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In this particular chord progression (appeared in a Jacob Collier video), I'm trying to understand the meaning of all the successors to each chord.

I undertand F9/A - Abm13b5 - Gm11 as II7-V7-IMaj7 in EbMaj.

Cm11-Bbm11 can be understood as iii-ii

But I can't understand Bbm11 - D7#9#11/A - Abm11, can you help me with this one ?

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  • Your 1st premise doesn't seem right. Key there is Bb, so Gm won't be I. Even without the extensions, the RN doesn't seem right, in any key.
    – Tim
    Aug 13, 2023 at 1:48

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TL;DR

There are two fancied-up iii-vi-ii-V progressions in F and Gb major, respectively.


The chord symbols in this case are an attempt to give a more-or-less literal translation of the written chord — that is, indicating all of the pitches present — rather than a functional one.

To begin deciphering them, note that in the first measure F is a pedal tone, and in the second measure, Ab is a pedal tone.

Considering that F is not a chord tone in each case, leaves us with

A-7b5 – Ab-7b5 — G-7(add11) — C-7

However, the C in the G-7(add11) is also not a functional pitch. It's an anticipation of the resolution to the following C-7. Thus:

A-7b5 — Ab-7b5 — G-7 — C-7

Or, even more simply

A-7 – Ab-7 – G-7 – C-7

A similar process allows for simplification of the second measure. The first chord reduces to Bb-7, the second to Ao7, the third to Ab-7, and the fourth to Db7, which resolves into GbM7.

Bb-7 – Ao7 — Ab-7 — Db7 — GbM7

Now, allowing that the second chord in each measure is a tritone substitution, we have something like

F: iii  —  vi  —  ii  —  V
Gb: iii  —  vi  —  ii  —  V  — I
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