Harmony in 21 Lessons

by Cheryl Macomber
Glenda Macomber

Pastor Clinton Macomber
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Lesson 11—The Dominant Seventh Chord

In this lesson we will study the dominant seventh chord. This chord has the dominant chord as its base and then adds the seventh note of the scale, making a chord of four tones.

Dominant Chord GBD

Dominant Chord: GBD

Dominant Seventh Chord GBDF

Dominant Seventh Chord: GBDF

The dominant seventh chord is made up of the intervals of a major third, a perfect fifth and a minor seventh.

Dominant Seventh Chord Parts

Dominant Seventh Chord Parts

This chord can have four different positions, because it has four different tones. Study the examples below.

Dominant Seventh Chord Positions

Dominant Seventh Chord Positions

The seventh chord needs to be resolved to the tonic chord as follows: F of the Dominant 7th leads or resolves to the E in the Tonic Chord, B leads to C, D leads to C and G is retained as the binding tone, unless it is written in the bass.

Seventh Chord to Tonic Chord

Seventh Chord to Tonic Chord

In the exercise above, place lines from the notes of the dominant seventh chord to the notes in the tonic chord to which each resolves.

Example of seventh to tonic resolves example


We have just studied how to resolve the dominant seventh chord. Now we will learn to go from the subdominant to the dominant seventh chord, and then resolve the dominant chord to the tonic chord. Notice that in going from the subdominant to the dominant chord, the F is retained.

Play these on the piano. Listen to the resolutions.

Subdominant to Dominant Seventh to Dominant Chords

Subdominant to Dominant Seventh to Dominant Chords

Harmonize the following exercises. Be very careful to observe strictly the chord resolutions and positions given above. There are some other possible positions and chord resolutions that are given before the exercises.

Chord Resolutions example 1

Chord resolutions example 2

Chord Resolutions example 3

Chord resolutions example 4

Other Positions and Chord Resolutions

The figure (7) means that the dominant seventh chord is to be used. The dash after a figure means that the chord is continued.

Exercise 1

Chord resolution exercise 1

Exercise 2

Chord resolution exercise 2

Answer Instructions

Click on the following "Answers" tab when you are ready to see the answers.

Answers for Exercise 1

Possible Harmony, Exercise 1

Exercise 1 answers

Answers for Exercise 2

Possible Harmony, Exercise 2

Exercise 2 answers