The Cm7 chord (sometimes written as C minor 7) embodies an expressive softness when played. It can elicit a sobering passion, longing, or solemnity. On the flipside, it can also provide a crisp, bright sound for an upbeat funk or pop tune when paired with the right progression of major chords. Proving its versatility, the soft, sincere nature of the Cm7 chord makes it perfect for love ballads or songs with a downtrodden feel.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to play this chord and listen to it strut its versatile stuff in a few different songs.
Playing the Cm7 Chord
The Cm7 chord can be played in a few different ways. Two of the most common ways to play the Cm7 involve using a barre chord pattern. The barre chord technique involves “barring” your index finger across a fret.
Cm7 in the 8th Position
The first version of the Cm7 chord we’ll play starts on the 8th fret. Playing it further down the fretboard gives it a brighter, higher sound. To play the Cm7 barred 8th position chord, start by barring your index finger across all six strings of your 8th fret. Then, place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the A string. Strum all six strings.
Index finger: 8th fret of the low E (6th) string
Index finger: 8th fret of the D (4th) string
Index finger: 8th fret of the G (3rd) string
Index finger: 8th fret of the B (2nd) string
Index finger: 8th fret of the high E (1st) string
Ring finger: 10th fret of the A (5th) string
Strum all six strings down from the low E string.
Cm7 in the 3rd Position
Let’s take a look at a second version of the Cm7 chord that offers a lower, potentially more melancholy sound. This other barre chord version of the Cm7 starts on the third fret.
To play it, start by barring your index finger across the 3rd fret, beginning on your A string. Barre your index finger across five strings. (You won’t play the low E string.)
Next, place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the D string. Finally, add your middle finger to the 4th fret of the B string. Strum five strings down, beginning with your A string and omitting the low E.
Index finger: 3rd fret of the A (5th) string
Index finger: 3rd fret of the G (3rd) string
Index finger: 3rd fret of the high E (1st) string
Ring finger: 5th fret of the D (4th) string
Middle finger: 4th fret of the B (2nd) string
Strum five strings down from the A string.
What Notes Make Up the Cm7 Chord?
The Cm7 chord is made up of a quartet of notes, as seen below:
C, Eb, G and Bb
Songs that Use the Cm7 Chord
The Cm7 chord can provide a solid funk foundation when paired with the right major progression. Kool and the Gang’s upbeat wedding staple, “Celebration,” is musical proof of this perfect pairing. The Cm7 comes into play on the pre-chorus, providing a low-and-slow bend in the progression before the tempo speeds back up on the song’s ultra-memorable chorus.
In keeping with the funk style, the Cm7 chord teams up with a Dm7 chord to give Ripple’s funk classic “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky” its signature sound. This song switches between only two minor seventh barre chords, but its funk-flavored strum patterns show just how much you can do with only two chords. (The song is short on lyrics, but long on feel, rhythm, and is guaranteed to put you in a good mood.)
From funk to swing-tinged rock, the Cm7 chord is on full display with the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s bluesy, ‘40s-flavored anthem “Jump Jive-N-Wail.” This song provides a great example is a great example of 12 bar blues used in an upbeat setting, spun with a vintage rock ‘n’ roll twist.
And for good measure, one more example of the Cm7’s funk leanings appears on BT Express’s funk hit “ou Got It, I Want It.” Fret-hand muting and super fast 16th note strumming showcase the versatility of this chord, which provides the rhythmic backbone of both the chorus and the verse.
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