The Major 7th Interval

The Major 7th interval is a real big jump, a semitone short of an octave! Played together the notes are pretty dissonant and so you need to be confident when you're singing this one - it WILL sound odd, so make sure you're checking you sing it right by playing it on your guitar too!


The easiest way to play a Major 7th interval is to play the root on String 5 with Finger 1 and the 7th will be found 2 strings down and up 1 fret. See below.


There are a few ways to play it and anytime you cross onto or over String 2 (B string) you need to jump the top note up a fret, it's one of the quirks about the guitar tuning. The shape of the Major 7 with the root on strings 4 or 3 is the same as the Octave root 5 or 6. Why is that? I hope you know - I told you in the first sentence. Not sure? Give it some thought. Here are the alternate ways to play it!



There are hardly song references you can use for the Major 7th, but luckily the 80's Norwegian pop band came to the rescue when Morten sang Take On Me. I used Somewhere Over The Rainbow for my own study (first to third note) but if I did it again I'd get familiar with Take On Me and use that instead as it jumps right to it.

Take On Me (a-ha)
Somewhere Over The Rainbow (first to third notes)
Don't Know Why (Nora Jones)


Dr Justin prescribes 5 minutes a day of singing a Major 7th (on top of your 5 mins of Play What you Hear). So 10 minutes a day of Ear Training if you can afford it!

1. Start with playing the interval on the guitar and singing along to get used to the sound and feel of the interval. Imagine your Song Reference while you are doing so, and sing the words if it helps. If you're still struggling with singing you can always hum!

2. Play and sing a root note, then stop playing and sing the interval jump and then check it on the guitar so you're sure you are getting it right and in tune.

I would recommend at least a week singing the one interval and using shapes all over the neck so that you get familiar with it everywhere - if there are parts of the neck you find a lot harder - work more on them. Play and sing this until you feel that you can sing it from anywhere and play the interval from any note! Then move onto the next interval!

Ear Training Grade 3