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I am analyzing the music of [Name of Life arranged by Makiko HIroHashi] (https://musescore.com/user/4622501/scores/5038709).

From measure 32 - 35 it goes from :

(First half of 32): Gb [IV]

(second half of 32): Db/F [I inv1]

(first half of 33): E [bIII]

(second half of 33): Ebm7 [ii7]

(first half of 34): not sure Dmaj7 [bIImaj7]

(second half of 34): Ab [V]

(first half of 35): Bbm [vi] (deceptive cadence)

My two questions:

  1. In measure 33, why does the bIII -> ii work? Is it some type of augmented 6th chord/transition chord phenomenon?

  2. What is the chord in the first half of measure 34, and how does that work in transitioning to the V chord (the second half of measure 34)?

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    I would say measure 34 is Amaj7/D. So you have two consecutive resolution half step down (E→Ebm and Amaj7/D→A). I don't know how to call it. First thing coming to my mind is tritone substitution, but it's normally applied to describe dominant 7th chord resolutions. – user1079505 Feb 3 at 20:23
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Dept. of simple answers

The composer isn't looking to adhere to the strictures of functional harmony and voice-leading, although many of the basic principles are present.

But with that in mind, the most useful analysis is to recognize the chromatic descending bass motion Gb F E Eb D as the driving force of the progression. The D serves as the tritone substitute for the V chord, which appears next, leading to a deceptive cadence.

The Db and Ab are present in nearly every chord -- as a chord tone or as a passing tone within the melody -- and typically in the same voice, which lends stability to the overall progression.

Thus, the most straightforward, abstract view is to consider the phrase as a chromatic descending bass (or fifths, if you prefer) with pedal tones above.

X: 1
T: Spirited Away
T: Abstract interpretation
K: Db major
M: 4/4
L: 1/2
V:V1
V:V2 clef=bass
%%score (V1 | V2)
[V:V1] [DA] [DA] | [DA] [DA] | [DA] [DA] | [DA] 
[V:V2] [G,D] [F,C] | [=E,=B,] [_E,_B,] | [=D,=A,] [_A,,_E,] | [B,,F,]

Dept. of "sorry I asked"

The key to analysis in more academic (pedantic?) terms is the Neapolitan (bII) chord. The Neapolitan serves a predominant function, though it can give way to the ii chord before moving to the V, as it does here.

X: 1
T: Spirited Away
T: Chord reduction
K: Db major
M: 4/4
L: 1/2
V:V1
V:V2 clef=bass
%%score (V1 | V2)
[V:V1] "GbMaj7"[FB] "Db"[DA] | "Fb (E)" [_FA] "Ebmin7"[DG] | "Ebb (D)"[DA] "Ab"[CA] | "Bbmin" [DF]
[V:V2] "_IV7"[G,,D,] "_I6"[F,,D,] | "_bII/ii (N/ii)"[_F,,_C,] "_ii7"[E,,B,,] | "_bII7#4 (N7#4)"[__E,,__B,,] "_V"[A,,E,] | "_VI"[B,,F,]

Note that the #4 in the third measure is somewhat misleading. It shouldn't be analyzed as part of the chord, but rather as an early arrival (anticipation) of the Ab in the following chord.

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    ABCjs display issue. Will fix.... – Aaron Feb 3 at 23:51
  • Very clear, thank you! – Kevin Sun Feb 4 at 3:38

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