What Is the B7 Chord?
Chords and keys, notes and changes, all of these things can get a little muddled in your brain.
Understanding music theory, though, is really important if you want it to be worth your salt as a piano player. One great way to learn music theory is by learning individual chords and how they relate to the rest of the scale.
We’ll cover the B7 chord in this article, giving you some insight into how it ties into the E major scale.
Understanding the B7 chord
When we’re playing in the key of E, our B chord is going to be comprised of B, E flat, and F sharp. Those notes will create the B major chord in the key of E. In order to change that chord into a seventh, we’ll need to understand a little bit about music theory.
Learning 7th Chords in the Major Scale
We can imagine each whole step in the key as being the number that corresponds to its letter.
If C were the first note in the key, then it would have the number 1 associated with it. This is just an easier way to imagine notes and how they work together.
7th chords become a lot easier when you keep this idea in mind. The major C chord would be comprised of the 1, 3, and 5 notes in the scale.
We’re in the key of E, however, so the E chord would be on the 1, 3, and 5 notes. The 7th is created by simply adding the 7 to the end of that list, making the E7 chord comprised of 1, 3, 5, and 7. The same is true for B.
The 7th is always going to be the note that is one step down from the root note. In this case, the note that is one down from B is A. You can add the A (the 7th) on the low or high end, either one will work. This means that the B7 is comprised of the notes B, E flat, F sharp, and A.
How to Play the B7 Chord
In the B major scale, we’ll play the B7 chord by combining the root (B), the major third (D sharp), the perfect fifth (F sharp), and the flat seventh (A). The B major scale is comprised of B, C sharp, D sharp, E, F sharp, G sharp, and A sharp.
There are a few names that people call the B7 chord, including B dominant 7 and B dom7. There are a few different voicings of the chord and we’ll cover the four most common of them.
When describing the different voicings, we’ll order the notes, in order, as they would be played. The first is the B7 root position, which is arranged, left to right, as B, D sharp, F sharp, A. The second voicing we will cover is called the B7 1st inversion.
The 1st inversion is arranged as D sharp, F sharp, A, and B. Second inversion is arranged as F sharp, A, B, and D sharp. Finally, 3rd inversion is arranged as A, B, D sharp, and F sharp.
The B7 chord creates a good deal of musical tension which wants the chord to resolve to the perfect fourth above it. That note is E, and it is a natural progression for the B7 chord to resolve there.
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