How to Play a C7 Chord on the Piano

Seventh Chords

Let’s look at how to play a C7 chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for playing any seventh chord.

What Are Seventh Chords?

Seventh chords are major chords, with an added note. The added note is the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step.

Major chords are built using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching major scale (learn how to build a major scale here). To convert a major chord into a seventh chord, we’ll add the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step.

How to Play a C7 Chord

Now let’s build a C7 chord on the piano. We’ll start by building a C major chord using the first, third and fifth notes of the C major scale: C – E – G.

Next we’ll find the seventh note of the C major scale, B, and lower it 1/2 step, to a B♭.

So to play a C7 chord on the piano, we’d play:

C – E – G – B♭

c7 chord piano

You can use this pattern to play any seventh chord on the piano. Just play a major chord, then find the seventh note of the matching major scale and lower it one-half step.

Chord Fingering

If this chord is played with the right hand, you can play it using fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 (thumb’s are 1’s). If played with the left hand, you can use fingers 5 – 3 – 2 – 1.

piano chords chart pdf printable

Chord Types Printable

Learn to play 17 types of piano chords using 12 different root notes with this 35-page PDF! Chords are sorted both by their root note and type.

Other Seventh Chords

Since there are different types of seventh chords, it can help to compare their differences:

Seventh chords are major chords with an added note. The added note is the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step.

So a C7 chord is: C – E – G – B♭

Major seventh chords are major chords with an added note. The added note is the seventh note of the matching major scale.

So a Cmaj7 chord is: C – E – G – B

Minor seventh chords are minor chords with an added note. The added note is the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step.

So a Cm7 chord is: C – E♭ – G – B♭

Other Chord Types

Some of the other chord types you can learn are:

Major
Minor
Augmented
Diminished
Second
Minor second
Fifth
Suspended
Sixth
Minor sixth
Minor seventh
Major seventh
Ninth
Minor ninth
Major ninth

Conclusion

Now you know how to build a C7 chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build any seventh chord!

Learning different types of chords is really fun, because the variations give you lots of extra possibilities at the piano. Enjoy the music!

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6 Comments

  1. Barb Vandenberg

    I just got a key board and I am going to put your great advice to work. Thank you . I am 87 years and used to play all the time but haven’t for a few years and would like to get back to it. With your help I am starting to remember some of the cords etc.

    Reply
    • Julie Swihart

      You’re welcome, I’m so glad it’s helpful!

  2. Dave Miller

    Another in a growing list of helpful pointers. You are helping to raise up worshippers with pianos!

    Reply
    • Julie

      The piano is a wonderful place to worship!

    • Rene

      Hi Julie, thank you for sharing your knowledge of music. Your charts are truly thought out. My music room if full of your charts. Do you have any information on Major and Minor Diatonic Chords.

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