I have a chord progression in the key of C, which walks up from the IV chord up to a particular variation of the V7 chord, which I'm trying to name in a helpful way for a lead sheet. Here are my voicings on piano, split between the left hand (LH) and right hand (RH)

Fmaj9 (LH) F – (RH) E G A C

F#7b5 (LH) F# – (RH) E F# A# C

G ??? (LH) G – (RH) Eb F Bb C

This chord resolves to an Abmaj7 as the bVI chord in Cm, so I think of it as a dominant and not a minor with an alternate bass, even though the guide tones might suggest otherwise. I see it as something like either a G7#5#9sus4, or a Cm7add11/G.

I also notice that it happens to look like a quartal voicing starting on G if it were inverted out of the close voicing it's in now.

Do either of these seem right? What's the most helpful name for this chord?

EDIT: To give you some context, this is a rehearsal of the song in question: http://www.memoirsband.com/mp3/Time For Nature.mp3. The progression happens at the top of the opening section, just after the first six chords.

  • I've added a link to a recording for context– maybe this gives you all a better idea of why I think of this as a G chord. Curious to see how the melody changes the tonal implications for you. Jul 14, 2014 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


It's an Eb6/9 chord with a G in the bass. A major 6/9 chord is a chord that has the basis of a major triad and has a major 6th and a major 9th(major 2nd) in it without a 7th. The spelling is Eb G Bb C F. The full chord symbol would be Eb6/9/G.

Also as a side note, it would be difficult for this chord to function as a dominant as the leading tone of C major/minor (B) is not in the chord. But this chord functions easily as a dominant to Abmaj7 since Eb major is the dominant chord in Ab major.

You could look at it as some type of C or G chord, but the two you symbols you have suggested are not completely correct. It would be a Cm11/G C Eb G Bb (D) F or a Gm11#5 G Bb D# F (A) C. I would not use the Cm11/G because the next chord you want to go to is a C chord.

  • And since I'm going to the IV of Eb/Cm, would the Cm11/G spelling be less confusing in that case, rather than if it were to resolve to Cm directly? Jul 13, 2014 at 19:39
  • @DuncanMalashock Yeah. TBH it is up to you. However, I personally would always try to show a dominance relationship (i.e. Eb to Ab) as it is very common in a progression to take advantage of this relationship. Also I tend to shy away from writing chords in second inversion (with a 5th in the bass) because they are usually unstable. Like I said it is up to you though.
    – Dom
    Jul 13, 2014 at 23:12

To me it sounds like quartal harmony and is non-functional in a traditional tonal way, it also has no strong tonal implications. Probably I would name it F7sus4/G although the chord symbol system is not ideal for such harmony. Bearing in mind that sometimes jazz composers write out the scales/modes rather than chords you could just say Eb pentatonic scale/G bass.

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