Wondering what the G7 chord is on the piano? It’s not as scary as it might sound! In this post I’ll break down how to play the G7 chord on the piano, as well as answer a ton of common questions people ask when it comes to this chord.
What does G7 Chord Mean?
If you’re new to playing the piano, maybe you’ve played the regular G chord, but not a G7. Maybe you’ve even seen this on a chord chart and thought “what in the world is this?”
Trust me, I get it. It can be overwhelming when you’re new to piano and you see extra numbers next to chords that you thought you knew.
So what does that “7” mean?
Basically, you will just be adding 1 extra note to the chord – the 7th note of the scale moved down a half step.
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry!
I’ll explain more soon, but for now, there’s another important question to address:
Can you substitute a regular G chord for a G7?
If you ARE knew to playing chords and you’re freaking out about the extra “7” next to the G, don’t worry.
The nice thing about seventh chords is if you’re playing from a chord chart, it won’t make a huge difference if you play a regular G chord instead.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn how to play a G7 – only that if you’re in a pinch, a regular G chord should do the trick! Especially if you’re not the main instrument in a band, because no one will be able to tell if you omit the seventh.
What key is G7?
A G7 chord falls naturally in the key of C major. The notes (G, B, D, and F) are all within the C major scale. In classical music, G7’s are used ALL the time, especially at the end of a piece. The reason is because they resolve perfectly into the C chord. This is true for all dominant seventh chords (not just G7!)
That said, G7’s are not used exclusively in the key of C. They can be used outside of it as well, but they will have accidentals rather than being naturally in the key.
Is G7 major or minor?
Actually, a G7 is neither major OR minor! Rather, it is considered a major-minor chord. Think of it like half and half. The first 3 notes of the chord (G, B, and D) spell a regular G major chord. But the last note (F) makes it no longer major anymore. To be major, the F would need to be an F# (see the next question for more info!)
A more common term for these types of chords is a dominant seventh. For more info on seventh chords in general, feel free to check out this post!
What’s the difference between G7 and Gmaj7?
A Gmaj7 is considered a fully major chord, while G7 is major-minor. The only difference is the fourth note. In a G major 7, the last note will be derived from the G SCALE – so F#. But in a G dominant 7, the last note will be derived from the C SCALE – so F natural.
How do you play the G7 Chord on the piano?
Now that we’ve covered those common questions, let’s tackle actually playing the G7 chord on the piano!
We’re going to start with the most basic form of the G7 – root position. Then, I will also show you the different inversion of the G7 chord.
G7 Root Position Chord:
The simplest version of the G7 chord is shown below. As you can see, it starts with a simple G chord, and then the F is added at the top. If you count the white notes from the G to the F, you will find there are 7 notes. That’s why these chords are called “sevenths” in the first place!
G7 First Inversion Chord:
To invert the G7 chord, you simply take the bottom note and move it to the top. For the first inversion G7, the B ends up on the bottom as you can see below.
G7 Second Inversion Chord:
To get a second inversion G7, simply move that B that was on the bottom to the top!
G7 Third Inversion Chord:
For third inversion, the process is again the same. The F ends up on the bottom in the last inversion.
Playing the G7 in the left hand
One VERY common way of using the G7 chord is by doing a simplified version in the left hand. The inversion of this method is technically FIRST – but as you can see, the D is omitted for simplicity’s sake. For beginning piano players, this is a highly common chord that is used.
If you are that beginner at the piano, just remember WHY this chord is a seventh! The regular form of this chord is root position chord (with the photo I showed above). This simplified left hand version is basically just a way of mixing up those same notes (and taking out the D).
What does a G7 chord mean on sheet music?
When you see the term “G7” on a piece of sheet music, it is likely just explaining the chord pictured in the sheet music itself. There are LOTS of ways that a G7 chord might look in sheet music.
It could be a root position G7, but more likely, it will be an inversion. In fact, it may even be split up between the bass clef and treble clef – in different voicings.
If you’re trying to indentify a G7 in your sheet music, look for the four notes that make up a G7 – G, B, D, and F. Even if they are spread out in different voicings, they still make up a G7!
See, what did I tell you? G7 chords are not that hard to play! They are just composed of 4 different notes, with one addon from a regular G major chord. Don’t wait – start practicing them today! Start with the root position G7 and then try going up and down the different inversions. In no time, you’ll be recognizing these chords everywhere in your playing!
For more piano tips and tricks, make sure to keep reading on The Little Red Piano!
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