I know about V/V and slash chords, which are another key chord and inversions, but the symbol in the picture throws me off.

'A major' triad does not have G in it. What do A/G and then its Roman numeral mean?

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2 Answers 2


The slash in A/G means an A major chord with a G note in the bass. Thus producing A7, 3rd inversion.

The RN configuration is much the same, the /VII meaning a bass note of VII (G) along with the aforesaid A major chord.


I'm assuming the staff has an implied tenor clef. I will also assume a 3-sharp signature so that A is a major chord.

The slash in the RN is the same as V/V, thus the V42/IV is a I42 chord (speaking non-functionally) or in this case, an A7 chord in third inversion; the first chord is an A-major chord (A,C#,E) and the second chord is G,A,C#,E. The next chord will likely be F#,A,D.

This fits both the RN analysis and the slash chord description. (I think.)

  • You don’t have to assume tenor clef. More likely the note shown is an E on the treble clef and is only part of the melody, and it’s not figured bass. Commented Mar 18 at 11:06
  • I didn't treat it as figured bass. I just figured that an A-major chord would most likely be in A. (Statistically, A-major mostly occurs in D according to something I read. I don't remember where.) The same analysis I did would apply to any key. The OP's stated assumptions were correct. I tried to extrapolate his comments.
    – ttw
    Commented Mar 18 at 13:36
  • I still don’t understand why you assumed tenor clef but whatever. Commented Mar 18 at 21:28
  • If I read it correctly, the bass of the chord is on the first line. There are no modifiers so I take the chord to be in root position. The only clef with an A on the first line is the tenor clef. A treble clef would imply a 64-chord, a bass clef a 42-chord, and a soprano clef, an A minor chord.
    – ttw
    Commented Mar 19 at 0:13
  • I can’t think of a reason to believe the note shown is the bass note. It’s at least as likely to be the melody note, as in a pop or jazz lead sheet. Also I find it unlikely that chord symbols and tenor clef would be used in the same part. Trombone and cello parts would quite rarely show chord symbols. Finally, if that is the bass note, it should change to a G before the end of the bar. Commented Mar 19 at 0:16

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