Shapes of things… Major 7th

A chord that's often used to evoke love or melancholy

© Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis

The chord: Major 7th

Used by: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Song: Under The Bridge

Context: Emaj7 as the 'hanging' chord over the two bars that end each verse (low to high strings - X 7 9 8 9 7)

Did you know?

If you play the major 7th interval as two notes (say C and B in the key of C) it sounds a dissonant, ugly mess. But introduce the 3rd (E) and 5th (G) between them and the sound becomes beautiful and dreamy, creating a chord that's often used to evoke love or melancholy in music.

Also spotted in:

Slight Return by The Bluetones - Dmaj7 as the second chord (low to high strings X X 0 2 2 2)

My Love by Paul McCartney & Wings - Amaj7 as the opening chord (low to high strings X 0 2 1 2 0)

David Bowie's Space Oddity - Fmaj7 as the big opening chord to the guitar solo and breakdown (low to high strings X 3 3 2 1 0)

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