I am looking to complete a chord progression of 3 chords that I try to identify first before continuing the progression. However having no theoretical background I am struggling if you could please help me. By the way, please correct me if I express myself badly in musical terms, I will be very happy to learn.

I am starting from the first chord: D-G-A-B-A-D. Firstly I identified the first part which is D-G-A-B. From this chord, I identify a G major chord in the third inversion where a major 9th is added so it is a Gadd9 chord. Moreover, the addition at the end of A-D to obtain D-G-A-B always gives the same chord. So it is a Gadd9 chord.

The second chord is given by D-E-G-C-D-G. I identify the beginning as D-E-G-C. This looks like a C major chord in the second inversion i.e. E-G-C with the addition of a major 2nd. As before since we add G-C (a perfect 5th and a major 9th), this gives the chord Cadd9.

The third and more complex chord is given by D-E-G-C-E-F♯-A. I recognise (in passing details) the notes D-F#-A-C-E (Root Note, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, Major 9th) which gives a D9 chord. If the leading tone (F♯) was removed from the dominant chord with a suspension (G) resulting in less dissonance we would get a D9sus4 chord. Also, the 9th (E) was brought to the middle of the chord and I think placing the E next to the D creates a whole tone cluster (I think that is the term ) resulting in a pleasant harmonic colouration. For me, the chord is a D11.

Now that I have identified the 3 chords (but for the last one I doubt it), what would be the way to continue the progression so as to avoid a dissonance after the chord I have identified as a D11?

Thank you for taking the time to read me

  • 1
    It seems odd to me so see both the tonic (G) and the leading tone (F#) in the same dominant. More common, at least in jazz, would be to give the D chord a #11 (G#). This note would then probably rise up to A, giving the tonic chord an added ninth for color.
    – nuggethead
    Nov 1, 2021 at 17:00
  • I think there’s wiggle room to interpret D-G-A-B-A-D as essentially a D power chord with a 4th and 6th added. Nov 1, 2021 at 20:49
  • @Marcel If you reduce your progression to the bare skeleton you get G/D C/D D, which is basically a modified 4-6-suspension, but instead of suspending the tonic over the dominant we suspend a tonic and a subtonic over the dominant.
    – Lazy
    Nov 1, 2021 at 21:50
  • A GMaj triad with D in the bass is in 2nd inversion, not 3rd; similarly, a CMaj triad with E in the bass is in 1st inversion, not 2nd. Placing the 9th in the bass complicates things, and it's a little unusual to put the 9th below the root; I'd probably think of the second chord as a slash chord instead of an inversion.
    – user39614
    Nov 2, 2021 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


Your synopsis is good. The chords named are fine. Since you're now on a dominant chord (D11 is a dominant of key G), and dominants often herald the return of the tonic chord, why not go on to a G chord of some sort. Even a humble G triad will work. making it a perfect cadence. Or, go to an interrupted cadence by playing an E minor based chord.


Notation would be better so we know exactly how the chords are voiced.

But, one thing is immediately noticeable: you have a possible pedal going on with the D in the bass for all.

Pedals are normally a single tone, but I notice that you have D and G sustained in all three chords. You could think of that as a double pedal. If you selectively eliminate the D and G - considering them as pedal tones on tonic and dominant - you have these are the remaining triads...


...I dropped the ninths on the first two chords but kept the seventh and ninth on the third because with a bit of careful reduction you can view your three chords as holding the tonic G and dominant D while playing over them in pedal fashion the I, IV and V9 chords of G major. The sevenths and ninths that are added to those chords become nice details, but don't really change the "functional" identities of the three chords tonic, subdominant, and dominant over the pedal tones.

what would be the way to continue the progression so as to avoid a dissonance after the chord I have identified as a D11?

If you agree with what I've said about I IV V over a pedal, then so far you have laid out the primary harmonies of G major. From that point you really could do anything you want. If you want to continue with the pedal device, keep in mind that dissonance is one of the features of a pedal. You typically start with consonance over the pedal, move into dissonances, and then return to consonance as the pedal passage unfolds. You don't need to worry too much about dissonance. In fact, continuing without resolving the V9 would be a way to intensify the harmony and color of a pedal passage.

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