I use this sequence of chords, Dmaj7, C#mi7, Emi7, E7, Eaug, Amaj7(A C# G# E), A#5#3 (A F A D), Amaj7 as an introduction for songs "Try a Little Tenderness" and "No, You Don't Know Me." Why does this progression sound acceptable even though it is nowhere in the body of the song (in the key of A)?

  • How about Dm/A for the next to last chord? A#5#3 is way too complicated a chord symbol for a simple inverted triad… Jul 23, 2022 at 19:39
  • Yes, it is a Dmin chord.
    – Fred
    Jul 23, 2022 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: The chord progression clearly establishes the key of A major, which is why it works with A major songs even though the progression itself is not in the song.

It helps to look at the end of the progression first. The chord labeled A#5#3 is really just Dmin. So the final three chords are:

Amaj7 Dmin AMaj7 (Imaj7 iv Imaj7), which is a perfectly standard plagal motion establishing the key of A major, which is where the body of the tune lies. A very smooth introduction.

Working back, consider the E7 Eaug Amaj7. This, too, is a very common progression. Essentially it's just V-I, but with the augmented chord interpolated in between, creating chromatic voice leading from the E7 chord's B, through the augmented chord's B#, and then to the A chord's C#.

Moving to the C#min7 Emin7 E7, consider the progression instead as E6 Emin7 E7. Now one can see that E6 and E7 are simply one note different: C# moving to D. The intervening Emin7 chord again provides some chromatic interest by moving from G# to G and then back to G#.

Finally, the beginning of the progression is just IV7 iii7 in A major, which is, again, not so unusual.

So, in short, the entire progression really comes down to an expanded IV V I sequence with some chromatic voice leading between the primary chords. The progression clearly establishes the key of A major, which is where the tune is. The same progression could be transposed to provide an introduction to other songs as well.

  • The A#3#5 is an Aaug/sus4 chord. It has the notes (A D F). Agree it is the Dmim chord. The D6 is the same as the its relative minor C#mi7, so labling the chords as you have done helps to see the changes that take place as the progression proceeds.
    – Fred
    Jul 23, 2022 at 20:37
  • @Fred I'm glad the answer was helpful. I would certainly appreciate your upvote.
    – Aaron
    Jul 23, 2022 at 21:11
  • I'm new so I gave an upvote but it said I don't have enough credits yet to vote.
    – Fred
    Jul 23, 2022 at 22:24
  • @Fred My mistake. You need four more reputation points before you can upvote.
    – Aaron
    Jul 23, 2022 at 22:34
  • Is it ethical to ask for upvotes..?
    – Tim
    Jul 24, 2022 at 10:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.