I have a song that I am using Roman numeral analysis for a song I have written. The first part based on D minor.

The minor progression looks like this:

I__ Isus __ VII
Dm Dmsus CMajor

However in the second part of the song I have stuck to the same scale but it sounds more like F Major. Should I still stick to the Jazz notation based of of Dm as the root note?


Difficult to say. I'd be tempted to keep it all written around the original root useless there is some obvious modulation going on (even if they are closely related). One thing I would consider is writing it out as major and looking at it that way. The notes in a Dsus (it can't be a Dmsus because we remove the 3rd.) are D G A which could imply a G9 on a d bass (notated as D/G9). And if you viewed it that way it'd be a ii - V - I in the key of C. A jazzier way of looking at it! Another reminder is that when using roman neumarals we use lower case for minor chords and upper for majors. This helps us keep it clear which notes are where and what angle you're coming from with the analysis. Last couple of points is that jazz uses extended chords by default and it's not typical to use just triads (it does happen though)! Try it with 7ths & 9ths and see what happens. Lastly analysis is odd there are loads of ways to do it. You just have to justify your perspective.

Hope this helps,

Cai Martlew

  • cool thanks Cai, theres enough meat in your reply to keep my thinking for a week or so :) – Nikos Apr 2 '13 at 10:57
  • 1
    G9 on a D bass=G9/D – Tim Apr 2 '13 at 16:39
  • If the song was wholly minor would you base the numbers starting from the minor root? I just find it a bit difficult trying to remember 2 number systems. – Nikos May 21 '15 at 7:54

Base all of it on the F key signature.

VIm VImsus V

  • Thanks, that certainly makes things more simple, but don't you think its better overall to think in terms of the chords in relation to the root, to really think in terms of the tonality of the Minor scale? – Nikos May 21 '15 at 7:50
  • when we're talking about the relative minor, it makes more sense to reference the major key. But when you're talking about other minor keys that don't have a natural key signature, then you can use the root of that key as the reference point. – Michael Martinez May 21 '15 at 16:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.