Major 7th Arpeggios
An arpeggio, as it relates to music, is similar to a broken chord. The only difference when playing a broken chord is that you’re more than likely playing the notes of the chord out of sequence. When playing an arpeggio, the notes are played in the order that the chord is spelled. For instance the notes of an A major seventh chord are A, C#, E, and G#, when played in that order that would constitute an arpeggio. The same would apply going backwards as well. A major seventh chord going backwards would be A, G#, E, and C#, the notes adjacent to one another are not skipped or missed.
Major seventh arpeggios are used in all musical genres and especially in classical music. When played correctly, the arpeggio will have a harp like flowing sound that is very predictable and soothing to the ear. Arpeggios made their way into the rock guitar world especially through progressive rock and usually with a smooth distorted sound and the arpeggios are mostly played very quickly.
In the Major key of music theory, the major seventh arpeggio, scale and chord structure is derived from the Ionian mode and the Lydian mode. Although the arpeggio and chord structure always remain the same, the scale derived from these modes will be altered, giving the arpeggio and chord structure different tension notes when the chord or arpeggio is extended. For example a C major seventh chord derived from the Ionian mode would have the extension notes D, F, and A added to the Cmaj7th , whereas the Cmaj7th chord derived from the Lydian mode would have the notes D, F#, and A added to the arpeggio or chord extension
By adding the tension notes the Cmaj7th in the Ionian mode becomes
Cmaj9th , Cmaj11th, or Cmaj13th
By adding the tension notes the Cmaj7th in the Lydian mode becomes
Cmaj9th, Cmaj7#11, Cmaj13th
In the “Major seventh arpeggios” video below I will demonstrate the A major seventh chord arpeggio in four different positions on the guitar which can be used in improvisation, rhythm accompaniment, and melodies. Have fun and enjoy.
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