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I have the hobby of playing the bass guitar since 4-5 months, and for deeper knowledge of music I'm studying harmony. I have no formal education on music so please be patient. I've choosen Autumn Leaves as chord progression to harmonize and while writing the voice leading I've developed some doubts about the nature of chords and their naming. More or less this would be the general chord progression (with some modification as the C7 and Fmaj7).

Cmin7 C7 | Fmaj7 F7 | Bbmaj7 | Ebmaj7 | Amin7b5 | D7 | Gmin |

Thing is that when I try to make the voice leading be as smooth as possible from F7 to Bbmaj7 I'm left with a D A# F A in place of the latter.

First of all I couldn't name this chord because it's not a direct inversion of Bbmaj7. Moreover, this situation happened again with other chords (for instance D A# D# G on Ebmaj7) while trying to apply the less movement possibile to all the voices.

D A# F A seems to have no name related to Bbmaj7, and with the notes arranged in that order am I losing the feeling and the nature of Bbmaj7, maybe also its function in the progression?

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    What are the notes you use, from lowest to highest, of the F7 chord right before the Bbmaj7 chord? Note that D A# F A is an enharmonic re-spelling of Bbmaj7 in first inversion, assuming notes go from lowest to highest. It's possible you're already using inversions without realizing it (say you use Eb C F A for F7).
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 20, 2022 at 20:50
  • As Dekkadeci wrote, A# is (enharmonically) the same note as Bb. Does it clarify it for you? Question on the leaps seems to be a separate question. You may want to ask it as a separate question (or remove the other parts, if they are clarified, and leave only that). Feb 20, 2022 at 21:00
  • @user1079505 The point on the enharmonic it's clear, in this way the chord becomes a Bbmaj7/D. I've removed the other part of the question, maybe I'll ask later
    – Antonio
    Feb 20, 2022 at 21:06
  • @Dekkadeci i wrote the F7 voices exactly as D# (that is, now it's clear, enharmonically Eb C F A). Thank you
    – Antonio
    Feb 20, 2022 at 21:11

2 Answers 2

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Re-label the A♯ as B♭ and I think it will fall nicely into place!

B♭maj7 is B♭, D, F, A. Your chord is a simple re-arrangement of these notes.

Similarly, D, A#, D#, G makes much more sense when spelt D, B♭, E♭, G.

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  • I grasped the concept, thanks! How would you name the D, B♭, E♭, G inversion?
    – Antonio
    Feb 20, 2022 at 22:13
  • @Antonio EbM7/D
    – Aaron
    Feb 20, 2022 at 22:53
  • Ebmaj7/D. Or maybe just Eb/D. That's not generally a good-sounding way of voicing Ebmaj7, except in the context of a bass line descending Eb, D, C...
    – Laurence
    Feb 21, 2022 at 18:25
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There is another way to 'voice lead', and that's usng a walking bassline rather than just outlining the chord notes.

Consider playing up the scale, so the notes (4 in the bar) for bar 1 will be C, D, E♭, E, leading to bar 2, F, G;, A♭, A. Bar 3- B♭, C, D♭, D and so on. That would be a pattern I might use for a couple of verses in Autumn Leaves, then change to something completely different.

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