3.5 Seventh Chord Inversions and Figures

1 min readnovember 2, 2020

AP Music Theory 🎶

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