Basically you take a 7th chord and then go up or down in 3rds diatonic to the scale you're in and play the chord on that degree, trying to play the inversion where you'll have to move the fewest notes. If you do this right you'll notice that you'll have to move only one note!
Here's an example in the key of D major:
(Notice that I use roman numerals to depict scale degrees! root = I, second degree = II, etc...)
- Start with Dmaj7 root position.
- Go up a third and play the 7th chord on that scale degree, which would be a III-7 (F#-7).
- Go up a third again and play the 7th chord on that scale degree, which would be a V-7 (A7).
- Up a third again to the VII, which is VII-7b5 (C#-7b5).
- Next is the II-7 (E-7).
- IVmaj7 (Gmaj7).
- VI-7 (B-7).
- And we are back to the I but in it's first inversion.
|Shifting 7th chords up diatonically in thirds. Only one note per step needs to be moved (click to enlarge).|
What to do next?
Go upwards from the first inversion to the second inversion.
Then from the second to the third inversion and then from the third to the root.
Do the same going down in thirds.
What about shifting by other intervalls?
That is also a great exercise. I just like this one in thirds very much as only one note per step needs to be shifted and because you play every inversion between starting point and end point.