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Difference between Fmajor7 and F7


Here's a copy of a PM I sent to Pete, which he has asked me to post on the forum as the answer is quite complex:

Hi Pete,

So far I've only really been practising the major scales so I started on your book to widen my practice sessions. However I'm a bit confused because page 3 bar 5 of the first exercise shows F Major (F7) arpeggio with an Eb in the key signature rather than just the Bb.
Also, could you explain the symbol in bar 7 on the A7 scale? (The o with the diagonal line through it).

page 3 bar 5 of the first exercise shows F Major (F7) arpeggio with an Eb in the key signature rather than just the Bb.

Very quick answer for now:

For each each key you can "build" a chord on each degree of the scale by playing alternate notes.

So in Bb, for the first degree we take the alternate notes (bold): Bb C D Eb F G A Bb and chord is Bb D F A, called Bb major 7.

If we apply the same process to the next degree of the scale (the second degree = C), we then get this:
C D Eb F G A Bb, so the chord is C Eb G Bb, we call this a C minor 7

when we get to the fifth degree of the Bbscale, ie F, we get this chord:

F G A Bb C D Eb F = F A C Eb. The interval between the root and top note of this chord is smaller than the same interval in the Bb major 7, and this chord is called plain F7, not F major 7. Not necessarily very logical but that's the way it is.

For a more detailed explanation see my beginner jazz theory pages. But it woud also be usful for other people to add their own thoughts on this as it's always good to see things explained in different ways.

The Ø, as Nick says, will hopefully be explained fully by half Diminished (but it's also in the pages I mentioned)
Another way to look at it: the common 4-note chords are made up of a triad (two stacked intervals of a third) plus another third on top.

All the thirds are either major thirds or minor thirds. The triads can therefore be:
major (min 3 over maj 3)
minor (maj 3 over min 3)
diminished (min 3 over minor 3)
augmented (maj 3 over maj 3) NB this one crops up in minor keys not major

In the major scale (examples from C major scale) there are 4 chord types which occur:
Starting bottom up:
maj 7 chord (eg Cmaj7) = maj 3/min 3/maj 3
min 7 chord (eg Dm7, Em7, Am7) = min 3/maj 3/maj 3
7 chord (eg G7) = maj 3/min 3/min 3
m7b5 chord (eg Bm7b5 = that circle with slash through it) = min 3/min 3/min 3

Another way to look at it is to use the formula below, working out the intervals from the major scale built on the root of the chord:

maj 7 - Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th eg Cmaj7 = C E G B
min 7 - Root, b3rd, 5th, b7th eg Cmin7 = C Eb G Bb
7 - Root, 3rd, 5th, b7th eg C7 = C E G Bb
m7b5 - Root, b3rd, b5th, b7th eg Cm7b5 = C Eb Gb Bb


I personally find it easier to remember these by relating everything to the root of the chord, say it's C for example,
(You have to know the interval names for this to make sense, but they're quite easy to learn)

Then Cmajor7 is a major triad with a major 7th, so it has a major 3rd, perfect 5th and major 7th, ie C E G B
Cminor7 is a minor triad with a minor 7th, so it has a minor 3rd, perfect 5th and minor 7th, ie C Eb G Bb
C7 is a major triad with a minor 7th, so it has a major 3rd, perfect 5th and minor 7th, ie C E G Bb
CØ is a is a diminished triad with a minor 7th, so it has a minor 3rd, diminished (flattened) 5th and minor 7th, ie C Eb Gb Bb
Co is a diminished 7th, a dim triad with a diminished (in this case double-flattened) 7th, C Eb Gb A.

(I hope I typed these correctly, but it seems unlikely on my past form)
The last one doesn't seem to get used much in jazz (Mozart loved 'em though) but it makes some sense of the name half-diminished.

Of course,the next stage is to practice playing them until you don't have to work them out, your fingers just "know" where to go. I'm still working on this bit.

Just thought it was worth mentioning another viewpoint.

This is what we use to teach at our Rocksax Workshops:

A dominant 7th uses the symbol of a note name + 7. For example: C7, D7, E7, etc. It is different from the symbol used for a major 7th which is maj7. A dominant 7th is not the same as a major 7th chord. But, to form a dominant 7th you must know how to form a major 7th chord first because these two types of chords are related.
A major 7th chord is formed by playing the root (1st) + 3rd + 5th + 7th notes of a major scale. A dominant 7th is formed by simply lowering the 7th note a half step.
As an example, Cmaj7 = C - E - G - B (7th note). Lower the 7th note a half step, from B to Bb, thus Dominant 7th = C - E - G - Bb.

A big 'thank you' to all who have replied. I shall look closely at the answers and try to get a handle on it.
Now, I'm going to be really thick. :confused:I don't quite understand why we concentrate on chords for an instrument that can only play one note at a time. Explanations for the cerebrally challenged would be appreciated.
The chords are being played by the accompanying instruments - guitar, piano, etc. If you want your improvisation to fit in with what they're doing you have to know what the notes in the chords are. So if you play just chord notes you won't 'go wrong'. Of course you can play any other notes as well, it's just that they won't fit as well and some will sound horribly wrong. It's really up to your own ears to find out how much 'wrongness' you'll accept. BTW playing lots of wrong notes is often called 'playing outside', and if you're really clever you can get away with it.

To make your choices a bit easier you will find in jazz theory books (or the back of most Aebersold playalong books) lists of scales that work well with particular chords. For instance, if you see a Dm7 chord you can play a D dorian minor scale over it and it'll sound fine. Some other scales will also work, but it depends on you and the context.
BTW playing lots of wrong notes is often called 'playing outside', and if you're really clever you can get away with it.

This involves playing the wrong notes with total confidence while scowling at the rest of the band so the audience thinks it's them that have gone wrong, not you.

Lloyd, Nick doesn't mean in the garden when he refers to "outside" :))):))):)))

Well, Taz, it just so happens that I have indeed played in the garden. I equate it to something like one of those electronic devices which emit a high pitch not discernable to the human ear which keeps mosquitos at bay.

A South African friend of mine once told me that they had a similar device that they used in their garden to stop the elephants entering and trampling on their vegetables. I can only assume that I am playing at the desired pitch because I have yet to see an elephant in my garden, although I have seen some suspiciously large footrpints around my turnips.

Now that's not something you hear every day!
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