A7 Chord: How To Play + Theory

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The A7 chord is a 4 note chord with the notes A C# E and G. It is a type of 7th chord known as Dominant 7. Dominant 7th chords are built with a major triad and a minor 7th on top. Because of this, the dominant 7th chord is also called a Major-minor 7 chord.

Dominant 7th are typically only found once in a key, as the V chord. (The name “dominant” comes from the 5th scale degree of a key.) So, you really only find the A7 chord in the key of D major and sometimes D minor. 

The A7 chord is one full of tension and instability, which is a useful technique for keeping your listeners on the edge of their seat! Included in this article is essential music theory, and suggested finger positions for playing the chord right every time! Let’s learn to play the A7 guitar chord!

cover a7 chord, a7 guitar chord, fifth string, b string

A7 Chord Music Theory

Before we begin, every musician needs to know a bit of music theory. I will keep it brief.

  • A7 has the notes A C# E and G.

  • A7 is what is known as a dominant 7th chord.

  • You can build the A7 chord with the intervals of a Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, and Minor 7th above A, the root note.

  • A7 is found in the key of D major and sometimes D minor.

How To Play The A7 Chord

A7 Guitar Chord Open Position

A7 guitar chord open position, high e string, google play logo

A7 Guitar Chord Barre Shape

A7 guitar chord barre shape, other root notes, all the positions, apple logo

Other Ways To Play A7 Guitar Chords

A7 chord on guitar, one note, string, caged system
a7 chord, audio demonstration, first finger
A7 chord on guitar, string, finger, voicings

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the A7 Chord?

The A7 chord is what is known as a dominant 7 chord, one of the 5 types of 7th chords. Each 7th chord serves a different musical purpose. The Dominant chord is named as such because it is the V chord in a key, for this reason A7 is the V in the key of D.

In harmonic movement, the V chord moves to the I chord. Or dominant to tonic. This is a common cadence used to end songs. Try resolving the A7 chord to D major to hear what I mean.

What is the difference between A7 and Amaj7 chord?

Although these 2 chords have the same root note, there are a few differences between A7 and Amaj7. The first is the notes used.

A7 uses the notes A C# E G, and A major7 uses the notes A C# E G#. The former uses a minor 7th while the latter has a major 7th.

The next difference is the quality of the chords. A7 is a dominant chord, while A maj7 is a major chord.
Dominant chords have a major triad and a minor 7th, whereas major 7th chords have a major triad and a major 7th.

Next is where they are found in a key. A7 is a dominant chord, which means you hear it as the V chord in the key of D. A major 7 on the other hand can be the I chord in A major, or the IV chord in the key of E major. See the diatonic 7th chords chart to understand what I mean by this.

What is the A+7 chord?

The A+7 is an augmented 7th chord. These chords are quite rare, but the notes would be A C# E# G. You can also think of this as a A7 chord with a raised 5th.

How do you play A7 on guitar easy?

The easy and beginner friendly way to play this guitar chord is the open position way listed above. Despite that, try playing all of the suggested finger positions.

Is Am7 the same as A7?

Nope. Chord symbols are very particular, and many chords are not easily transferable, so it is important to be as accurate as possible when writing and reading chord symbols. They mean what they say.

Am7 is a minor 7th chord. It uses the notes A C E G. A7 is a dominant seventh chord. It uses the notes A C# E G.

Why is A 7 chord called A7?

A7 gets its name because that is how it is written on chord symbols. These types of chords can be a bit confusing because they can be referred to in 3 different ways. A7 might also be called A dominant 7 or A major minor 7.

Why is the 7 flat in an A7 chord?

Good question. The lowered 7th occurs naturally when you apply the key signature. 
Because dominant 7th chords are always the V chord, I know that A7 is in the key of D major.

The key signature for D major is F# and C#. So, the notes A C# E G, all fall naturally in the key of D major. This will work the same no matter what key you are in.

I used the term “lowered” as opposed to “flat” since “flatting” a note in a sharp key gives you a natural note. Lowered is a word I use to be more accurate and avoid confusion, but most times, “lowered” and “flat” are used interchangeably. My point is, “flat” doesn’t always equal “b

Conclusion

The A7 chord, consisting of the notes A, C#, E, and G, is a Dominant 7th chord, also known as a Major-minor 7 chord. Found primarily as the V chord in the key of D major and occasionally D minor, the A7 chord introduces tension and instability, serving a crucial role in musical compositions. 

Understanding its music theory, harmonic function, and distinctions from other guitar chords like Amaj7 is essential for your musical understanding.

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