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In a chord progression

G(add9)/C - E7/A - C-7/F - FMaj7/G.

The author says E-7/A functions as VI-7.

Slash chord does not have 3, then how does one know it is not dominant 7 but minor 7?

Is it contextully deduced?

And also, if E were not there, would the chord then be 7sus4?

  • 3
    When quoting a score, please include the clefs and key signature. Your G red note name should be G# for it to be an E7 chord. Commented May 13 at 4:01
  • 1
    Impossible to do more than guess an answer with the scant details. Please include previous and following staves with dots, to establish voicings and continuity.
    – Tim
    Commented May 13 at 7:16
  • 1
    You gave E7/A in the progression, but ask about E-7/A, which is it? Also, you say there is no third in E-7/A but give staff notation of that chord fully voiced with the third. The question is unclear. You should post a picture of the progression presented by the author. Commented May 13 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


A-7, because all the other chords have C in them. It wouldn't make sense here to suddenly introduce a C#. Playing the chord progression with both A-7 and A7 will make that clear.

Without the E, -7sus4 would be possible, but more likely it would be considered a fourths-based (quartal) voicing of A-7. It might also be reasonable to call it G/A, since it has all of its notes in common with the preceding G chord.

  • The content of the other chords is not relevant to the E-7/A. That chord has no 3rd in relation to the A root so it is neither major or minor. Commented May 13 at 7:01
  • @JohnBelzaguy that’s true in isolation, but in context, it will be perceived as minor.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 13 at 13:04
  • If that chord didn’t have a D in it, making it an A9sus4 you can make a case for perceiving it as a minor chord. The rest of the progression is mostly sus chords as well except for the first one. There is no sense of key or functional harmony in what little we have here. Commented May 13 at 16:32
  • @JohnBelzaguy That's why I rely on the persistence of C in the other chords. The D is obviously a suspension from the preceding chord, but I feel the "natural" resolution (within the chord) would be to C rather than C#. I do think, though, that 1) this is yet another example of the interpretive nature of music analysis, which comes up a lot on the site, and 2) I really, really, really wish OP would find a different book to learn from. The questions the book is generating make clear it's confusing and often misleading.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 13 at 17:02

I’m sorry to say your diagram and explanation are vague. There is no key signature or surrounding content for context. You write E7/A as part is a progression then ask about an E-7/A. There is no key reference to back up the analysis that it is a VIm7.

Treating your chord diagram as a standalone chord with an A root, Em7/A is neither major or minor. It is an A9sus4. Perhaps the author’s analysis is based on the Em7, I can only speculate on that. If there were a G# in the key signature and it were an E7/A that would make it an Amaj9sus4, still neither major or minor based on an A root.

  • How does one know it's A maj or A min without the 3rd being there?
    – Tim
    Commented May 13 at 7:18
  • @Tim based on the info provided and the chord symbol it is an A9sus4 unless there is a key signature we are not aware of, in which case the chord symbol would be wrong. Commented May 13 at 7:21
  • Yes, agreed, we need more context.
    – Tim
    Commented May 13 at 7:31

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