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I'm struggling with identifying the chords in these measures because the notes on the base clef staff are not part of the chord in the top staff. This piece is in F# minor, so the top chords by themselves would be i,v,v,VI, but what happens when you consider the notes on the bottom staff? I know your supposed to consider base everything off the bottom note, but I don't know what they would be, unless those notes are considered non-harmonic tones. Thanks.

  • "I know your supposed to consider base everything off the bottom note" Really? There's no reason why the bass part can't have suspensions or anticipations, like any other part. That is what the I and v chords in your example look like. But there isn't enough context (tempo, dynamics, instrumentation, etc) to know what the music sounds like, which is much more important than the way it looks.
    – user19146
    Apr 27, 2015 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


A little context would help: a few more measures on either side, the name of the composer/era, etc. However, as a general rule, when the melody is in the bass like this the harmonic analysis focuses on the upper notes, and bass-melodic non-chord tones are identified in relation to them. For example, beat 2 of the first measure and beat 1 of the second look like classic double-neighbor figures in the bass.

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