversion C7/G with notes [G Bb C E]. The lowest note is G
- Third Inversion C7/Bb with notes [Bb C E G]. The Bass note is Bb.
Chord Diagrams – C7 Chord Inversions
The chord diagrams for the inversions of the C7 guitar chords are shown below as I1, I2, and I3, where I1 is the first inversion, I2 the second, and I3 the third inversion.
C7 Chord Piano
We now come to the C7 chord’s layout on the Piano keyboard, along with the inversions and the fingerings.
C7 Chord For Piano With Keyboard Diagram.
The keyboard diagram with the notes of the C7 chord in the root position marked in red on the required keys is shown below.
Fingerings – Left Hand
If you want to play with your left hand, you need the fingering pattern 5 – 3 – 2 – 1, where 5 is the little finger, and 1 is the thumb. So use,
- Left Little finger for note C.
- Left Middle finger for the note E.
- Left Index Finger for note G.
- Left thumb for note Bb.
Fingerings – Right Hand
To play the C7 chord with your right hand, use the fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5. The numbering system for both hands is the same. The thumb is always called 1. So use,
- Right for note C.
- Right Index Finger for the note E.
- Right Middle Finger for note G.
- Right Little Finger for note Bb.
Piano Chords In Inversions With Fingerings
Let us now have a look at the inversions of the C7 chord. The diagrams and their fingerings are.
The keyboard diagram for the C7/E, the first inversion, is shown below.
The fingering arrangement for the 1st inversion is
- Right Hand – 1 – 2 – 4 – 5.
- Left Hand – 5 – 3 – 2 – 1
The keyboard diagram for the C7/G, the second inversion, is shown below.
The fingering arrangement for the 2nd inversion is
- Right Hand – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5.
- Left Hand – 5 – 3 – 2 – 1
The keyboard diagram for the C7/Bb, the third position (inversion), is shown below.
The fingering arrangement for the 3rd inversion is
- Right Hand – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5.
- Left Hand – 5 – 4 – 2 – 1
We hope that this article on playing the C7 chord on guitar and piano has been useful to you. If you have any doubts, feel free to comment in the section below.