This may be a trivial question but I have just started learning music theory & I'm not able to identify the chords shown below. So I want to know the two chords in the last measure on the 2nd & 3rd beat which I have encircled in the image.

enter image description here

So far I have done the follwing:

  • For the first chord the notes are D# , A# , C & G(F ## enharmonic).

  • Then I'm using this website to input the notes to get the chord name.

  • For the first chord it gives me three options Cm7 , D#6 and Eb6

So how to identify exactly which one is the chord shown in the sheet.

  • For the second chord the notes are G , G# , B and G

  • This I really don't understand and the website shows no chord with exactly these notes.

Any help or suggestion in this regard will be apprecited.

  • 3
    In the first chord, the note should be a C#, not C. Check the key signature. Similarly, the second chord will only contain G#s, and no g-naturals. Nov 15, 2016 at 18:13
  • 1
    Two things to be careful of. First, do not use an enharmonic spelling of a note unless you know what you are doing. For example you changed the Fdouble sharp to G in your question. When you try and stack the notes in thirds to analyze the chord a G would be confusing. The Fx stacks neatly above the D#. Second, the key signature applies to all pitches. For example, your key signature includes a G# which means all G, regardless of octave, are sharp. Therefore, as others have noted, the G in your second chord are all G#.
    – user33368
    Nov 15, 2016 at 20:50
  • You have parallel octaves between the tenor and bass voices in bar one.
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 17, 2016 at 7:28

5 Answers 5


The names and functions of chords always depend on context, so using a website to identify chords is not very helpful if you're serious about learning music theory. Have you listened to the progression? This is also essential because your ears can tell you the function of chords (assuming that you've trained your ears, which is also important if you're serious about learning music).

You also got some notes wrong. The first chord has the notes D# A# C# F##, and the second one G# G# B G#. If you listen you can clearly hear that the first of the two is a dominant seventh chord leading to the last chord. The last chord is an incomplete G# minor triad. It lacks the fifth (the D#), but the root and the minor third still identify it clearly. The chord before is its dominant chord: a D#7 chord; the F## is the leading tone leading to the root of the next chord (G#).


Don't forget that in Emaj/C#m there are 4 sharps. In your first chord, you forgot to sharpen C. So the notes should be - D# Fx A# C# giving D#7. The next won't have G - every G will be G#. So with only G# and B some would say it's not a chord, but those notes could belong to a triad E major, or G#m. More likely the latter as the D#7 is a secondary dominant leading to it.

Love to know why the 3/4 time sig. comes after a couple of 3/4 bars!


It's important to understand that while a key signature only shows a sharp in one line/space of the staff, it applies to ALL of them. This is why that last chord was so confusing to you: the G# in the key signature applies to every G on the staff, meaning that the chord is actually G# G# B G#, or a G# minor chord without the fifth. Omitting the fifth is actually pretty common, as it's the root and third that determine the chord's nature, so you'll have to watch out for that.

When analyzing chords in classical music, it's usually unhelpful to look at the enharmonics, barring certain key changes (when going from Gb Major to B Major or something similar).

If we stack the notes in the first chord into thirds, we end up with D# F## A# C#. Looking at the intervals between the chords, we discover that it looks like this:

D# (↑M3) F## (↑m3) A# (↑m3) C#

What chord has the pattern of a major third followed by two minor thirds? A dominant 7th chord. You can use this technique to identify almost every triadic and seventh chord.


This is simply a d sharp major chord with a 7th. It's the enharmonic variant of an e flat major 7 chord. It resolves to a g sharp minor chord as expected.

If your learning website doesn't show this chord, it's simply incomplete - enharmonic variants are used all the time, and it's important to understand them.

  • 2
    Eb major 7? It's enharmonic to Eb dominant 7.
    – Tim
    Nov 15, 2016 at 7:51
  • Why would you want to write a chord of E flat 7 followed by A flat minor, when the key signature is 4 sharps? The "spelling" is fine just as it is.
    – user19146
    Nov 15, 2016 at 11:07
  • When there's a 'far out' sharp (double-sharp even!), and the context is Common Practice harmony, it's a fair bet that sharp will be a leading note, the 3rd of a dominant 7th-type chord. Not always. It could be a +5. But see if it acts like a leading note.
    – Laurence
    Nov 15, 2016 at 16:41

In bar two you clearly want a passing six four progression, you have it done perfectly except for the last beat. If you had the D in the bass you passing 6/4 progression would be perfect.

The Progression is either ii6-V6/4-ii5/3 or ii5/3-V6/4-ii6 and also the tenor voice needs to be rearranged a bit. The proper 6/4 progression has one voice that has three notes that stay on the same pitch, one voice that has three notes in a row going up, three going down and one where you have a up-down effect.

This is how it should look.

enter image description here

  • The key has changed to B/G#m from the original E/C#m.
    – Tim
    Nov 15, 2016 at 8:11
  • 1
    First chord is a sus4, resolving to G# note from the suspended A note. last chord, bar 1 C#m. Bar 2 starts with G#m, then D#7 resolving to G#m.
    – Tim
    Nov 15, 2016 at 8:31
  • 1
    It looks like a perfectly ordinary modulation from E maj to G# min to me. But the consecutive octaves in the LH in bar 1 look odd in this sort of example, and the natural on the first E might suggest the previous music that we can't see wasn't in E major...
    – user19146
    Nov 15, 2016 at 11:07
  • @alephzero - I wondered why it needed an E natural too, especially as the treble clef E wasn't marked.
    – Tim
    Nov 15, 2016 at 11:42
  • That's really horribly awkward in the first bar, what with the A appoggiatura resolving at the same moment the bass skips down a fourth to give a second inversion of E major leading to the bare third C♯ minor with really exposed parallels in the bass and tenor. The bass skip isn't bad in se (it's kind of a trope when the lower fourth arrives on a weak rhythm), but coupled with octaves, the whole thing is a bit gauche for a common practice harmony lesson (assuming that's what it is). I agree with @alephzero - the last bar is just a standard ic -V - i cadence in G♯.
    – user16935
    Nov 17, 2016 at 1:32

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