Chords with four notes can be broken down into a three-note chord (triad) and one additional note. Let’s use Cmaj7 as an example for a chord with four notes. It would be played C, E, G, and B; this additional note is called a “seventh” because it is written as an interval (the distance between two notes) of a seventh from the root note “C”(counting C, go up seven notes and you land on B). By adding one more note to the chord you get a richer and more colorful sound.
There are seven different types of four-note chords. Like triads, we can build four-note chords on any of the 12 different keys on the piano (from C to B), including the black keys.
Four-Note chords are either a sixth or seventh chord. Here are some examples of what a sixth and a seventh chord look like in written form: C6, Cm6, Cmaj7, C7, Cm7, Cdim7. In the case of C6 you would play C, E, G, A; this additional note is called a “sixth” because it is written as an interval (the distance between two notes) of a 6th from the root note “C” (counting C, go up six notes and you land on A).
In conclusion, there are many other types of chords not included in the above text. This is just a starting point to understand chord building. When you are playing four-note chords, keep the chord smaller than an octave. This helps smaller hands play these rich and vibrant sounding chords.
JOKE FOR THE DAY:
Did you hear about the female opera singer who had quite a range at the lower end of the scale. She was known as the deep C diva.