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In the song Let It Ride by Robert Glasper, he uses this voicing AFAICT for the first chord of the song:

C G Ab Bb Eb

I don't know what to call this except Cm7b6, but sites like Ultimate Guitar don't recognize this as a valid chord. Is there any other name that unambiguously specifies these notes?

The second chord is almost the same transposed down:

A F G C (EDIT: actually it's voiced A G C F)

I'd call this F2/A. The first chord is almost Ab2/C but that wouldn't imply the G.

EDIT: Here's the progession I just submitted to Ultimate Guitar:

Cm7b13  Fsus2/A
        I've never been a gambler
Bbm9sus4  Fm9
            I stay on the same side
Dm7b13  Csus4/Db
            in all
Fm9  Fsus4/Gb
        So I know I'm alright
3
  • If I had to reduce it to a simple triad, it would be just Ab major. One step closer to the original, Ab/C is a closer simple version. One step closer from there, Ab maj7 / C. The last step closer, Ab maj9 / C. This C minor seven flat thirteen contraption is unnecessarily complicated and doesn't explain what the chord does. Mar 19, 2021 at 8:06
  • The voicing doesn't have an F though and to me it sounds totally wrong to add an F to it. But yeah other folks have suggested Ab/C up to Abmaj9/C.
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 8:08
  • Yes, Ab felt better than Fm there. By the way, "stay on the same side"? What would that mean, contrasting gambling to staying on the same side? Isn't it "on the safe side"? You shouldn't trust transcriptions from the internet! ;) Mar 19, 2021 at 9:46

4 Answers 4

2

Cm7b6 would more typically be called Cm7b13. You can find several voicings for the chord on https://www.guitar-chord-finder.com/print/Cm7(b13).

The other chord would be called either Fsus2/A or F(add9)/A. Given the voicing specified, Fsus2/A is the better description.

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  • Does Cm7b13 typically imply a voicing with the Ab on top like C G Bb Eb Ab? That voicing has a very different character that wouldn't sound good in this context
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:13
  • And whoops, I forgot the sus in Fsus2/A.
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:19
  • Also I was wrong about the Fsus2/A voicing because I was already thinking of that name for it. In the song he actually voices it as A G C F. But I'm pretty sure Fsus2/A is still a better description for that
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:21
  • @Andy Yes, typically a b13 chord would be voiced with the b13 above the b7, but see the voicings given in the link; they vary. Also, given the A G C F voicing, it's worth considering Am7(add11) or, given the Eb in the preceding chord, Am7b5(add11). That would all depend on context.
    – Aaron
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:29
  • this is one of those songs where it's debatable what the tonic is too, in the context of the whole song it sounds to me like F is the tonic, not Bb. The Fm9 feels most resolved to me.
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 7:36
4

Listening to the tune, it's Abmaj9/C. If I had to reduce it to a simple triad, it would be just Ab major. One step closer to the original, Ab/C is a closer simple version. One step closer from there, Ab maj7 / C. The last step closer, Ab maj9 / C. This C minor seven flat thirteen contraption is unnecessarily complicated and doesn't explain what the chord does.

When writing chords to a song, you should think about things in order of importance. You first think about what country you're in, then what city, and then what neighborhood or block. It should be possible to read your directions and at least get in the right country. Chord symbols are written for songs so that people with different skills and instruments can play the song.

Find the coarse level by simplifying the chords. If you had to do the essential thing with a simple triad, what would be the least wrong choice, given the context? Then what bass inversion? Then what chord extensions.

In this case, the first, coarsest level is Ab major. Then you add the bass, Ab/C. Then you add other notes. Ab maj7 / C. Final fine-tuning step, add the Bb note: Ab maj9 / C.

If you write it as "Cm" something, IMO you got the country and city wrong, like "in Canada, Montreal, 2000 miles south from the center." That's not in Canada anymore.

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  • +1 for the point about simplifying the chords to find what the basic foundation is!
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 8:24
  • 1
    Note the symbol Ab9 suggests flat seventh, it's not the same as Abmaj9. Mar 19, 2021 at 15:26
  • 1
    @user1079505 Good catch, thanks. Fixed. I did have the maj9 twice though. I said it 3 times, but only got 2 out of 3 right. ;) Mar 19, 2021 at 16:29
  • 1
    You can tell it's not in Canada because it would have been 3200 kilometres south from the centre. :)
    – Théophile
    Mar 19, 2021 at 19:28
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For me, this is an A♭M9 / C chord rather than a c minor flavor, although the voicing definitely justifies seeing it that way as well.

I suggest playing an A♭ at the bottom and see if it still fits or sounds/feels wrong. Then you'll know for sure! :D

As for the second chord, FM9 / A or F2 / A.

I'm kind of curious to know what the next chord is. That extra context would help a lot! If it's me, I'm expecting some variety of DM7 chord or D♭M7 chord next, because I'm feeling motion in 3rds.

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  • Yeah, my jazz spellings are really bad. Thank you! I'm still very curious about the 3rd chord. If it's D or D♭, then I like this view on the chord. If it's B♭, then not so much. Mar 19, 2021 at 7:10
  • My pleasure. I’ll remove my first comment. You can edit your answer if you like. Mar 19, 2021 at 7:13
  • @Bennyboy1973 I added my transcription of the chords to my question
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 7:15
  • The following two chords after theses two are Bbm11 amd Fm9. Mar 19, 2021 at 7:15
  • I guess Bbm11 is probably preferable to Bbm9sus4 huh
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 7:16
0

I’m not sure there is a G in the first chord, it sounds to me like (bottom to top) C Ab Bb Eb. In that case I would call it a Cm7(#5). Interestingly, if you move the Ab an octave up to the top of the chord (or drop the F of the second chord down an octave) they are identical but a m3rd apart. However the voicings used make the chord qualities sound different even though they share the same notes. The second chord sounds like F(add2)/A because of the F on top but the first chord sounds like a root position minor chord with a #5 because of the Eb on top.

If I’m wrong and the G Is in the first chord then I think Cm7b13 is accurate like @Aaron said. Chords that are voiced in 2nds and 4ths can usually be named/interpreted in different ways. Great question BTW.

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    I hear the 5/b6 crunch in the chord on C but not the chord on A. That 5/b6 crunch appears again in the third bar where it goes Dm7b13 Csus4/Db. (Maybe people would write Csus4/Db as Dbmaj7#11?)
    – Andy
    Mar 19, 2021 at 7:12
  • When I include the G with a Rhodes sound it sounds a little denser than what I hear on the record but Rhodes chords can be difficult to nail down so I wouldn’t bet too much on it :). I personally try and spell from the root as much as possible when it makes sense to do so (bass player) so I would go with the Db root, maybe Dbmaj7b5. Sometimes things just have to be written out, like in this case because chord symbols can leave too much open to interpretation. Mar 19, 2021 at 7:37

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