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In the song Ordinary World from Duran Duran, the progression for the chorus is as follow (as shown by Carl Brown of guitarlessons365), B5 - F#m - Dsus2 - some C# chord - E5.

The chord between Dsus2 and E5 consist of the 3 notes C#, A and C#. It is obvious to me that the chord is build as follow, root (C#) - #5 (A) - octave (C#).

My question is, how do we properly name this chord. I know it is some kind of augmented chord due to the #5, but with the absense of a 2nd, 3rd and 4th (or any chord tone), is this one of the very few times where the (no 3) notation is used, so can we call it a C#aug (no3) chord. Please bear with me here as I have no formal training in music theory. I got hammered the other day for calling it a powerchord.

  • I recommend some form of Occam's Razor when trying to analyze music. In this case, you seem to have assumed that an interval is an augmented-fifth when it could also be interpreted as a minor-sixth; since the harmonic analysis (per endorph's answer) is much simpler when the interval is treated as a minor-sixth, that's probably what you should have assumed. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:50
  • ....in fact, you were already part-way there--note that your proposed spelling of C# - A actually is a sixth rather than a fifth. D-flat to A-natural, or (...if Duran Duran were a prog band) C# to G-double-sharp, would be an augmented fifth. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:53
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Given the rest of the progression, I'd be inclined to interpret it as an A/C#, missing the fifth (E). So your progression is B5 - F#m - Dsus2 - A/C# - E5. You could try and notate the missing fifth in the chord symbol, but I'm not sure it's necessary in this case. From my cursory listen, the missing fifth is not a crucial detail for this song.

It's not a power chord, because we use that term to mean a chord with only a first and a fifth (possibly doubled/tripled/whatever). This particular chord has a first and a third, but no fifth, so we can't call it a power chord.

  • 1
    The bass is certainly playing C# at that point. – Tim Feb 8 '17 at 12:20
  • @Tim Hence /C#, as this answer says (twice!). Maybe you need more coffee....? – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:48
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    endorph, it's probably worth emphasizing that the C# to A interval should be spelled as a minor-sixth rather than an augmented-fifth as the question incorrectly assumes. I think that seems to be the primary point of confusion. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:49
  • @KyleStrand - the reason I said that comment was because I listened to the piece, to confirm what was being played. Why should I blindly (deafly?) take anyone's word for what's there. I've been caught out too often! Internet stuff is full of inexactitudes... – Tim Feb 8 '17 at 22:33
  • @Tim I think you may be missing my point, which is that I'm not sure how your comment is relevant to endorph's answer. "A/C#" does in fact mean that the bass is playing C#. Since endorph doesn't express any uncertainty on this point, and you are in agreement with them, I'm not sure what your comment was adding...? – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 23:01
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For a laugh I'd call in a '5+' or '+5' chord. Seem to remember Jimi using similar in Purple Haze. Incidentally, the aug 5 will be called Gx or G##, to keep it in key

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    Never thought I'd give you a downvote! But it seems ridiculous to assume that the enharmonic spelling of the chord given in the question is accurate, since A-natural is a perfectly reasonable non-augmented note given the rest of the chordal context. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:46
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    ...or, rather, the spelling is fine (since it's given as a sixth), but the interpretation as an augmented sixth is a weird thing to assume is correct. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 18:54
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    @KyleStrand - thanks for being man enough to downvote and give a reason! I actually called it an aug 5 rather than your quoted aug 6, though. – Tim Feb 8 '17 at 22:29
  • ....right. I need more coffee too. :P The point is that it's diatonic. – Kyle Strand Feb 8 '17 at 22:59

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