I'm learning from books about harmonic analysis in order to improve my interpretative skills.

So, I am studying this piece by Venezuelan composer Alfonso Montes, called "Preludio de Adiós". The first challenge appears on bar #3 where I have this sort of Fmaj7(with an augmented 4th). What would be an adequate name for such chord?

It would be awesome to read different analysis on this extract.

first 11 bars of Preludio de Adiós


I think the clearest analysis of the first three measures is:

m1: Amin7
m2: Amin6
m3: Amin(b6)

This reflects the presence of the pedal tone A and the chromatic descent G-F#-F in each measure. The B natural, being in a rhythmically weak position, serves primarily as a decorative lower neighbor to the C, rather than as part of the harmony.

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    The G Melody on the last note of each bar seems to interrupt the flow of the descending movement you indicated, at least to me, what do you think? Also, what do you think of Fmaj7/A for the 3rd chord? – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 7:44
  • @JohnBelzaguy That's a good point. Since the final-note Gs are in such a weak position, I disregarded them, but perhaps unduly. Playing it now, I hear it as a melodic element, a decorative upper neighbor to the descending line. So G-G F#-G F-G – Aaron Dec 7 '20 at 7:49
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    @JohnBelzaguy On the Fmaj7/A ... I'm torn on that. In some ways it describes the sound better, but I chose to prioritize the pedal A. I think, though, the OP would be well served if you posted a "competing" answer, especially since there's an explicit interest in a variety of interpretations. – Aaron Dec 7 '20 at 7:53
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    I guess it can also be interpreted as leading down the m7 to the root, G-A. I know it’s not part of the question, just something I found interesting. – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 7:55
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    Decided to post my own, ends up the last eighth note G’s in bars 2 and 3 are typos. – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 8:40

Not knowing what instrument this was written for I found a recording and discovered it is guitar. This is important because guitarists will often let the notes of arpeggios ring out when played. I think the Am9-Am6/9 is justified for bars 1-2. @Aaron makes a good point about the B as a lower neighbor but since this is guitar music and the B’s are sustained with the open B string I think they should be included in the chords. For the third chord I offer Fmaj7(add #4)/A. My reasoning is it implies the F below the E in the voicing. Usually this would be called #11 (“add #4” is unusual in chord symbols) but I think the #4 distinction is important because of it’s proximity to the 5th.

  • Thanks, @John Belzaguy. I corrected the wrong notes you spotted – Juan Luis Dec 7 '20 at 16:08
  • @JuanLuis My pleasure, they seemed odd so I found a recording. Venezuela has an incredibly rich and varied musical culture. I’m happy to have some very good Venezuelan musicians as friends. I will remove the correction from my answer. – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 16:40
  • @JuanLuis If you like delete the edited part and just replace your original image with the corrected one. – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 16:54
  • Done @JohnBelzaguy. I replaced the original image with the correct version! – Juan Luis Dec 7 '20 at 18:25
  • Great, remember you don’t need the highlights now. – John Belzaguy Dec 7 '20 at 21:26

This is a kind of subdominant cadence in minor, like C C7 F Fm in major ...

in minor we have i7-IV7 resp. iv#6 - iv7 resp. VI! (very common in many pop songs).

  • would you share some reference songs where this progression is found? Thanks a lot! – Juan Luis Dec 7 '20 at 18:26
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    when I listened the first time the white double album of the Beatles I thought every second song had this pattern, well, a little bit exagerated ;) and I counted also those to this group: i - i maj7- i 7 - i #6 – Albrecht Hügli Dec 7 '20 at 18:31
  • Thanks a lot for the sharing, Albretch! – Juan Luis Dec 28 '20 at 11:49
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    while my guitar gently weeps, Rocky Racoon ... – Albrecht Hügli Dec 28 '20 at 14:57

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