Learning Jazz Piano Chords

The following video will show you how to convert an F major chord to an F minor chord (Fm), and a C major chord to a C minor chord (Cm). This will be the foundation for building dominant 7th chords, minor 7th chords , major 7th chords, and many other jazz chord types.

Once you understand how the 3-note major and minor chords are built, you're ready for more advanced chords. I'll start with the C major chord and build the jazz chord progression.

I'll be using the 8-note C major scale as a general foundation for all of the following jazz chords.

C Major Scale

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The C major chords is...

C = C - E - G

From the previous chord above, add a B to make it a major 7th chord.

Using the C major scale as our foundation, this would be a 1, 3, 5, 7. The notes of the major 7th chord should match up with the numbered scale tones from the C major scale shown above.

Cmaj7 = C - E - G - B

From the previous chord above, lower the B to a Bb to make it C7. This is also known as a dominant 7th chord.

C7 = C - E - G - Bb

From the previous chord above, lower the 3rd a half step to convert C7 to a Cm7 chord.

Cm7 = C - Eb - G - Bb

Working from the chord directly above, lower the G, (the 5th), to a Gb to convert the Cm7 to a Cm7(b5) chord.

(b5) represents a flatted 5th.

Cm7(b5) = C - Eb - Gb - Bb

A jazz songbook might represent this chord as a half diminished chord. The chord symbol for a C half diminished 7th chord would be: Cø7

Once again, using the C major scale as our starting point, a Cø7 would be made up of a 1, flatted 3rd, flatted 5th and flatted 7th.

Lower the Bb, (the 7th), to a Bbb, (B double flat) to convert the Cø7 to a fully diminished 7th chord.

Cdim7 = C - Eb - Gb - Bbb

Once again, using the C major scale as our starting point, a Cdim7 would be made up of a 1, flatted 3rd, flatted 5th and a double flatted 7th.

Subtract the double flatted 7th from the chord above, and you have a plain old diminished chord.

Cdim = C - Eb - Gb

It's easier to think of a diminished chord as a minor chord with a flatted 5th. Remember Cm is C - Eb - G. To make it Cdim, just make the G a Gb.

Jazz Piano Chords Continued


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