I'm aware that there are a multitude of ways to voice a chord - some chord tones can be omitted and other tones can be added, and one does not need to stack in 3rds (although I'm not sure of how to build chords by stacking other intervals yet).

For brevity, though, I'll keep it simple; are there tried and true fingerings to for Major, Minor, or Dominant Seventh Chords in root-position (I know it's up to the players discretion and if extended tones are to be added, but assume no extended tones are added)?

For instance, consider the following root-position chords and fingerings for the right hand. For C7 my hand wants to play C,E,G,Bb with the fingers 1,2,4,5, respectively, and use the same fingers for a CM7 chord as well. This fingering is also reasonable for an Eb7 chord, however, for an EbM7 (again, in root-position using the right hand) it feels more comfortable to use the fingers 1,2,3,5.

This illustrates that when I follow what feels most comfortable to me, the fingering of a root-position Major 7th chord depends on its root, unless I should try and hammer out what doesn't feel comfortable until it's comfortable.

So what, if any, is a typical way of voicing Major, Minor, and Dominant Seventh Chords in root-position? A reference is fine, and my apologies if this is a dumb question with no answer. I just want to move on to building chords by stacking intervals of 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths rather than 3rds, but I first need to establish traditional voicings in muscle memory.

4 Answers 4


The fingerings chords are bound to change even on the same chord as you change the root note because your fingers tend to lay differently so it's perfectly natural to have the same chord built on a different root notes have different fingerings.

Personally for the dominant 7th chords in root position closed with the right hand I'll play 1-2-3-4 and for major 7th chords I'll play 1-2-3-5. It's just how my fingers comfortably lay for these chords. Depending on the context and what you're actually doing, you'll most likely find yourself playing many different fingers for the same chord as what chords/notes you're coming from and going to are going to be different thus you may find different fingerings useful at different times.


I recommend using 1,2,4,5 when you can. I have larger than normal hands (but not abnormally large). I've been playing for 9 or 10 years, and I noticed that I used to use 1,2,3,5 but now I find using 1,2,4,5 is much better since overtime it gives you more reach (there are lots of pieces that require a 4->1 finger movement, such as what is required when playing Bb major arpeggio on the keyboard) <- it is good practice.

But then again I haven't had a lesson in years, so maybe this isn't the best way for you (it is for me, that is for sure...).


A simple answer I can give from experience is yes 1, 2, 3 and 5 in a root position is perfect, but it can change depending on the next note you play. Like if you have an A7 chord but your next note is the A an 8ve above your root note, then I'd play the 7th note with my 4th finger. But normally when playing in chordal accompaniment, IN ROOT POSITION you're okay with 1, 2, 3, 5.

  • RH 1,2,3,5 does seem reasonable, if not appropriate, for a major seventh chord in every key, so I can use this fingering as a base. RH 1,2,4,5 works well for major seventh chords in the keys of A, D, and E, so I'll practice both fingerings into muscle memory in those keys. But like you said, context is everything, so hopefully all possible fingerings will eventually enter muscle memory. Grateful!
    – joeb
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 0:09

First time I've thought about it! However, 1,2,3 fit best for the triad, and for me, the pinky does both dom 7 and M7 with the right hand. It is going to depend on the player's physiology - how long each digit is comparably. Basically it matters not much, but whatever feels most comfortable and convenient, considering the previous and the next chord. Try out different ways - there aren't many combinations for 4 notes and 5 digits! Arpeggiating the notes gives a different perspective, too.

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