Minor Seventh Chords
Let’s look at how to play an Em7 (“E minor seventh”) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any other minor seventh chord.
What Are Minor Seventh Chords?
We can build a minor chord by first building the matching major chord, then lowering the middle note 1/2 step. So to build a C minor chord we can start with a C major chord and then lower the middle note 1/2 step.
Next we’ll find the seventh note of the matching major scale and lower it 1/2 step. So to convert our C minor chord into a Cm7 chord, we’ll find the seventh note of the C major scale and lower it 1/2 step.
How to Play an Em7 Chord on the Piano
Then we’ll find the seventh note of the E major scale, D♯, and lower it 1/2 step to D.
So to play an Em7 chord, we’ll play:
E – G – B – D
We can use this pattern to build any other minor seventh chord, by first building a minor chord, then adding the seventh note of the matching major scale, lowered 1/2 step.
To play this chord with the right hand, we’ll use fingers 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 (thumbs are 1’s), and to play it with the left hand, we’ll use fingers 5 – 3 – 2 – 1.
Other Seventh Chords
There are different types of seventh chords, so it can be helpful to compare their differences.
So an E7 chord is:
E – G♯ – B – D
So an Em7 chord is:
E – G – B – D
So an Emaj7 chord is:
E – G♯ – B – D♯
Other Chord Types
Some other chord types you can learn are:
Now you know how to play an Em7 chord on the piano, and you can use that pattern to build any other minor seventh chord!
One reason chords are nice to use at the piano is because once we learn the pattern for building a particular type of chord, we can then build that same chord type starting on any note.