ap music theory study guides

3.5 Seventh Chord Inversions and Figures






โฑ๏ธย ย 1 min read

written by

Caroline Koffke

caroline koffke


November 2, 2020

3.5: Seventh Chord Inversions and Figures

Just like the triads, the seventh chords can also appear in inversions. We also have specific figured bass notation for the seventh chords, indicating which note is in the bass.

In the key of E Major, here are the following seventh chords and their respective inversions in the closed position.


When the seventh chords are written in an open position, such as in the SATB texture <hyperlink to unit 4.2>, a figured bass can be used to determine the bass note of a harmony.

Here are the figured bass Arabic numerals for seventh chords:


With a Roman-numeral analysis, you can see the following bass notes that indicate the types of seventh chords used. To understand the following image, can you spell a V7 chord in the key of Bb Major? F is the V of Bb. We spell an F7 chord F-A-C-Eb.


Here you can see that the V-6/5 chord has the 3rd in the bass, which in the F7 chord, is an A. The V-4/3 chord requires a C in the bass.

๐Ÿฆœ Polly wants a progress tracker: What would be the bass note of a V-4/2 chord in the key of d minor?

continue learning

Slide 1 of 6

Join Our Community

Fiveable Community students are already meeting new friends, starting study groups, and sharing tons of opportunities for other high schoolers. Soon the Fiveable Community will be on a totally new platform where you can share, save, and organize your learning links and lead study groups among other students!๐ŸŽ‰

Fiveable Logo

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211

92% of Fiveable students earned a 3 or higher on their 2020 AP Exams.

*apยฎ and advanced placementยฎ are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

ยฉ fiveable 2020 | all rights reserved.