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Hi everyone.

I'm analyzing "When Christmas Comes to Town", which is one of my favorite holiday songs.

The image shows the last four measures of the bridge section. The bridge is in E♭-minor, while the rest of the song is in E♭-major.

I'm trying to figure out how to analyze the final two measures of the bridge section. The last measure seems to be a straight-forward ii7 - V7 back to I in the next measure.

There are two ways I thought of analyzing the final two measures:

  1. The B7 (enharmonic to C♭7) almost seems to be acting like a Ger+6 chord, although it moves to ii7 (or ii7add11) before resolving to V7. The melody of the final measure of the bridge has the note B♭, which would be the note of resolution if the B7 is acting as a Ger+6 chord.

  2. Another way I thought of looking at this was to consider the F♯m7 and B7 as a ii7 - V7 of ♭II (F♭-major, or E major), and this (eventually) resolves to the tritone substitution of ♭II (which would be a regular V7).

Do these analyses make sense? Is there a better way to analyze these measures that I haven't considered? I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. Thanks in advance, and happy holidays!

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    It is my long-held opinion that there is no functional difference in the analysis of an augmented sixth and that of bII7/V, so for me your two ways are in essense one and the same
    – Judy N.
    Dec 6, 2020 at 13:45
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    I agree with Judy, as far as I also interpreted the Ger aug 6 just as bVI before I learnt to know the development of the aug 6. As far as I see your analysis is correct. Dec 6, 2020 at 20:23

2 Answers 2

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This is a sequence of ii-V7 progressions:

  1. Fm-Bb7-Ebm

  2. F#m-B7- ??? is actually Gbm-Cb7 -> Bb7 (Bb suspended by Fm7-B7sus)

and Cb7 is actually Cb,Eb,Gb,A = the German sixth chord functionally resolving to Bb:

Explanation:

ab,cb,eb,gb=ivm7 of Eb-minor, cb,eb,gb,ab=first inversion. Cb,eb,gb,a=augmented56 (=German6th) resolving to ii-V7 of Eb.

Resume:

The Ger6 analysis is rather a classical analysis, while the other one is common in pop music.

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F♯m7, B7 is a ♭5 substitution for Cm7, F7, which is standard 'cycle of 5ths'.

This also illustrates the strength of the ii7, V7, (I) progression. You can jump to just about any place and, as long as you follow that pattern it sounds OK. (See 'Giant Steps'.)

If you want it as a 'rule of thumb', a short functional sequence (and you can't get much more functional than ii7, V7) can be effectively preceded by the same sequence a semitone up. Stick it in your bag of tricks.

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