Minor major seventh chord

A minor major seventh chord, or minor/major seventh chord is a seventh chord composed of a root, minor third, perfect fifth, and major seventh (1, 3, 5, and 7). It can be viewed as a minor triad with an additional major seventh. When using popular-music symbols, it is denoted by mM7, mΔ7, −Δ7, mM7, m/M7, m(M7), minmaj7, m, m7, m7+, etc. For example, the minor major seventh chord built on C, written as CmM7, has pitches C–E–G–B:

minor/major seventh chord
Component intervals from root
major seventh
perfect fifth
minor third
Forte no. / Complement
4-19 / 8-19

The chord can be represented by the integer notation {0, 3, 7, 11}.


The chord occurs on the tonic when harmonizing the harmonic minor scale in seventh chords. That is, the first, third, fifth, and seventh scale degrees of the harmonic minor scale form a minor major seventh chord, as shown below.

The harmonic minor scale has a raised seventh, creating a minor second (half step) between the seventh and the octave. This half step creates a pull (leading tone) to the tonic that is useful in harmonic context and is not present in the natural minor scale. Traditionally, in classical and jazz contexts, when building a chord on the dominant of the minor tonality, this raised seventh is present, and so both of these chords have a strong pull to the tonic.

The minor major seventh chord is most often used in jazz, typically functioning as a minor tonic. Jazz musicians usually improvise with the melodic minor scale over this chord; the harmonic minor scale is also used. Additionally, Bernard Herrmann's use of this chord – most notoriously in his score for Psycho – has earned it the nickname, "The Hitchcock Chord".[1] In flamenco, guitarists often use this chord as an abstract chord to create atmosphere and it gives a Moorish feel with the tension between the minor and major.

This chord also appears in classical music, but it is used more in the late Romantic period than in the Classical and Baroque periods. One notable use is in the fourth movement of Samuel Barber's piano sonata; the subject of the fugue begins with a minor major seventh chord and the chord is heard many times throughout the fugue.

The chord, infrequent in rock and popular music, is "virtually always found on the fourth scale degree in the major mode", thus making the seventh of the chord the third of the scale and perhaps explaining the rarity of the chord, given the "propensity of the third scale degree to be lowered as a blues alteration."[2] Examples occur in Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" (see also augmented triad), the Chiffons' "One Fine Day", Mariah Carey's "Vision Of Love", Pink Floyd's "Us and Them", Toni Braxton's "I Don't Want To", Radiohead's "Life in a Glasshouse" and Depeche Mode's "Jezebel".

The chord, which has Forte number 4-19, "may be regarded as the sonic emblem of music of the Second Viennese School because of its prevalence and multiple strategic functions."[3]

Minor major seventh chord table

Chord Root Minor 3rd Perfect 5th Major 7th
CmM7 C E G B
CmM7 C E G B (C)
DmM7 D F (E) A C
DmM7 D F A C
DmM7 D F A C (D)
EmM7 E G B D
EmM7 E G B D
FmM7 F A C E
FmM7 F A C E (F)
GmM7 G B (A) D F
GmM7 G B D F
GmM7 G B D F (G)
AmM7 A C (B) E G
AmM7 A C E G
AmM7 A C E (F) G (A)
BmM7 B D F A
BmM7 B D F A


  1. Brown, Royal (1994). Overtones and Undertones: Reading Film Music, chapter 6. ISBN 0-520-08544-2. cited in Sullivan, Jack (2006). Hitchcock's Music, p. 285. ISBN 0-300-11050-2. Cooper, David (2005). Bernard Herrmann's The ghost and Mrs. Muir: a film score guide, p. 167. ISBN 0-8108-5679-4. and Donnelly, Kevin (2005). The Spectre of Sound: Music in Film and Television, p. 108. ISBN 1-84457-025-8.
  2. Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p. 87. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  3. James Kenneth Wright, Alan M. Gillmor, eds. (2009). Schoenberg's Chamber Music, Schoenberg's World, p.62. Pendragon. ISBN 9781576471302.
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