lower-case Roman numeral one with a superscript six

The image above is a functional chord symbol. But what does the number mean?


2 Answers 2


This means a minor "one" chord (minor triad built on the tonic) in first inversion. The 6 is short for 6-3 (both superscripted, with the 6 above the 3), meaning that the chord is arranged (voiced) with a sixth and a third above the lowest pitch. The sixth and third can be displaced by one or more octaves. For example i6 could mean a sixth and a tenth above the lowest pitch.


Lower-case 'i' means the tonic chord of a minor key. The superscript '6' means first inversion. Intervals of a 6th and a third above the lowest note (the '3' is assumed.)

Note that 'Cm6' (with an explicit letter-name) means something different. That's 'C minor sixth', a C minor triad with an added A.

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