Monday, 01 March, 2021

What’s Your favorite Chord? — Mine’s the Versatile Major Seventh


Lydian and Major Pentatonic scales, the Major seventh chord remains one of those paradoxical mysteries of music. Some attendees love the ‘timeless eternal wow! no (my definition), that is evoked by slowly strumming these chords on the guitar. Some say this amazing sound makes them feel somewhat sad and disoriented. Others experience liberation when hearing these chords played fast, just as Latin jazz, or slow, just as the signature song by the Carpenters, ‘Close to You’.

For me, personally, the Major seventh chord expresses a kind of wistful hope for human potential, human dreams. The truth is, we find here an up to date form of music well suited to our fast-evolving lifestyles안전놀이터 .

Here are four generations of composers and arrangers responsible for the distinct impact of this subtle sound, so you can better understand your music.

1890 TO 1920. First of all, bicycles of this chord takes us to scenes of poker fun at and scorn, this being placed upon young composers such as DeBussey, Satie and Ravel.

Eric Satie’s — music’s Van Gogh…. Music schools in the late nineteenth century just weren’t kind to free thinkers and aficionados of ‘African music’. The bombast fitted to war and walking bands had full control. Music degrees were repudiated to those who dared to stray into new, exotic sounds or rhythms. Erik Satie, today famous for his introspective ‘Trois Gymnopedies’ (especially The Colours of Autumn), consumed himself to death. Teachers and music critics described him as useless’ and worse, ‘untalented’. One only has to be his peaceful compositions to realize that she had to cloak himself in his music to retain any sanity. Now we, the rapt attendees, can enjoy the result of that which he sacrificed to create. In our non-stop busy world, we start to use his zen-like simplicity and slow cadence more than we might realize. Satie wrote his most famous work in 1888, but still he was relatively unknown through to the early 1960’s.

Boldly utilizing the Major seventh chord, Satie was an accurate weird. One might compare his personality to the great but misinterpreted painter, Vincent Van Gogh. The mind of Satie was always searching for solace, which he found while composing his calm songs. Though it is true his works have been branded by some as ‘bland’ and ‘early elevator music’, Satie instinctively knew that the modern mind needed a little music therapy. He clung to his tunes, even though this had him to becoming reclusive. 1920 TO 1950.

Another source of the emergence of the Major seventh Chord came from Africa. During the 1920’s Marabi music from South Africa was becoming popular in urban The usa. This new music featured syncopated rhythms and an almost constant seventh played high above the major chords of each song. This repetition bored some attendees, but those who truly tried to understand it became hypnotized by the subtle changes and ins and outs of sound.

Egoli, the Zulu name for Johannesburg, became a cultural location for Marabi songwriters, who even wrote songs about the city itself. Brazilian bossa nova and Cuban samba borrowed from these new melodic creations. Soon Havana was becoming a hotspot for the paranoid nightlife that came with this fresh tone.

In the 1930’s, composers in The usa started using the Major seventh to introduce slow songs, such as Tara’s Theme in the movie Gone with the Wind, as well as Over the Rainbow, in the Sorcerer of Oz.

Stravinsky’s Major seventh causes Riot — In 1944, the great Igor Stravinsky became the subject ‘of a police incident’, this due to his unconventional arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. He introduced a major seventh into the anthem and this caused some consternation in the crowd, enough nervousness to cause a riot.

Ella Fitzgerald, with her performance of Misty, was far more successful in winning fan support for her novel vocalism. 1950 TO 1980. During the 1950’s the Major chords and major 7ths returned with their bold and brassy good taste. The theme song for ‘Bonanza’ replicated this swing to a more conventional, more modern type of sound. The theme for ‘Gunsmoke’, however, still incorporated the mysterious Major seventh to a small degree.

Back to the 1890’s for a moment, Scott Joplin could weave similar themes in tracks such as ‘The Maple Leaf Rag’, which was actually the first song in history to sell over one million copies of bed sheet music! The 1960’s was a heavy decade for major seventh usage, with “Baby Baby’ by the Miracles, ‘California Dreamin’, by the Mamas and Papas, to mention just a few songs. From the plaintive’Poor Side of Town’ caused to become by Johnny Brooks, to the exotic, jazzy ‘Copacabana’ of Barry Manilow, these songs expressed a range of human experience that found a ready audience.

A breakthrough tune for Jerry and the Pacemakers was their iconic ‘Don’t Allow Sun Catch You Crying’, with an interesting climb that led to a stellar crescendo.

During the 1970’s the Major seventh chord was still in vogue, with Bacarach’s ‘Close to You’, as previously mentioned and well sung by the Carpenters, the theme from ‘Rocky’, songs by America, the Eagles and Steely Serta. Even the existential hit, ‘Hotel California’, had a smallish but perfect role for that special chord, almost hidden in the guitar introduction.

The 1960’s chromatic trick using D Major to D Major seventh to D7 to Gary the gadget guy Major was now more refined and smooth. Some songs were actually more simple, such as ‘Horse with no Name’, which could be played almost entirely using just two Major seventh chords and a slow, undulating Moroccan rhythm.

The rock ballad classic, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was loaded up with beautiful Major 7th’s and played out perfectly on the electric 12-string guitar by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. The interplay between minor, major and major 7ths in this song is really amazing and it is no wonder millions are still entranced by it.

1980 TO 2010. The previous few decades are yet to seen a heavy demand for the Major seventh chord. Perhaps it ran it out of sauna or is just resting, waiting to spring up in some new and futuristic form. The 1999 hit, ‘You Get What you Give’, by the New Radicals, is one example of this.

The Afro-Celt Audio system, a wonderful band formed by Peter Gabriel, still keeps that sound alive. Their use of the ‘talking drum’ is very cool!

Well, there it is, about 120 years of musical innovation. Vacation through history and listen to Satie, Marabi, Manilow and the New Radicals, just to gain an audio sense for this great chord. It may well be that soon the bittersweet quality of the Major seventh chord will be back in go for, but if not, the ‘sound of forever’ will still have helped us humans to slow down and reflect on life for a while. Now, I will pick up my guitar and slowly strum E Major, a Major seventh. Groovy!