I am trying to identify the four chords in the beginning of this song.

My guess is Emaj7, C#m11, C#m/G#, B11sus4

  1. Is my guess correct? I am must uncertain about the third chord.
  2. I am having trouble understanding the function of the third chord. The progression seems to trace out I-vi-ii-V, but the third chord is not a ii chord. Is it some sort of secondary chord or substitution? To my ear it sounds very colorful, which seems odd given that it is just a triad without chord extensions.

It is not a C#m/G#, the third chord is an Amaj7, a IV chord in the key of E. Amaj7 does however contain a C#m triad in it. The progression is basically a 1-6-4-5. The rest of your chords are correct except for the last which I would call a B7sus4 because B11 can possibly imply it has a M3 in it. The sus4 replaces the 3 in the chord so no need to call it an 11.

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  • Thanks so much! I misheard the bass note. (I think the guitar is tuned slightly flat so it confused my hearing a little bit.) – angryavian Oct 16 at 5:40
  • My pleasure, listen later in the song and you can hear the low A in there. – John Belzaguy Oct 16 at 5:42
  • Thank you also for pointing out the error regarding the 11. Would B9sus4 work? (9sus4 does not imply the inclusion of the M3, right?) I hear an A triad in the upper structure. – angryavian Oct 16 at 5:48
  • Yes it would. I hear the A triad at times too. Liberties are often taken with chord symbols as well. Some might either write or play A/B or A maj7/B as alternates for a B7sus4 even though they’re not exactly the same. – John Belzaguy Oct 16 at 5:52
  • @JohnBelzaguy After a few listens, I can hear all but the C#min11. I consistently hear it as B. Where is the C#m triad? – Aaron Oct 16 at 5:55

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