In this lesson we learn how to play an Em7 chord on piano. Firstly, let’s take a look at the E Major scale. The notes of the E major scale are E – F# – G# – A – B – C# – D# – E. Using the minor 7 chord formula: 1 – 3b – 5 – 75, the notes used in the E minor 7 chord are E – G – B – D. Note that both G# and D# are lowered by one semitone. You do not play these notes but instead play G and D. E minor seventh and all minor seventh chords consist of four notes and is formed by combining the root, flat third, perfect fifth and flat seventh of the major scale.
Common names for this chord are Em7, E minor 7 and E min7.
Let’s talk about the intervals that Em7 is made up of. The Em7 chord is made up of a a minor 3rd, major 3rd and minor third interval. Between E and G, it’s a minor 3rd made up of 1 and a half tones. Start on the root of the chord (E), skip two half steps (F and F#) and land on the 3rd half step, the minor third of the chord (G). Between G and B, it’s a major 3rd made up of 2 tones. Start on G, skip three half steps (G#, A and A#) and land on the fourth half step (B). Between B and D, it’s a minor third. Start on B, skip one and a half steps (C and C#) and land on the flat seventh of the major scale (D).
In root position the notes of the Em7 chord are in the sequence E – G – B – D. To play the chord with the right hand in root position you play E with finger 1 (thumb), G with finger 2, B with finger 3, and D with finger 5.
There are other voices or inversions for this chord. In the first inversion the notes are in the sequence G – B – D – E. In the first inversion the note E is now one octave higher than in root position. If we now raise the note, G one octave higher the sequence for the notes in the second inversion is B – D – E – G. Lastly, let’s learn how to form the third inversion of the E min 7 chord. Raise the note B by one octave and we now have the note sequence D – E – G – B.
To learn how to play other minor seventh piano chords, return from Em7 chord page to main piano chords page. You will learn how to form minor seventh chords on piano in all twelve keys. Also, you can learn how to form all kinds of chords, including minor, major, 6th, 7th, diminished, augmented, and even various kinds of 9th, 11th and 13th chords.
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