Minor Seventh Chords

Minor seventh chords are created by starting with a minor triad and adding the seventh degree of the natural minor scale. Using the C minor scale as our example:

C Minor Scale C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
Scale Degree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
C MI7 C Eb G Bb

Construction of the C minor 7th chord is completed by using the first, third, fifth and seventh degrees of the C natural minor scale.

Stacking Thirds

The basic framework for chord building is achieved by stacking intervals on top of each other. The minor 7th chord stacks a minor third on top of a minor triad. Using the C minor triad as our starting point:

C Minor Seventh Chord Stacking Example

Construction of the C minor 7th chord is completed by stacking a minor third, G - B $ , on top of a minor triad.

Chord Spelling

The notes of the major seventh chord can be used to chord spell the minor seventh chord. Using the major seventh chord as an example, flattening both the third and the seventh creates a minor seventh chord spelling. Here is an example to help visualise this concept:

C Major Scale C D E F G A B C
Scale Degree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
C MA7 C E G B
flat
3rd
flat
3rd
C MI7 C Eb G Bb

Construction of a minor seventh chord is completed by flattening the third and seventh of a major seventh chord.

Naming Minor Seventh Chords

The minor seventh chord is so named as the sound focus is on the flattened seventh. The numeric identifier, that is, the number in the name, is taken from the last note in the sequence. In the table below, the note added to the C minor triad, Bb, flattened seventh.

C Major Scale C D E F G A B C
Scale Degree 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8
C MI7 C Eb G Bb

Following on from our example above, the correct chord symbol for C minor seventh is C MI7 . Other symbols such as C-7, C- and C min 7th are commonly used but for the sake of clarity, the abbreviated minor seventh name, MI7, will be used.