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I am reading over a score that begins with some sort of chord. The notes are (all concert notes):

Bb, C, A, G, D, F, E, Eb

The piece is in Eb Major I believe. I would like to know both what the chord is and how to determine it. The name of the piece is O Magnum Mysterium transcribed for band by H. Robert Reynolds.

  • Please post the first part of this.There appears to be only B,Ab,F# and C# missing from the whole set ! – Tim Mar 16 '14 at 9:58
  • It's a little difficult to determine as those notes comprise the entire Eb major scale! You could call it a Bb13 chord (in common usage, maybe Bb13add11 because the 11 is usually omitted from 13 chords) but the naming might change depending on its function, something we can't really determine without context. – Aaron Hipple Mar 16 '14 at 14:20
  • Is there a chord in the score or are you asking what chord to use to harmonize the melody? This question is too vague. Post a pic of the score. – ggcg Jul 1 '18 at 2:38
  • Are you talking about the piece by Morten Lauridsen (arranged by H. Robert Reynolds)? If so then it looks to me (from images on the web) as if it is a tonic chord in first inversion with an added second. – JimM Jul 1 '18 at 16:56
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You wrote that the score is for band.

Could the notes you're citing come from parts from transposing instruments like clarinet, trumpet etc? Those staffs are generally denoted in a different key than the non-transposing instruments (i.e. flute). This is important, because the transposing instruments will sound differently than their notated notes.

From what I can tell this "O Magnam Mysterium" is orignally a choir work by Lauridsen in D, which starts with a 1st inversion of the D9 major chord (first degree of the scale, F, D, E, A). The band score is transposed to Eb, so it would be G, Eb, F, Bb.

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To determine what any chord is, you should just look at all of the notes played and see what chords they match up to. For a piece in Eb Major, you would start seeing if the chords match Eb Major, or its fifth, Bb Major, or its seventh (as it's a jazz piece) Db Major.

For a chord like this, if you just list them in order starting on C, you get C, D, Eb, E, F, G, Bb. It's almost a complete scale. Which means it doesn't really match up to any conventional 'chord' you may be looking for, with the exception of some very obscure ones that mean very little.

My advice: don't try to label it. Not everything is a happy chord.

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