Author Topic: C Dominant 7 open chord is missing 5th degree note  (Read 2377 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jarlehag

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
  • Good Vibes 0
C Dominant 7 open chord is missing 5th degree note
« on: July 06, 2018, 05:57:04 pm »
I have a question regarding Major 7 and Dominant 7 chords as related to the open C chord.

The open C chord triad includes the notes C (Root/1st degree) E (3rd degree) and G (5th degree). We play this shape like this: X32010. To make this chord a Major 7 we add the 7th degree (B) and to make this into a Dominant 7 we flatted the 7th degree (Bb). Like this:

Open C degrees: 1 3 5 (C E G)
Major 7 degrees: 1 3 5 7  (C E G B)
Dominant 7 degrees: 1 3 5 b7 (C E G Bb)

The open C dominant 7 shape that we learned in the beginners’ course we play like this: X32310 (X C E Bb C E).  What confuses me is that in this open C dominant 7 shape we no longer play the 5th degree, which is the G. The flattened 7 is “replacing” this on the 3rd string.  To me the 1 3 5 b7 logic is falling apart as the 5th is missing. Can we just remove the 5th like that?

What am I missing?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 06:33:23 pm by jarlehag »

Offline close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14080
  • Good Vibes 627
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: C Dominant 7 open chord is missing 5rd degree note
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2018, 06:13:45 pm »
Good question and a good spot on the chord construction.

3rds are vital to chords.

3rd = Major

b3rd = minor

No 3rd = suspended ..

You can take the word suspended to mean that the nature / character / type / category of chord is in suspended animation / suspended in the air / keeping the listener in suspense / without a tonality and in need of resolution. Suspended chords always sound like they need to resolve by moving to a Major or a minor.

Major and minor are stable.
It is the 3rd which gives a chord it's stability.
So without it a chord loses character and stability.

A 5th is not so vital however if you are stacking up addititonal notes that are above a 5th in scale order to make chords with extensions.

Does that make sense?

Offline Majik

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 2793
  • Good Vibes 213
    • My Road Case
Re: C Dominant 7 open chord is missing 5rd degree note
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2018, 06:20:42 pm »
It's not unusual to remove the 5th degree from a chord when playing the 7th or higher (9th, 11th, etc.) extensions. The two main reasons for doing this are:

1. It makes the fingering of the chord easier (or, in some cases, possible in the first place)
2. It can make the chord sound better. Often too many notes can make a chord sound "muddy" (especially with a little overdrive).

Each of the notes in the chord add a certain characteristic.

Considering triads: the root note is obviously very important to the chord. The 3rd is important as it indicates the chord's nature as a major or minor chord. The fifth of the chord probably is the least important note to the chord. It is important for diminished and augmented chords, but these are less common chords, and don't tend to be used that much with extensions.

Note that when playing "diads" or two note "power chords", the root and fifth are played. The root is essential. The fifth is there to fatten the root up (otherwise it would just be a single note). The absence of the third makes power chords neither major nor minor (so they works over both major and minor keys).

For extended chords, you are adding new notes which have their own character (e.g. Dominant, Major 7th, 9th, etc.). The very act of doing this means you are placing some importance on this character. So even with extended chords, the 5th is still usually the least important note and can be dropped without much impact on the character of the chord.



Offline jarlehag

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
  • Good Vibes 0
Re: C Dominant 7 open chord is missing 5th degree note
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2018, 06:35:08 pm »
Thank you both for your replies! Much appreciated!


Get The Forum As A Mobile App