Mamma harmonic analysis

Context: The piece is in G major.

What's going on, harmonically, in the 2nd and 3rd bars here? I'm confused by the first chord (c#be'b') of the 2nd bar and the 2nd chord of bar 3 (ec#g'b')?

So far I'm thinking: x? iii6 vi iii6 x'? iii64

  • 4
    I'm curious to hear some thoughts from those who have voted to close under the "transcribing or finding a particular song, including identifying chords, notes, key and time signatures, or similar elements" reason. To my mind this is exactly the sort of question that we do cover under "technical analysis of a specific, complete work, or well defined section thereof." It even includes the musical excerpt and the author has shown what they have so far. The close-reason is intended for questions like "Do my transcription for me" and "I have these pitches what weird chord does it make." Sep 7, 2023 at 14:10
  • Meanwhile, I'm not at all sure of the final answer, but I suspect it will involve "ignoring" the repeated B as a pedal tone? Sep 7, 2023 at 14:13
  • Interesting thought about the pedal point: I had never considered the possibility that they could exist in any voice other than the bass. After looking this up just now, I discovered a whole new concept: the inverted pedal point. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point Sep 8, 2023 at 7:44

2 Answers 2


As @Andy_Bonner mentioned in comments, ignoring the B pedal tones in both measures, bar 2 beat 1 is C# and E and bar 3 beat 2 is the same two notes with an added G. Both of those sound like incomplete viio/iii chords with no leading tone, although at this point it really sounds like he has modulated to B minor. The absence of the leading tone is due to the pedal of the B note in the melody and harmony.

The voice leading doesn’t go in the direction you would expect, which would be C#-B and E-D. The G does resolve downwards to the F# though. Despite that the effect sounds like a dominant to tonic motion.


In the first measure, there is a cadence in B minor, and the subsequent progression makes more sense when considered in that key. It becomes

ii7  i6  iv  i6  ii7  i64

Notated chord progression w/ RNA

  • 1
    This is the better answer. The piece is already in B minor since measure 10 (last beat measure 9 signals a decisive V7-I cadence with F#7/e, the V7 of B minor). i - ii7 - i6 - iv progression is quite common, and starting measure 12 beat 2 until m. 15 b. 1 the first voice (e-d-e-f#-g-f#-g-f#-e) is no longer the top note. Top note (b) is simply a common note functioning as pedal point in the harmonic progression, reminiscent of Chopin's Raindrop prelude bars 28-31. Sep 9, 2023 at 16:01

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