I've heard this progression many times and in many ways over the course of my life, but I can't seem to assign a name to it or find out any further information about it or its history. It goes as follows:

ii (3 times) - ii6 - ii - ii6 - I

I use it with Am, Am6 and G major and it seems to have a triumphal and/or conclusive nature to it.

Any help would be appreciated.

  • 3
    What is the question? By the way, note that ii6 is V9 without a root. Nov 1, 2023 at 4:37
  • 1
    This feels like kind of a relative of the "Hollywood cadence". Nov 1, 2023 at 12:14
  • 1
    ii6, meaning a triad ii6/3, is not the same as Am6, a minor triad with added M6. Makes a difference, because the later has a tritone, but, the former does not. Nov 2, 2023 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


Minor chords with inner movement within the harmony are very common in different styles of music. They may have a specific name or history, I can’t recall offhand. When a chord progression works it tends to get used by many different artists, possibly with variations, and sounds familiar to us.

The reason Am to Am6 to G has the triumphant and conclusive nature you described is very simple. Those 3 chords basically function in a very similar way to a ii-V7-I, a subdominant-dominant-tonic resolution. After the Am you have an Am6, which is basically a D7 with an E instead of a D in the chord (or a rootless D9/A). It also is the first inversion of F#m7b5, which is a viio chord, another dominant chord in G major. That chord has most of the defining elements you need for a V7-I resolution, which is the F#-C tritone resolving inward to the G-B root and third of the I chord. The only thing it lacks is the descending 5th movement from D-G in the bass.

  • 1
    Bonus points if you respell Am6 as F#m7b5/A (F# half-diminished 7th).
    – Dekkadeci
    Nov 1, 2023 at 5:55
  • 2
    @Dekkadeci Although enharmonically equivalent, they're not functionally equivalent, and Am6 better expressing the chord's function as "minor with inner movement".
    – Aaron
    Nov 1, 2023 at 6:16
  • 1
    @Dekkadeci I did not respell it but it does merit mentioning, which I did in paragraph 2. Nov 1, 2023 at 6:23
  • @John Belzaguy Thanks for your response. The information on the theory behind the progression is interesting. I'm recently retired and have taken up learning the guitar and theory as a hobby, so I know (at this early point) about the major 6th substitution for the relative minor 7th. I was not aware it also worked for the minor 6th too. The phrase I'm thinking of is so common and used so often that I'm almost certain it has a name. It is very similar (but not exact) to the theme played by the organ in the first three seconds of this song: youtube.com/watch?v=zp8yKwPrzwM Nov 1, 2023 at 15:45
  • 1
    @EdwardKirby My pleasure. The example in the link very different though, it is a I to a iv6 back to I, in this case, Db-Gbm6-Db. Often progressions don’t actually have names but are sometimes named for the song they are identified with, “I Got Rhythm” changes, “Lollipop” turnaround for I-vi-V-V, etc. Nov 1, 2023 at 17:32

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.