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I am trying to analyze a chord progression that has an augmented 7 chord but since it doesn't resolve, I am trying to figure out what to make of it. Here is a part of the song that uses it.

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My take is that the diminished chord walks up to what might usually be a F#7 (E lydian mode) chord but the composer probably just used an Aug7 chord in its place. Is this how augmented 7th chords are normally used? The G# dim is also an inversion of E7b9 without the bass so it is just like the E goes from an E > E7 > F#7. Is that the simplified version of it?

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    7th aug. isn't the same as an aug.7th. Be very careful how the chords are named.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 18:19
  • aug = +5 referring to the aug. 5th ( C double sharp). I don‘t try to explain all progressions as functional harmony, but I‘ll try to give an answer. Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 20:11
  • Revisiting an old question ... is there anything more required for a satisfying answer?
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 4:03
  • @Aaron - Yes, the measure after the Aug. 7th chord - I'd like to make sure that the Aug. 7th chord in fact "doesn't resolve".
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 7:45
  • @Dekkadeci Heh! It didn't dawn on me that someone other than OP would reply to my comment. Fair point.
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 14:28

2 Answers 2

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We can‘t always press a progression in acommon schema, but this song reminds me on something well known:

E C#7 F#7 B7 (whereby The dominant B7 is omitted in the 2 second bar = 2 beats rest!)

The secondary dominant7b9 of F# can be replaced by the secondary VIIdim7 of F#.

So C#7 (C#-E#-G#-B) is substituted by G#dim, which actually is the 1st inversion of E#dim7 (VIIdim7 to F#): E#- G#-B-D (F => enharmonic E#)

Now the F#aug7: augmented is referring to the 5th, the Cx = C## (double sharpened!)

F#aug7 = F#7+5 = F#7 with augmented 5th = F#7 (#5=Cx)

This secondary dominant chord doesn‘t resolve - as the B7 in the second half of bar 2 is omitted.

P.S.

The first jazz progression I’ve ever learnt was I-vi-ii-V. There‘s also a usual progression I VI7 II7 V, where II is V/V and VI is V/II.

(In C this would be C am dm G7 respectively C A7 D7 G7)

in E major: E c#m f#m B7 and E C#7 F#7 B7.

The first pattern is the iso called 1 6 2 5 progression (I vi ii V). The other with major chords can be interpreted as 5th fall sequence of secondary dominants I (V7/V7/V7 I) or the major chords VI - II could be considered as the parallel chords of the minor variants vi - ii. V7/ii can be substituted by VIIdim7/ii, as VIIdim7 is also V7b9 without root tone.

So the song goes:

E - E#7/G# - F#7+5 - (B7) in parenthesis as omitted

I - VIIdim7 - V7/V ....

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  • thanks, I just read the other reply and I didn't see there was a G natural note in the "F#7+5" so does it make more sense to call the chord a F#7b9b13?
    – user35708
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 17:30
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TL;DR

The complete functional chord progression of the verse is:

(3x) I viio65/V/V V+7/V :|| V9sus4 I.

For the published chord progression see Google Search: coldplay everything's not lost sheet music.


Can aug7 chords be used in place of any dominant chord?

No. Depending on the context, the augmented 5 is going to be inappropriately dissonant to the music. Consider “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”: an aug7 is going to sound very strange in that context, particularly when the the aug5 in the harmony coincides with non-aug5 in the melody.

“Twinkle” opening phrase written with aug7 chords

“… but since it doesn’t resolve …”: or does it? (Hint: it does, eventually)

In the published versions of the song the chord progression occurs three times, but on the third time, it proceeds to F#m7/B and then E.

F#m7/B can be reconsidered as B9sus4. In that context, we see that F#m7/B is serving as the V chord, which then proceeds to E.

F#m7/B notated as B9sus4

“I am trying to decide what to make of it”: The analysis goes like this…

Noting that F#m7/B = B9sus4 (above) reveals that F#aug7 is actually V/V (i.e., Vaug7/V), which, while initially unresolved, eventually moves to V and I — a very typical progression (V/V V I), but with alterations (Vaug7/V V7sus4 I).

Typical uses of aug7 chords

The "rule" in Tonal theory is that augmented intervals resolve upward. So, in general, augmented chords serve as transitional chords between, say, I and IV or I and iv in first inversion.

X:0
K:C major
L:1/2
[CEG] [CE^G] | [CFA]2 || [CEG] [CE^G] | [CEA]2 |

This is true even when the seventh is present. So, for example:

X:0
K:C major
L:1/2
[CEG_B] [CE^G_B] | [CFA]2 || [CEG_B] [CE^G_B] | [CEA]2 |

Is this a simplified version of E, E7, F#7?

Close, but not quite. It’s related, but I would suggest it’s “complexified” and a slightly different, but related, functional progression.

G#dim is enharmonically equivalent to E#dim, and E# is the leading-tone for F#. G#dim is really E#dim, which is viio/F#.

In other words, the complete progression is

I viio65/V/V V+7/V V9sus4 I.

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  • Ok, that makes sense. Also, the G note is not in an F#7aug chord so then isn't it incorrect to call it a F#7aug5
    – user35708
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 17:31
  • F#7aug and F#7aug5 mean the same thing, and you're correct that the G is not included. More correctly, the chord would be indicated as F#7aug(b9) or F#7#5b9. IMO, the "correct" rendering of the chord in this song is F#b9b13.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 18:25

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