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    Music Theory

    How I Simplified minor 7 chords for piano

    August 7, 2018

    I began teaching my piano students chording and they encountered challenges with minor 7 chords. So this is my way to make it easier. For some reason it’s hard to see and think a minor 7th visually. So change the way you look at it. The minor seventh chord is actually just a version of the I chord and very similar. It just adds a bass note a third below. C#m7 is just an E chord with a C# in the bass. An E chord is pretty simple to play and remember. But C#m takes some mental gymnastics.

    Let’s use c#m7 for example since it’s frequently used when playing in the key of E and is spelled (C#EG#B)

    1. Play the 1st note of the chord in the left hand (c#)
    2. Take the 3rd (E) and think of it as a major E chord made from the 3rd, 5th, 7th (EG#B)
    1. It’s easier to think of c#m7 as E/C# for piano and even beginning guitarists can play this chord as an E since the bass and piano are carrying the C#
    2. I often write these substitutions above the minor 7 chord until the chord becomes friendly
    3. Common chord substitutions are

    Am7 –A in the LH and C chord (CEG) in the RH

    Bm7 B in the LH and D chord (DF#A) in the RH

    C#m7 C# in LH and E chord in RH (EG#B)

    Gm7- G in the LH and  B chord (BD#F#) in the RH

    Dm7 is D in LH and F chord in RH (FAC)

    Em7 is E in LH and G chord in RH (GBD)

    If you haven’t tried it, see what you think. My students and I typically find it easier.

    Other theory Blogs you might enjoy:

    What Key are you playing in?

    Why some songs are hard to sing


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