This song should be in a-minor but I'm not sure about key changes in a following passage (starting from f#m7b5 chord). Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

am7 / em7 / am7 / em7 / f#m7b5 / B / em / em/d / c#m7b5 / Gb / Bsus / B / em /

  • Thank you for your help! By the way, what you mean about 'off topic'? Is there some rules I'm breaking with my question?
    – Janta
    Aug 4, 2023 at 17:55
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    Yes, there are certain types of questions that are acceptable here and certain that are not, referred to as off topic. Here is a guideline: music.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Sometimes you can adjust an off-topic question to make it acceptable. I think you got your answer so you’re good to go! Aug 4, 2023 at 17:59
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    This page is a great resource, welcome and good luck! Aug 4, 2023 at 18:02
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    FYI, this could be on-topic, since questions about analyzing the theory of a "clearly defined section" of a piece are totally ok. Please edit, though, to make it clear what the question is (it's not clear what you're not sure about), and please give more details about the passage. If you have the music notated, please add that; if not, at least the rhythm of the changes. Aug 4, 2023 at 18:15
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    I would understand the 'f#m7b5' rather as am6, and the c#m7b5 rather as em6. Keep it simple.
    – user207421
    Aug 5, 2023 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


Why do you think the song is in A minor? The presence of nondiatonic B chord resolving to Em makes me think it's rather E minor. Or at least the section you include is in E minor. It is very characteristic for minor keys that the dominant (V) chord is be major (or dominant seventh chord), rather than minor (Bm would be diatonic in the key of E minor).

• F#ø B Em is iiø-V-I to Em.

• C#ø / Gb / Bsus / B / em – I would write F# instead of Gb. Then it becomes easier to see that C#ø / F# is iiø-V to B, that is secondary ii and secondary dominant (V). Bsus delays the appearance of the leading tone D#, making us wait longer for the dominant chord, thus increasing the tension. Then finally we have the dominant B (V) resolving to the tonic E (i). This long sequence gravitating towards Em gives me a strong feeling that Em is the tonic, not Am.

I'm not sure on what level you are. If the above explanation is not clear, I would suggest learning about:

  • diatonic chords
  • ii-V-I progression (sometimes called 251)
  • secondary dominants
  • Pretty much what I said in comments but more detailed, +1 Aug 4, 2023 at 17:52
  • Thanks for your thoroughly answer, user1079505
    – Janta
    Aug 4, 2023 at 18:03

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